Outdoor Workout: Bench Circuit

A quick and easy workout you can do while watching your kids play at the park, or in your own backyard! All you need is a sturdy bench or chair. Complete 10-20 repetitions per exercise, and cycle through 1-3 sets of each exercise depending on your fitness level.

1 | Bench Hops or Step-ups

Facing the bench, jump from the ground to the seat of the bench, landing with both feet on the bench at the same time and then jump back down to the ground.

Modification: For lower impact, simply step up from the ground to the seat of the bench until you are standing with both feet on the bench seat. Then step back down to the ground one foot at a time.

2 | Mountain Climbers

Facing the bench, place your hands on the seat of the bench with arms straight, shoulder width apart and feet on the ground so your body is straight but slanting down. Then, quickly alternate tucking one knee to your chest in an exaggerated running motion like you are running up a mountain.

Modification: Rather than running in motion, bring one knee up to your chest at a time, hold it there for 3 seconds and then return it to the ground and repeat with the opposite leg.

3 | Tricep Dips

Facing away from the bench, place your hands on the edge of the bench seat behind you to support your body weight (your bottom will not rest on the seat for this exercise). Extend your legs out in front of you with your heels are on the ground. Bend your arms to a 90 degree angle so your bottom dips below the bench and then push back up.

Modification: Bend your legs for an easier alternative. The closer to 90 degrees that you bend your legs the easier the exercise will become.

4 | Pushups

Place your hands on the seat of the bench with straight arms positioned slightly wider than your shoulders and feet on the ground and angle your body so it is straight. Bend arms until they reach 90 degrees and then push back up. Make sure to keep your back straight throughout the entire motion.

Modification: Use the back rest of the bench as a higher support for an easier pushup. For a more difficult pushup try a decline pushup by placing your feet on the bench seat and your hands on the ground.

5 | Lunges

Standing about three feet in front of the bench and facing away, place the toes of your left foot on the seat of the bench behind you so there is a slight bend in your left leg. Make sure your right leg is approximately one foot in front of your body and bend your right leg until it reaches a 90 degree angle then stand back up. Do all reps with one leg before you switch.

Modification: Ditch the bench and perform your lunge on the ground. Hold onto the bench for more stability.

6 | Squats

Standing about one foot in front of the bench and facing away from it, position your legs approximately shoulder width apart and bend both legs simultaneously like you are going to sit down on the bench. Let your bottom just slightly touch the bench before you stand back up. The bench serves the purpose as a guide for how far to squat down.

Modification: You may sit down on the bench between each rep if needed. If you want to make these more difficult, try doing one legged squats with the other leg pointed out in front of you.

7 | Leg Raises

Lay down on the bench long ways with your bottom just at the edge and your legs hanging off the side. Raise your legs so they are in line with your body. Lift your legs together approximately one foot and then lower them back down to level with your body.

Modification: To make it easier, sit with your bottom in the middle of the bench so your legs have some support from the bench as well. Use the bench as a light rest for your legs in between each rep. I this is still too difficult, try lifting one leg at a time.

8 | Seated Crunches

Lay extended long ways on the bench. Performing a crunch motion, pull your legs into your chest, then return to starting, extended position.

Modification: Let your legs rest on the bench and perform the exercise with just your upper body, lowering your back until a few inches before it reaches the bench.