You lie on it, you lift on it and you sweat on it. The humble weight bench takes a real beating. Without the bench, there would be no bench press or excessive grunting.
However, it’s time to see the bench in a completely different light.The bench is a tool you can use to improve your power, balance and core strength without the need for any extra equipment. Just you and the bench equals great total body training.
After doing this, you’ll never look at the bench the same way again.
Complete the following as a circuit. Rest as little as possible between exercises and 60-90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do a total of four rounds.
1. Squat Jumps (8-12 reps) – Lower down into a squat with hips hovering just above the bench. Hold for four seconds, jump explosively and immediately lower down into the next rep.
2. Incline plyometric push –ups (8-12 repetitions) – Get in a pushup position with your hands on the bench. Lower down and explode up until hands leave the bench. Land softly and repeat.
3. Birddogs (8-12 reps) – With hands and knees on the bench (straight spine for head to butt), extend the left arm and right leg, and then right arm, left leg. Keep alternating sides until all your reps are completed.
4. Step up to Reverse lunge (8-12 reps) – Step up with left leg, driving the right knee towards the ceiling. Then put right foot on the floor and step back into a reverse lunge with the left leg. Do all your reps on one side then repeat on the other side.
5. Elevated side plank (20 seconds on each side) – With your elbow underneath your shoulder and feet stacked on the bench, elevate into a side plank. Drive your elbow down and keep your hip up to maintain good position.
You don’t always need a lot of equipment to become balanced and powerful. You, the bench and a little sweat equity will get the job done without fuss or fanfare.
The public thinks fitness professionals are in great shape because of our workplace. That’s not the only reason, but it does play a part. However, the best part of working in a gym is that we get to wear tracksuit pants.
Beats the suit and tie every time.
The public assumes fitness professionals are ripped because they’ve got all the time in the world to workout. No, that’s not it either.
After we have taken care of our clients and other day to day dramas, we have the same amount of time/energy to devote to exercise as you do.
Then how do fitness professionals stay in shape?
By staying consistent. Big secret, right?
You were probably thinking we had some type of shortcut or secret code. I wish that was the case because there are times when I couldn’t give two hoots about working out.
When I don’t have the time, effort or motivation to pick up and put down a barbell I use the bare minimum trainings below. Because doing something is always better than doing nothing.
This will allow you to crush that bowl of ice cream you’ve been craving, guilt free. Only if it’s one, though. Anymore than that and you’re on your own.
1. 100 kettlebell swings a day
Kettlebells incinerate fat and cover a lot of your fitness bases. The offset nature of the kettlebell trains your grip, core and lungs with some extra oomph. 100 swings aren’t a magic number, just a good start. You can do more if you wish.
You can break 100 reps up as follows
- 4 sets of 25 reps
- 10 sets of 10 reps
- 5 sets of 20 reps
- 2 sets of 50 reps
And you don’t have to do this all at once. You can space it throughout your day if you wish. If you don’t have access to a kettlebell or you’re unsure on how to swing, do bodyweight swings instead.
2. 100 body weight squats and 50 push ups
The beauty of this workout is it can be done almost anywhere. The act of getting up and down from alternating between the push up and the squat will send your heart rate soaring and work on your strength and mobility also.
A win-win situation for your waistline.
Incline push ups
Body weight squats
You can break this up into manageable chunks. For example
- 5 push-ups/10 squats x 10 sets
- 10 push-ups/20 squats x 5 sets
- Or if you’re advanced, 25 push-ups/50 squats x 2 sets
You don’t have to do this all at once and can spread it throughout your day if you need to. You can substitute swings in for squats also.
3. Quick bodyweight cardio
When your access to cardio equipment is limited or you lack the time for a traditional cardio workout, use the perfect machine – your own body. The routines below are short, sweet and effective.
A. Punisher squats – 20 seconds of bodyweight squats followed by a 10 second squat hold. Repeat this sequence 6-8 times.
B. Do 2 minute walk/warm up, then do 15 seconds of a bodyweight exercise (Jumping jacks, running in place or high knees) all out followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle for five work/rest intervals and then walk for 2-3 minutes to cool down.
