Usually seen as an accessory or as a means to perform other exercises, the humble weight bench — when used with the right movements — can be the ideal piece of kit for delivering big results.
The following circuit requires nothing but a weight bench and some space in which to hit the bottom of a burpee; but it will build some serious explosive power in your legs, ramp up your metabolism and hit your entire core with a one-two punch of mid-line killers.
Throw this in as a finisher, or keep it handy for a quickfire blowout that guarantees to get your heart pumping. Your mission: work your way through five rounds of the following circuit, as quickly as possible whilst maintaining spotless form. The first two movements will jack up your heart rate and have you gassing, but be controlled and methodical in the second half and you’ll be ready to roll straight into another round.
A-jack jumps x 10
Straddle a bench, lengthways, squat down until you touch the bench (A) before jumping up explosively. Bring your feet together to land on the bench (B) before dropping back down. As your feet hit the floor, slow your descent so that you’re not slamming into the bench.
Burpee over bench x 10
Drop down into a burpee position, laterally next to a bench (A), hop your feet back towards your chest, as you begin to stand back up place your hands on the bench, hop over the bench to the other side (B) and perform another burpee, repeating the movement.
Feet elevated side plank knee raises x 10 (each side)
Lay sideways and position your feet on top of each other on a bench. Push one hand into the ground and extend your arm, lifting you into a ‘side plank’ position (A). Take your top foot and bring your knee towards your chest (B). Reverse and repeat this movement.
'GHD' sit-ups x 10
Sit down with your bench between your legs (A). Lower yourself backwards until your upper body is off of the bench, simultaneously lift your feet and place them on the underside of the bench Touch the ground behind your head (B) before engaging your core to sit back up.
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