10 Exercises You Can Do on a Gym Bench

For many, it can be difficult to find the time to get to the gym when you’re busy with work and school and the rest of your life. That’s why gym benches are an ideal solution – they allow you to get some exercise while you’re waiting around or even while you’re out and about on errands. Here are 10 exercises you can do on a gym bench – try them at home, in your office, or anywhere else you might find yourself with a spare 10 minutes!

1) Push-Ups
One of the most common exercises you can do on a gym bench is push-ups. If you’re new to working out, start with standard push-ups. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and rest your weight evenly between both palms and both arms. With bent knees, slowly bend forward at your waist until your chest nearly touches the bench, then slowly extend back to starting position. Repeat for as many repetitions as needed.

2) Triceps Extensions
To do triceps extensions, first lie down with your back flat on the bench. Place a towel under your head. Then, extend your arms out straight above you and grab onto dumbbells (or whatever weights you have handy). Curl your arms up towards your shoulders, bringing your hands as close to them as possible without touching them. Hold for one second at peak contraction then slowly lower to starting position.

If you have a Hoodel™ Gym Towel then this is the perfect time to use the hood to secure the towel on the bench before you begin. Hoodel Gym Towel on Bench before Tricep Extension WorkOut - Australia Gym
3) Bicep Curls
Bicep curls are one of those exercises you can do at home, no matter what equipment you have. All you need is a towel. Lay down face up on your gym bench and secure your head with your arms under it to support it. Keep your back pressed against the bench for stability. Grasp each end of your towel in each hand. Bend one arm and use that hand to pull it behind you and towards your head until you feel it hit resistance from gravity and tension from your muscles in that arm.

4) Leg Raises
The leg raise is an effective exercise for building core strength and muscular endurance in your abdominals. Start with one to three sets of 15 repetitions. To do it, lie face-up on a gym bench with your feet flat on the floor and your hands at your sides or behind your head. Lift your legs up as high as you can while keeping them straight (don’t lock them). Pause, then slowly lower them back down.

5) Dips
Dips are one of those exercises that can be as challenging as you want to make them. If your gym has a dip machine, use it. But dips also work great with just parallel bars or even no equipment at all. Start with your hands shoulder-width apart and bend forward at your hips until you feel like your weight is shifting to your heels, then push back up until your arms are straight again.

6) Plank - No Gym Required!
A plank is an exercise that works several muscles groups, including your abs and glutes. To do it correctly, lie face down on an elevated surface such as a bench or exercise ball with your hands crossed over your chest and directly under your shoulders. Keep your legs together and straight. Now, contract (tense) your abdominal muscles so that they are tight throughout the duration of each repetition. Contracting these muscle groups will help stabilize you in an upright position.

7) Single Leg Extension
Single leg extensions are a great way to target your quads and activate your glutes. Start in an athletic position with one foot firmly planted on top of an exercise bench. Position your body so that your back is facing away from your working leg, while also extending that leg straight behind you. From here, simply extend through your heel and squeeze through both legs as you return to starting position. Make sure to do equal reps for each side!

8) Bent Over Row - Toning Routine #1
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in one hand rest the other hand on the gym bench. Bend over, lowering your torso toward your thighs until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Bend only at your waist, keeping your back straight and chest lifted. Keeping arms straight, pull dumbbells upward to just below shoulder height (as if you were rowing). Lower weights back down to starting position as you bend forward again. That’s one rep. Repeat 8-12 times. 3 sets of 10 reps are even better!

9) Crunch - Toning Routine #2
Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms at your sides. Crunch forward and lift shoulder blades off of bench; hold for two seconds. Return to start position. That’s one rep. (If you are advanced, place both hands behind head.) Tip: The further away from you that your feet are placed, the more challenging it will be for you to perform full range of motion during each crunch.

10) Cardio - Toning Routine #3
The 25-2-20 Prescription: 25 reps of biceps curls, 2 minutes of bench presses, 20 reps of lateral raises. The key here is to complete all 25 biceps curls before moving on to bench presses. Rest for 2 minutes between sets. If you can't complete all 25 biceps curls in 2 minutes, that's okay—just move onto something else and return to curls when you're ready.

Cool Down
Cooling down after your workout is as important as warming up. As you’re doing your last few reps, it’s easy to let your form fall apart and leave a bunch of unneeded stress in your muscles. To cool down properly, try performing some slower paced cardio or light stretching for about five minutes after each session. You can also do walking lunges, where you take an exaggerated step forward with one leg and then bend both knees to squat back into position.