C. Do a two-minute walk/warm up, then a 15 second all out sprint followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle for five work/rest intervals and then walk for 2-3 minutes to cool down.
These workouts take less than 10 minutes and will leave you feeling sweaty and satisfied.
4. Resistance training circuits
Grouping 3 exercises back to back with limited rest will give you a great workout in a short period when you’re crunched for time. Select a weight that allows you to complete all the repetitions with good form.
Gym training 1
1A. Pushups 10 reps (Can be done on knees or on an incline surface)
Rest one minute after each circuit and do 4 circuits.
Gym Training 2
Rest one minute after each circuit and do 4 circuits.
Or if you don’t have to time to go to the gym or no access to equipment try this circuit instead.
Rest one min after each circuit and do 4 circuits.
There are times when we have no time, energy or the motivation to workout. Rather than doing nothing, crushing a short, sharp and effective workout will keep you on the fitness straight and narrow.
Afterwards, that ice cream will taste delicious.
Please have sprinkles on top because sprinkles are for winners.
I haven’t always been a beacon of health. A long time ago, in a land far, far away I smoked cigarettes and pot, drank to excess and took pills. There were the happy pills and the ones that wiped my memory for days.
I was in my early twenties following the lead of the cool kids who I knew who took drugs. If I were to go back in time and analyze myself, I was trying to escape reality due to the fact that, at that time, my reality sucked.
My father had just died from stomach cancer.
Deservedly I was fired from my job and was receiving unemployment benefits.
I’d dropped out of college because it seemed a waste of time and copped a lot of shit from my college buddies for doing so.
My living situation got that bad that for a time I was homeless.
To top things off, my mother informed me that after she had gotten a divorce from my father, she tried to take her own life.
This was a lot to take in and I couldn’t handle it. Drugs and alcohol were the security blanket I snuggled into during stretches of cold, pointless days and nights.
It was easy to feel sorry for myself and point the finger at everyone but the wreck of a man in the mirror.
Fortunately, I was surrounded by a few friends and family who stuck with me. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.
I eventually crawled out of the bottle. A few times I tried and failed to get my life back on track. But in 1996, I got a real wake up call.
My college buddies had graduated and decided that before joining the nine to five rat race, they would travel around the world and party like it was 1999. I saw them off at the airport and was incredibly jealous.
This set a fire underneath my butt.
Within a few months, I got a full-time job, an apartment and started putting money away for my own overseas trip. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Within eighteen months I was on a plane travelling to Indonesia and then to the United Kingdom.
I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my trip but this life changing experience was when I met the woman of my dreams.
Within two years of our eyes meeting, I walked down the aisle in Dallas, Texas in the good old U S of A and she put a ring on my finger. I felt like the luckiest man in the world.
By that stage, I’d traded cigarettes (she hated them), pot and pills for a far more comforting security blanket. Back in Australia, I’d left behind my dream of becoming a sports commentator and was faced with the decision of……..
“What am I going to do for a living?”
Lucky for me, I started to join the dots.
I didn’t have a Green Card and couldn’t work, to kill time I became a regular at the local YMCA. I’d been lifting weights on and off for the better part of ten years. I found it a great way to blow off steam plus there was the benefit of being able to eat guilt free burgers.
I was following routines out of magazines and books. I thought I could write my own. I began to dabble in writing workouts. I was also giving workout advice to fellow gym goers when they asked.
A few years and I had two baby boys who were about to start preschool and the same decision was staring me down. What the heck am I going to do for a living?
When I took stock of my life and I came up with this:
- I like to work out
- I like to tell people what to do (dangerous territory when you’re married)
- I like to write exercise programs
- I like to live in tracksuit pants
- I am addicted to coffee
- I want to keep getting better
- I want to keep up with my kids
Once I combined these ingredients I could see this was a recipe for a career in the fitness industry. My passion was lifting weights, getting better and helping people to become better.
Wearing tracksuits pants was the icing on a very delicious cake.
I’d found my why.
Have you found yours?