Workout benches aren’t just for boys and body builders. The bench is a tool that can help you tone up, too. So grab a set of 5kg dumbbells and try some basic bench moves by New York fitness instructor Colleen Conlon. Perform eight to 10 reps of each exercise on each side, rest, then repeat up to three times before progressing to the next move.
1 SINGLE ARM BENT-OVER ROW
How to do it: Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing your body, stand with the bench to your right and place your right knee and left palm on the bench. Keeping your hips and shoulders square to the bench and directing your gaze slightly downwards to promote a neutral spine, extend your right elbow to let the weight hang down on the right side of the bench. From this position, bend the elbow and drive it straight up towards the ceiling and the weight to chest level. Slowly release the weight back to starting position to complete one rep. Complete all the reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
Where you’ll feel it: Chest, triceps and shoulders.
2 BENCH STEP-UPS
How to do it: Stand facing one side of the bench with your feet hip-width apart. Place the sole of your left foot in the centre of the bench, and extend the knee to come up to standing position, immediately driving the right knee up to hip-level and pointing your right toes. Next, gently release the right foot to the floor and return to starting position. Continue stepping up with the left foot, driving up with the opposite arm to generate momentum if desired. (Otherwise, place your hands on your hips.) Complete all your reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
Where you’ll feel it: Butt, hamstrings and quads.
3 TRICEPS DIPS
How to do it: Sit on one side of the bench and place both palms down near your sides with your fingertips facing your feet. Keeping your elbows locked, press into your palms and walk your feet forwards a few steps. Keeping the elbows stacked over the wrists and your shoulders away from your ears, slowly bend your elbows to lower your upper body towards the floor. When your upper arms are nearly parallel to the ground, pause, then press into your palms (not your heels!) to fully extend the elbows and come back to starting position.
Where you’ll feel it: Triceps.
Related: Lazy Girl’s Guide to Working Out
4 ALTERNATING CHEST PRESS
How to do it: Grab one dumbbell in each hand and lie face up on the bench with the soles of your feet on the floor. With your elbows bent out to the sides, hold the weights alongside your chest with your palms facing your feet. Extend your left elbow and drive the weight in your left hand straight up towards the ceiling. Lower it to starting position with control, then repeat on the opposite side. Continue to alternate.
Where you’ll feel it: Chest.
5 OVERHEAD REACH
How to do it: With both hands on the bar, hold one dumbbell in front of your chest with the handle parallel to your body. Lie face up on a bench with your butt near the edge. Keeping your core tight and your back flat against the bench, extend your elbows to press the weight straight up towards the ceiling. Without bending the elbows, lower the weight towards your lap. Pause, then drive the weight straight up and overhead, gently tapping the bench behind you. Return to starting position to complete one rep.
Where you’ll feel it: Core, chest and shoulders.
This article was originally published on Cosmopolitan.com