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Exercises You Can Do With A Weight Bench

Gym weights and weight benches are one of the most famous and versatile pieces of equipment that you can find in a commercial or home gym. These two are not only famous because they are common but because they are also effective in improving your overall exercise routine. If you know how to make the most of them, you can surely do amazing things for every single muscle group in your body. Furthermore, most of the time too, weight benches are variable. This means they can offer a wide range of different forms that can help you perform a number of varied exercises. Hence, weight benches not only can support you through the standard flat or seated exercises, but they can also allow you to incline or decline the equipment so that you can target muscle groups in ways they have never been targeted before in order to increase your progress and improve your results, allowing you to achieve your fitness goals faster and better.

With that, whether you are in a commercial gym or in your own home gym, here are some exercises you can do with a weight bench:

1. Bench Press

Of course, the first in this list of exercises is the classic and famous bench press. Proven since a long time ago, the bench press is the best possible exercise that you can do in order to target and improve your chest muscles. As many know, this exercise applies a massive force, and it targets your chest, shoulders and arms all at the same time. Furthermore, this exercise also offers you a range of equipment to utilize, and especially with dumbbells, you will surely see a significant progress in your overall strength.

In order to do a bench press, you must first grab a pair of dumbbells and lie face-up on a weight bench with your feet flat on the floor. After that, you should position your hands by the shoulders with dumbbells in both hands. Next, extend your arms and lift the weights over your chest. After doing so, you must lower the dumbbells slowly until they almost touch your chest, then press back up. That is considered as one rep. You can do a number of reps according to your liking.

It is important to know that while you are doing the exercise, your lower back is pressed against the weight bench so that your core is properly supported. This also makes sure that the risk for lower back injury is reduced. Another thing that you must remember that in doing this exercise, control is a vital component. Hence, you should make sure that you are controlling the dumbbells on the way down, so that they would not fall down straight to your face or cause any injury along the way.

2. Single Arm Row

If you want to improve the muscles at one side of your body, then you can definitely do the single arm rows. This type of exercise targets the biceps, lats, upper back, and traps. Moreover, the single arms row exercise is an amazing way in order to target your lats individually, which is something that is vital because most back exercises can not really hit the lats as much as how a single arm row can do. In addition to improving your muscle strength and muscle mass, this exercise removes weaknesses and aids you to be able to target imbalances, giving your specific and isolated training.

In order to perform a single arm row, you need to maintain your feet at shoulder-width distance. After that, hinge forward at the hips, making sure that you maintain a flat back. Next, you must place your right foot on a bench while holding a dumbbell in your left hand. After that, you should bend your right elbow and pull the dumbbell up to the side of your chest slowly. When you have reached your chest, pause for a good 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly lower back to start. That is considered as one rep. It is usually suggested to do 4 sets of 8 reps. It is also important to note that you should row one arm row one arm at a time and make sure to pull the weight as high up to your sides as possible. Once you are done with one side, do not forget to do the other side.

3. Triceps Dip

One of the best home exercises you can do in order to improve your triceps with just using your weight bench or even just a bench in general is the triceps dip. As its name implies, this gives an isolated muscle exercise to your triceps, improving its strength and mass.

In order to do a triceps dip, you must sit on the edge of a weight bench and place your palms face down next to your thighs, with fingers gripping the edge of the bench. After that, you must place your feet on the floor in front of you. This is done in order to ensure that you can bend your knees and also to make the exercise movement easier and better. After making sure that you have your feet on the floor in front of you, you must keep your arms straight and scoot forward until your hips and butt are in front of the seat. After checking that you have the proper form, you must bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. After doing that, push back to your starting position. That is considered as one rep. You can perform 3 sets of 20 fast reps in order to completely target your triceps.

It is important to remember that you really have to make sure that you are keeping your back directly next to the bench. This is ensured so that you will not put unnecessary risk for rotator cuff injury due to imbalance force distribution. More importantly, making sure that you have the proper form will also help in ensuring that you are training your triceps properly.

4. Pull Over

For many years, many people have argued with the benefits of pullovers. However, many years of sport research have found out that it is an interesting weight bench exercise because the benefits vary whether you have straight or bent arms. If your arms are straight, then you are targeting your chest. If your arms are bent, then you are hitting your back or lats. With that, this type of exercise is widely used as a resistance exercise that primarily strengthens the muscles in the chest and the large wing-shaped muscles in the back. Other than that, by making variations to the movement, you can also target your core muscles and the back of the upper arm or the triceps. Hence, you can definitely benefit from this type of weight bench exercise.

