There are many brands and types of exercise benches on the market today.

Some are commercial and housed in gyms, which means that they are very durable and can withstand a lot of different people using them seven days a week.  And there are benches that for home use and are well made, but are not as costly as the commercial grade.

Then there are the portable benches which can be easily transported, and ideal for use by fitness trainers who do mobile training.

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What do they do?

Work out benches can provide body support and/or a leverage point for a person performing certain types of resistance exercises.  Most of the benches have an incline adjustment, some have both an incline adjustment and a seat elevation adjustment, and if you shop around you might be able to find one with incline/decline and seat elevation adjustments.

You can be creative and mix up the type of resistance you use in your exercises while using the work out bench.  Here are just a few of the types of resistance that you can select from: bodyweight, dumbbells or tubing.

Now here are some exercises that you can do while utilizing the work out bench:

– Cross bench dips (using your bodyweight)

Position your body sideways on the bench in a seated position.  Next place your arms at your sides, then place your hands, palms down on the edge of the bench and close to your body.  Now move your legs and torso away from the bench and then flex at the elbow of both arms.

Descend straight down while inhaling to a point where it activates your triceps, but also where you can extend your elbows while exhaling and return to your starting point. Do not sit down on the bench.  Repeat the flexion and extension of the elbows for the desired number of repetitions.

– Decline push-ups (using your bodyweight)

Place yourself in a push-up position perpendicular to the side of the bench, then place both feet up on the bench. Now while remaining in this elevated position and keeping your body in a planked off position, flex the elbows and descend towards the floor while inhaling.

Once you have reached a position where you have activated the muscles in your shoulders, chest and arms, return while exhaling and extending your elbows to the starting position.  Repeat the flexion and extension of the elbows for the desired number of repetitions.

– Bulgarian split squats (using your bodyweight and a pair of dumbbells)

Place yourself in a standing  position perpendicular to the side of the bench and facing away, then place one leg and foot forward so that you are elongating your stance.  Now place a dumbbell in each hand and then lift the back leg up and place the back foot on the bench.

Now with your torso in an upright position, bend the knee of the back leg and descend straight down (your front knee will bend based on the back knee bending). Make sure that you are flexing at the knee and hip of the front leg and inhale.

Once you reach a point of muscle activation and are still able to maintain your balance, begin to ascend and exhale as you return to the starting point. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions and then switch legs.

 – Incline rows (using a pair of dumbbells)

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Adjust the bench to a mid range incline position, next put a dumbbell  in each hand and put yourself in a prone (face down) position.  Now make sure that your head clears the top part of the bench at the incline position.

Extend your arms at a slight angle up from the floor.  Next, flex your elbows and pull the dumbbells towards the sides of your body.  While moving in this direction exhale and try to contract your shoulder blades.

When you cannot pull your arms back any further, extend your elbows, inhale and return your arms to the starting position.  Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

– Bicep curls (using tubing)

Secure the tubing at the base of one of the legs of the bench. Then grab each handle of the tubing and step back away from the bench.  With your arms at your sides and your hands down, continue to step backwards until you create constant tension in the tubing.

Curl both arms up towards your chest while exhaling.  Then return your arms to the starting position while inhaling.  Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

– Reverse flys (using tubing)

Secure the tubing at the base of one of the legs of the bench.  Then grab each handle of the tubing and step back away from the bench.  Create tension in the tubing and with your palms together.

Now while exhaling, pull your arms apart and extend your arms while contracting your shoulder blades.  Then while inhaling, return your arms to the starting position.  Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

– Reverse abdominal crunches with a pike (using your body weight)

Place yourself in a supine position (back down on the bench and face up), then grab the bench with both hands behind your head.  Next, lift your legs up and bring your knees in towards your chest.

Now lift your hips up off of the bench while contracting your abdominal muscles and exhaling.  Extend your legs straight up from the hips into a pike position.  Once that is reached, fold your legs down and move your torso back to a flat position and extend your legs straight out while inhaling.  Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Instead of using the work out bench as a clothes rack, your clothes will look better on you after you incorporate this piece of equipment and exercises into your routine!

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