Get Your Best Bod with the Bench

| Fitness

Step it up! Using a bench during your workout will spark some intense blood flow, work your muscles from a new angle and refresh your workout routine. It can be a bench, step with rises, chair, stair or any type of flat, sturdy surface you can safely sweat all over. Check out these high-rise exercises for inspiration.

Step Up: This foundational exercise is great for any level. Stand tall and step onto the box with one foot, pushing through the glute from the heel. This is perfect for postpartum moms. See the move here and click here for more on postpartum exercise.


Bench/Box Jump: For a great burst of cardio, knock out a few of these. Stand in front of the box, bend your knees and propel yourself upward. Land with your entire foot on the top, then walk down (jumping down or "rebounding" can cause injury to the Achilles tendon). Master the move here.

Bench Jump

Split Squat or Bulgarian Lunge: Get ready to light a fire in your glutes! The front quad will ignite, too. Stand far enough away from your bench so the back leg bends making that thigh vertical. Drop as low as you can! Press up through the front heel to rise. Learn the lunge here.


Crossover Bench Step: Grab a pair of dumbbells for more resistance as you work the glutes and thighs. Stand sideways next to your bench, cross the outside foot in front until it's completely on the bench and press yourself up. Uncross at the top. Step off the bench to the side and begin again. Watch it here.


Decline Pushup: Time to get down. Start on all fours and place each foot on the bench and press up into your high plank. Keep the feet together if you can! Hands are a little wider than the shoulders. Inhale and lower, exhale and press up using your arms, chest and core. Get it right, right here.


Decline Bench Dip: When you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, dip! Keep your tailbone close to the bench so it lightly grazes it as you dip and rise. Think about your elbows bending (straight behind you) rather than your hips lowering. See more here.

Decline Bench Dips

Elevated Shoulder Taps: Give this exercise a shot. Spread the feet apart for stability and keep your hips square. Press into the stabilizing hand and round out that shoulder blade as the other hand lifts and taps the opposite shoulder. You got it! Check it out here.

Elevated Shoulder Taps

Single Leg Squat on Step: Want to test your balance? Stand with one foot on the edge of a step or bench while the other leg hangs off. Bring the hanging leg forward slightly so it doesn't touch the ground as you bend the top leg into a squat. Place your arms out front or on your hips to help. Exhale and push out of it. One and done! Just kidding, 10 reps would be better. Go! See more here.


Standing Fire Hydrant: While you're at it, place your hands on the elevated stair and raise one leg out to the side. The leg should be kept at a 90-degree bend as it open and closes the abductor gap. More on that here.


Tricep Dips on Step: You can power through these on the edge of your couch during a commercial break. Push your palms into the edge of the bench, fingers forward and arms close to your sides. Try to get your shoulders straight over your wrists. Dip down by pointing the elbows backward. You can make this easier by walking the feet in more. Get the scoop on the dip here.