If the only equipment you have to use for your strength workout is a weight bench, you’re in luck. There’s no need for weights or fancy machines if your goal is to sculpt and tone your body. All you need are the right moves and a little motivation. With those in place, you and the weight bench will be the perfect training partners, getting you the results you want in no time.
The simple weight bench offers plenty of options for toning all areas of the upper body including the arms, back and chest. By performing body-weight exercises on the bench, you will be able to increase your strength and generate muscle growth, which will lead to a faster metabolism and calorie burn. Try effective moves such as triceps dips and bench pushups, which, according to "Fitness" magazine, will work the triceps, biceps, chest, back and core.
The lower body is one of the easiest zones to work on a weight bench. You can step, squat, lunge and squeeze your way to tight and toned muscles, often by incorporating combination moves that work multiple areas at the same time. For fast results, try step-ups and single-leg squat dips. And, for an additional challenge, add a kick-back to the peak of your step-ups, which, according to "Fitness" magazine, will give the glutes an extra blast.
Abs and Core
For years, women have been sculpting their abs into beautifully toned tummies by using a weight bench. With so many exercise options to choose from, it’s easy to not only get a great core workout, but also to keep it lively and boredom-free. Mix and match whatever exercises you know with some new favorites for faster results. Try combining traditional crunches and leg lifts with new moves like bodybuilding.com’s knee-ins. In these highly effective exercises, you position yourself at the end of the bench with your legs straight out in front of you. Balancing on your butt and grasping the sides of the bench, pull your knees in toward you while contracting the abs. Because you’ll be focusing on balance at the same time, you’ll get a great ab workout that also benefits your lower back and total core.
When toning your body on a weight bench, there are a few keys to keep in mind that will make the most of your time and the effort — which is definitely a good thing. First, because your muscles have worked hard, it’s important to give them a chance to recover. Try not to work the same muscle groups on consecutive days in order to give the cells and fibers a chance to repair and grow. Men’s Fitness suggests either alternating days for each muscle group or doing three total-body workout sessions per week.
Also, take your time during each exercise and focus on good form. If you fly through the moves, you’ll cheat yourself out of the best results and also run the risk of getting injured. Instead, move slowly through each repetition, maintain good posture and really feel the burn. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re looking in the mirror.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.