This type of exercise is considered as intermediate, hence beginners can surely benefit in doing the exercise. In order to do the exercise, you must first sit on the narrow end of a stable weight bench. After that, you must place your feet on the floor somewhat wider than the bench. After that, you must roll down so that you are laying on the bench with your back, neck, and head fully supported. Once you are comfortable, you must place one dumbbell in each hand. After that, with the palms facing each other, extend your arms over your chest. It is important to keep the elbows slightly bent and soft and to keep a strong back and core while you inhale and extend the weights back and over your head. You must also ensure to take about 2 to 3 seconds in order to reach a fully extended position where the weights are behind, but not below, your head. When you have already reached full extension, exhale slowly and return your arms to the starting position over your chest. That is considered as one rep. You can perform 2 sets of 7 to 10 reps each. As you get stronger and more flexible, add repetitions first, then you can slowly add more weight.

5. Lateral Bench Hops

The lateral bench hops is also one of the home exercises you can do with a regular bench or with a weight bench. This is a type of cardio exercise that targets your full body.

In order to perform a lateral bench hops, you must first start standing with both feet together on one side of the bench, ensuring that each of your hands are gripping one side of the bench, toward the top end. After that, jump up, propelling your body over to the opposite side of the bench, while making sure that you are holding the sides of the bench for support. Make sure that you land on the other side with a slight bend in your knees. That is considered as one rep. You can perform 3 sets with 5 to 7 reps each.

It is important to note that your legs should go over the middle of the bench, and not behind it, because you may not have to jump as high and also so that you can ensure that you have the proper form. It is also important to keep the movement continuous in order to keep your heart at a regular rhythm.

6. Seated Shoulder Press

Another one of the most famous compound exercises is the shoulder press. It is one of the most effective exercises in targeting your deltoid muscles. It hits all three heads of the shoulders such as the front, side, and rear. With the addition of the back support that the bench offers, allows you to lift heavier than the standing version because your stabilising muscles do not have to work as hard to support your torso because it is supported by the bench, which means your shoulder muscles are enabled to really push as hard as possible. With the help of the weight bench, you can really focus on overloading your shoulders for maximum growth.

In order to perform a seated shoulder press, you must first sit on an upright bench. After that, with your palms facing away from you, hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Make sure that your chest is up and your core is braced, and look straight forward throughout the move. After that, press the weights directly upwards until your arms are straight and the weights touch above your head. After reaching the top of your head, slowly lower the weights back to the start position under control and pause for a good 2 to 3 seconds. That is considered as on rep. It must be remembered that bouncing back up from the bottom position puts greater strain on your shoulders, which means that you are using momentum to move the weights instead of your muscles.

7. Leg Lowers

The leg lowers is an effective exercise that can target your core. It specifically targets your abdominal muscles, while also giving pressure to your leg muscles. Hence, it is an effective home exercise in training your core, without having to use any additional equipment but only a weight bench.

In order to perform a leg lower, you must first lie down on the bench with your legs straight. After that, hold the bench with palms down and fingers facing away from the scalp. Once you are comfortable with your position, start lifting your legs up into the air forming a 90-degree angle. Once you have reached the angle, slowly lower your legs straight down toward the ground. You must remember to engage your core, and slowly lift them back up. You can also add an extra challenge by lifting lower back up with legs at top of the movement. That is considered as a one rep. You can perform 3 sets of 5 to 7 reps each.

It must be noted that you have to make sure that you are not bringing your legs closer to your face than 90 degrees at waist height. The most vital component in this exercise is to move slowly. The slower you go, the more you engage your core muscles.

8. Bulgarian Split Squat

The bulgarian split squat is a version of a single-leg squat where the back leg is elevated on a weight bench. It is an effective bench leg exercise to add real muscle size to your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. As a single-leg, unilateral squat, the exercise places a greater focus on the quadriceps than other, similar lower-body compound movements, hence it demands a lot of focus and pain tolerance in order to train your leg strength and stability.

In order to perform a bulgarian split squat, you must first stand roughly two feet in front of a sturdy bench, making sure that your feet are hip-distance apart, your core is engaged, your shoulders are straight and your chest and eyes are pointing straight ahead. After that, you must pick up your right foot and place it on the bench behind you. You can do this by either placing the top of your foot on the bench, so that your ankle joint is almost aligned with the edge of the bench; The other option is to flex your ankle and find your balance with the ball of your foot and your toes. Next, you must engage your core and, with your chest high and eyes looking straight ahead, bend your left knee, permitting your right knee and ankle to naturally bend as you move through the downward phase of the exercise without taking on the load with your back leg. You must also hinge slightly forward at the hips, making sure your left knee remains aligned with your left toes. It is important that you inhale through this downward phase, lowering down until your left quadriceps is roughly parallel to the ground. After that, as you exhale, press back to standing by pushing through your left foot and using your left quad and glute to power the upward phase of the exercise. After completing a full set to one side, simply step your right foot off the bench. Make sure you keep things even by performing the same number of repetitions and sets to each side. You can perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

It is important to note that your back foot is only placed on the bench weight in order to help you stay balanced, the engagement and movement of the exercise is focused on the front leg.

