Lying down on the job is usually a sign of laziness -- but not when you’re weight training. You won’t be snoozing when you’re lying on the floor or the bench and hoisting those weights. Instead, you’ll be building strength, toning your muscles and, oftentimes, burning fat. Additionally, exercising while lying down lets you lift the weights from different angles, which affects your muscles differently than exercising while you’re standing or seated.
Perform dumbbell flyes while lying on a bench to strengthen your chest. Use a flat bench to provide a good overall workout across your pectoral muscles. Incline the bench by about 20 degrees -- lifting your head higher than your feet -- to shift the exercise’s focus to your upper pecs. Use a decline bench to hit your lower pectoral muscles. No matter which type of bench you use, begin by holding the weights above your chest with your elbows flexed slightly and your palms facing each other. Extend your arms to your sides while maintaining your elbow flex. To target your hip flexors, lie face up on a bench, hold a dumbbell between your feet, then lift your knees to your chest.
The bench press may be the best known weighted exercise you perform while lying down. The activity -- which works your chest, triceps and shoulders -- is often used as a benchmark for upper-body strength. Lie face up on the bench with your feet on the floor. Hold the barbell over your chest with your arms extended, then lower and raise the weight. As with dumbbell flyes, you can angle the bench to shift the exercise’s focus. Begin in a similar position to perform triceps extensions, but flex your elbows as you lower the barbell toward your forehead. In addition to your triceps, the exercise gives your forearms a good workout and also hits your biceps, shoulders, chest and upper back.
You can work out numerous muscle groups by lying in front of a cable machine with a low pulley. Attach a straight handle to the pulley, keep your legs straight and set your feet against the machine to do biceps curls, which target your upper-arm, shoulder and upper-back muscles. Attach ankle cuffs to a pair of pulleys on your right and left, raise your legs into a V-shape, then bring them together to target your hip adductors. Lie face down on a bench with cuffs on your ankles and curl your feet toward your butt to work your hamstrings.
A variety of weight machines are designed so you can exercise while you’re lying down, while others feature adjustable benches that give you the option to lie down. As with free-weight exercises, changing your body’s angle can alter the exercise’s focus. You can lie down in a pressing machine and target your quads and glutes by placing your feet flat against the resistance plate. Hit your calves by resting the balls of your feet against the plate.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.