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Outdoor Bench Workout

Strength Train on the Go With This Bench Workout

All you need for this short circuit workout — from Jennifer Pattee, our fitness model and owner of Basic Training — is a standard bench (or low wall, as we use here). It's the perfect workout to incorporate into your running routine, especially if your views are as spectacular as what we've got in San Francisco! Take your strength training outside with this bench workout: if you find yourself as mesmerized by your own surroundings as we are of ours, repeat the entire circuit two to three times.


This move will challenge your balance and work your glutes. If you need more cardio, perform this move for up to five minutes before moving on — otherwise, use the rep guidelines below.

  • Start by stepping onto the bench with your left foot, planting it so you'll be able to bear your weight when you step up.
  • Then step up on your left foot, bringing your right foot up and lifting the right leg to a 90-degree angle (shown in the photo). Lower your right foot down to tap the floor. Be sure your left foot never moves as you bend and straighten your right knee. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat for 10 to 15 on each leg.

Push-Ups: Legs on Bench

This move puts more weight on your arms and shoulders, making for a killer upper-body workout. "You will feel this the next day if you haven't done push-ups in a while," Jennifer says.

  • Get in a push-up position in front of the bench, facing away, starting with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in one straight line. Put your feet on the bench behind you, ensuring that your back is in a straight line. Keep your abs engaged and pull in your belly button.
  • Bend your elbows out to the sides to lower your chest toward the ground, then slowly straighten your arms back up.
  • Do 10 to 20 or as many as you can do.

Push-Ups: Hands on Bench

For another upper-body challenge, turn around and place your hands on the bench, lifting one leg up. "Try to reach your chest to the wall — that way you are getting full range of motion and hitting your pecs in addition to your arms and shoulders," Jennifer says.

  • Start in a push-up position with palms flat on the bench, making a straight diagonal line from the top of your head to your feet. Lift up your left foot so it is not touching the ground.
  • Bend your elbows out to the sides to lower your chest toward the ground, then slowly straighten your arms back up.
  • Do 10 to 20 or as many as you can do.

Bulgarian Split Lunge

This is a great move for your glutes, while also working your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

  • Stand in front of the bench, facing away from it. Put your right foot behind you on the bench as shown. Step your left foot out in front of you.
  • Bend down to make a 90-degree angle with your left knee, ensuring that it doesn't pass your ankles as you lower down. Keep your torso straight and engage your core.
  • Lift back up to the starting position. Repeat five to 10 times for each leg.
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