9. Step Up

A step up exercise is an effective way in order to engage your glutes and legs, without having to use any weight equipment but only a weight bench. This is an effective home or gym exercise that can surely help in improving your balance and coordination.

In order to perform a bulgarian split squat, you must first stand roughly two feet in front of a sturdy bench, making sure that your feet are hip-distance apart, your core is engaged, your shoulders are straight and your chest and eyes are pointing straight ahead. After that, you must pick up your right foot and place it on the bench behind you. You can do this by either placing the top of your foot on the bench, so that your ankle joint is almost aligned with the edge of the bench; The other option is to flex your ankle and find your balance with the ball of your foot and your toes. Next, you must engage your core and, with your chest high and eyes looking straight ahead, bend your left knee, permitting your right knee and ankle to naturally bend as you move through the downward phase of the exercise without taking on the load with your back leg. You must also hinge slightly forward at the hips, making sure your left knee remains aligned with your left toes. It is important that you inhale through this downward phase, lowering down until your left quadriceps is roughly parallel to the ground. After that, as you exhale, press back to standing by pushing through your left foot and using your left quad and glute to power the upward phase of the exercise. After completing a full set to one side, simply step your right foot off the bench. Make sure you keep things even by performing the same number of repetitions and sets to each side. You can perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

It is important to note that your back foot is only placed on the bench weight in order to help you stay balanced, the engagement and movement of the exercise is focused on the front leg.

10. Pistol Squat Rep

Another exercise that can target your glutes and legs is the pistol squat rep. It can effectively improve your lower muscles with just the use of a weight bench.

In order to perform a pistol squat rep, you must first stand in front of the bench with feet together. After that, hold your arms straight out in front of your body. Then, raise your right leg off the floor. After that, push your hips back and lower your body until your glutes tap the bench. Next, pause for a good 2 to 3 seconds, then push your body back to the starting position. That is considered as one rep. Perform 3 sets of 5 to 7 reps each.

It is important to note that you must keep your chest up in order to make sure that you are not placing unnecessary stress on your back. In addition to that, you can also get more control if you hold your toe on the lifted foot.

11. Feet-Elevated Hip Thrust

The feet-elevated hip thrust exercise targets your hip muscles. It is a glute exercise designed to improve your strength, speed and power by teaching optimal hip extension. This exercise is also done in people that need rehabilitation, especially those who have underdeveloped or damaged glutes because their speed, power, and strength can all be compromised. This is also an important exercise because it can help improve your squats, deadlifts, sprints, jumps, and other forms of exercise.

In order to perform the feet-elevated hip thrust exercise, you should start by lying on your back with feet elevated on a weight bench. After that lift your hips off the floor, while pressing through your heels and firing your glutes. It is important that your weight should rest on your heels and your upper back, and should not be placed on your toes or your neck and cervical spine. After that, extend your hips until they form a straight line with your knees and shoulders. You must remember that the end range of motion comes from the hips, which is achieved through squeezing the glutes together at the top of the movement, and not from lumbar hyperextension. After that, slowly return to the starting position. That is considered as one rep. Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.

References:
1. Domyos.co.UK. 2017. 6 Exercises With A Weights Bench. Retrieved from: https://www.domyos.co.uk/advice/6-exercises-weights-bench-a_179781. Retrieved on 3 September 2020.
2. Exercise.Co.UK. 2019. Top 10 Best Weight Bench Exercises. Retrieved from: https://www.exercise.co.uk/learn/10-best-weight-bench-exercises/. Retrieved on 3 September 2020.
3. Gronk Fitness. 2018. Top 10 Exercises You Can Do With Just A Bench (Home Or Gym). Retrieved from: https://www.gronkfitnessproducts.com/blogs/updates/top-10-exercises-you-can-do-with-just-a-bench-home-or-gym. Retrieved on 3 September 2020.
4. MiraFit. 2019. Ultimate Weight Bench Workout. Retrieved from: https://mirafit.co.uk/blog/ultimate-weight-bench-workout/. Retrieved on 3 September 2020.
5. RitFitSports. 2019. 10 Bench Workout You Can Do at Home. Retrieved from: https://www.ritfitsports.com/blogs/article/bench-workout. Retrieved on 3 September 2020.
6. 0Women’s Health. 2017. 8 Ways You Can Tone Your Entire Body With Just Dumbbells And A Bench. Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a19943891/workout-bench-moves/. Retrieved on 3 September 2020.

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