1. Step ups: Warm up your legs and get your heart pumping with this simple and classic warm up. For starters, find a park bench that when you place your foot on it your knee bends to form a 90-degree angle. Firmly plant one foot on the bench and press through your heel as you step up. Return to the starting position by stepping down with the top foot, and complete the same number of repetitions after you finish the first side’s set. Be sure that the soles and surface of your shoes are dry.
2. Lunges: Engage your quads and glutes while you build hip strength and stretch your hamstrings with this advanced lunge. Stand facing away from the bench and hook one foot onto the bench behind you. Once in a comfortable position, use control and balance to descend your back knee. Make sure your front knee does not go past your toes, pause, then drive back into starting position. Repeat with desired repetitions and switch legs.
3. Box Jumps: Bring the strength and increase your lower body’s power with this multi-joint exercise. Start at a comfortable distance from the bench with feet shoulder width apart. When you’re ready to jump: drop into a mini squat, swing your arms, extend your hips and push through your feet to propel yourself onto the bench.
4. Tricep dips: Begin with the bench behind you and reverse grip your hands on the edge. The key is in arm position: make sure your hands are shoulder width apart and your forearms remain perpendicular to the ground. As you slowly lower your body and bend your elbows, be sure that your elbows are behind you and not pointing out to the side. Pause at the bottom and press back up with power.
5. Inclined push ups: Simultaneously strengthen your chest, shoulders and triceps with this simple modification. Take note that the higher the bench you’re using is, the easier the inclined push up will be. If you’re up for a real challenge, switch your hands with your feet for the decline push up.
6. Plyometric step ups: Try this explosive version of the original step up to increase your legs’ power and strength. Ensure that your bench is stable and that you are landing softly on your feet. Switch legs after you hit your desired repetitions.
7. Inclined mountain climbers: Work both your abs and upper body with this slight modification on a traditional favorite. This workout not only increases isometric strength, the inclined version alleviates pressure from the joints and lower back.
8. Single leg tricep dips: Increase the intensity and your tricep strength with this one legged variation of a classic arm exercise. Maintain the same arm technique as traditional tricep dips and keep your core tight.
9. Single leg sit to stand: Begin by standing on one foot in front of the bench, then carefully sit back and lower yourself with control. Return to starting position by standing up through your heel and extending your knee and hip.
If balance is a challenge, try the two-leg modification.
10. Side plank leg lift: Stabilize your forearm on the bench and stack your feet out to align them with your shoulders and hips. Reach your arm upward, brace your core and stabilize your hips, then lift your leg upward. Pause at the top before returning to starting position, and don’t forget to switch sides.