Body Blog: Quick and Easy Full-Body Bench Tone Up
“For this workout you’ll need a roman chair, a set of 5 pound weights, 10 pound weights, and 12.5 pound weights, a Bosu ball, an incline bench, a cable machine, a pull-up bar, two resistance bands, a mat and a partner.”
Whenever I see workouts in magazines/online that tell me that I need 23,494,201 pieces of equipment to get a full-body workout all I think is, “I’ll stick to the elliptical thankyouverymuch!” But while the elliptical is a great cardio workout, it’s not enough to get into shape and stay healthy. A girl’s gotta lift some weights.
But where? And how?
Typically, the weight room on college campuses is the “man’s domain” (as we control the cardio machine kingdom), so walking in there – never-mind actually using different machines while frat guys look on with tongues hanging out – seems less than appealing for many women. You think I’m gonna do some squats while that meat head looks on? No thank you.
And that’s pretty much why I designed this workout. The routine hits all the important areas of the body and doesn’t require a lot of time, equiptment, or beefy guys staring at you as you fumble with the inner/outer thigh machine. All you need is one flat bench and a set of weights, anywhere between 5 and 15 pounds depending on your strength level.
I recommend starting with the biggest muscles (legs) and then moving on from there, but the order is totally up to you!
Weighted step ups
Works: hips and thighs
Grab one of your weights in each hand and stand directly in front of your bench. Step up with your left foot, then your right, then down with your left, then right. Repeat 12 times on the left side for one set, then 12 times with your right leg leading. Do three sets of 12 on each side.
Expert modification – switch step-up leg after each full up and down motion. Also, add a bicep curl while standing on the top of the bench for an added challenge.
Weighted lunges with one leg up on bench
Works: hips and thighs
Place your left foot on top of the bench, right foot lunging straight behind you (far enough back that your heel is in the air), and a weight in each hand at your side. Dip your right knee toward the ground as if in a lunge, and then come up. Repeat 12 times per side, three sets per side.
Weighted calf raises with stability challenge
Works: calves and abdominals
Stand atop the bench with a weight in each hand at your sides. Your heels should be hanging slightly off the back edge of the bench. Dip your heels down below the line of the top of the the bench, and the slowly rise up onto your toes. It will be hard because the bench is squishy! Flex your core to keep your balance, and repeat 12 times, three sets.
Even harder: Challenge your core by lifting one foot off the bench and doing raises on only one foot. Alternate sides.
Lay flat on the bench on your back with a weight in each hand. Bring elbows to 90 degree angles at your sides, in line with your head, palms facing up. Press up slowly and bring weights toward each other. Lower. Repeat 12 times and three sets.
Standing bicep curls/hammer curls
Standing with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart, take one weight in each hand and place arms at your sides with elbows at 90 degree angles, palms facing in toward each other. Slowly raise weights at the same time toward your shoulders, keeping elbows close at your sides. Lower to 90 degrees, not going any lower. Repeat three sets of 12.
Stand behind the bench, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders back and tummy held taunt. Join both hands behind your head holding a weight, arms at 90 degree angles. Slowly straighten your arms out above your head, and then return to the starting position, not going past 90 degrees. Keep the area from your shoulders to your elbows completely stable. Repeat for three sets of 12.
Lay face up on the bench with your legs straight up in the air. Holding one weight with both hands, arms straight above your head and parallel with your legs, lift (don’t’ curl) your shoulders up to the ceiling, pushing the weight upward toward your feet. Be sure to keep your abs pulled in and tight, and be sure to press upward toward the ceiling, rather than curling your neck. Three sets of 12.
Leg throws / up-downs
Lay flat on your back on the bench, with legs straight up in the air. Place your hands behind your lower back or your booty. Slowly lower your legs straight down so they are in-line with the bench then lift them back up. Lower them again, this time off to the left, then lift them back up. Lower again, this time to the right, then back up. Repeat 12 times or as many as you can do!
Weight training is really important, and now that you have a quick and easy workout, there’s no excuse to skip it. Not only does it increase your metabolic rate, but it can help prevent osteoporosis, increase lean muscle mass, help to prevent injury (when you stumble, maybe drunk), improve your balance (in 4’’ heels or otherwise), enhance your physical and mental health, and help you to feel better and look better!
Sounds worth it to me!