Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday! Spring is in the air and it's a great time to get outdoors, get some fresh air and get in a workout. You don't need a stuffy gym membership to get in shape, all you need is your own bodyweight and a park bench for this challenging full body workout! Get your butt out of park with this park bench workout.
Are you a runner? This is a fantastic strength workout to do on the trails. Go through the circuit once every mile for 3 miles or add a quick running component of 1/4 mile run between circuits.
I recruited my trusty blog photographer (aka hubs) and my favorite four-legged running partner (aka Ollie) to find a park bench in Fort Worth to do my workout.
PARK BENCH WORKOUT
This is a circuit-style workout. Do 12 reps of each exercise, move through the circuit with little or no rest between exercises. Once you complete the 6 exercises, rest for one minute and repeat 2 more times. Always warm up before beginning an intense exercise session.
STEP UP (EACH LEG)
Stand facing the bench. Starting with your right leg step up on the bench pressing your weight into your heel. Lift your left leg off the ground and drive your knee up towards your chest. Step your left leg back to the ground, followed by your right leg. Repeat on other leg. Do 12 reps on each leg.
INCLINE PUSH UP
Start in a straight arm high plank position with your hands on the bench. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes, do not allow your hips to raise in the air or sag down. While engaging your core muscles, bend your elbows to lower your chest to the bench.
If this is too challenging, try it by starting on the back of the bench.
Position your hands shoulder width apart behind you on the bench. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows to lower your body toward the ground until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle while keeping your back close to the bench. From the low position, straighten your elbows to return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. If this is too challenging you can bend your legs to modify the exercise.
I also call this one "hot bench." Starting with your feet hip width apart push your hips back and lower your body until your butt hits the bench. As soon as you touch the bench jump up as if the bench was hot. Land in a soft position with your knees slightly bent and repeat 12 times. This will get your heart rate up!
We runners need to make sure we are building strength in all planes of motion. When we run, we just move forward, so building strength laterally improves our hip stability and helps reduce the chance of injury.
Stand sideways to the bench. Starting with your right leg and take a wide step up on the bench, ensuring there will be enough room on the bench for both feet. Driving your right heel into the bench lift your left leg off the ground and onto the bench. Step back down one leg at a time. Repeat 12 times and face the other direction to lead with the left leg for 12 more reps.
SPLIT LEG LUNGE
Single leg exercises are important for runners. When we run, we essentially are balancing on one leg at time repeatedly over the miles. Building unilateral (single side) strength helps our running strength and performance.
Start by facing away from the bench. Prop your right leg up on the bench behind you. Position your body so that when your left leg lowers into a lunge position that your knee is over your ankle and your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Perform 12 reps and repeat on opposite leg.
If you want to add an additional cardio component to your workout, add a quarter mile (or 2.5 minute) run in between circuits, Ollie loves to run!
Go find a park bench and give this workout a try!
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I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help.
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While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.