The bench workout #2: upper body & core

The bench workout #2: upper body & core

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Hope you enjoyed last weeks’ lower body workout and it was so nice to receive messages from those of you who tried it at home or your local park. Keep it up!
As promised, this week I have some upper body and core exercises for you. Find a bench and get down to business!

Start with a 5’ power walk or any kind of warm-up activity that will get your heart rate up and prepare you mentally for your workout. Then, make sure you warm up your arms. I’ll show you two of the most important dynamic stretches here. The first is called pectoral push-pull, you simply pull your arms back together and then push them forward, this will get your chest and upper back muscles moving. Start slowly and increase range of motion for a total of 8-10 repetitions x 2 times. Shoulder revolutions are also a very good dynamic stretch to warm-up your shoulders.

Incline push-up into box jump

Start in a plank position, with your hands shoulder width apart. Inhale and bend your arms, lowering your chest towards the bench whilst making sure your elbows stay close to your body. Keep your eyes down. Exhale as you come back up. For added intensity, you can add a jump on the bench in the end. This is one rep.

Push-up_Box jump1

Push-up_Box jump2

Push-up_Box jump1

Push-up_Box jump3


Single arm row

I am using a dumbbell here, but you can use any kind of weight like a kettlebell, even your groceries bag on the way back from the super market! Make sure your supporting hand is under your shoulder and hip over your knee. Bring your other leg out for stability and make sure you keep your lower back straight. Start with an extended arm, exhale and pull the weight under your armpit. Make sure your elbow stays close to your body as you lift the weight and keep your eyes down and a flat back. Complete reps on one side before you switch.

Single arm row 1

Single arm row 2

Tricep dips
Hands are shoulder width apart and fingers are facing forward. Elbows are slightly bent and pointing backwards. Legs are extended out in front of you with a slight bend in the knees. Inhale and slowly lower your body until your shoulder joints are below your elbows. Make sure your elbows stay together, don’t let them open apart too much. Don’t go too low otherwise you will stress your shoulders. Exhale and push back up until your elbows are nearly straight, but don’t lock them out.

Tricep dips 1

Tricep dips 2

To modify, keep your knees bent throughout.



Start with your knees bent and your chest open and lifted. Slowly unfold from your seated V by simultaneously lowering your torso and legs toward the floor. Stop when your legs are around a 45 degree angle or when you feel your lower back arch away from it’s normal position. With your core tight, use your abs to return to the starting position. Make sure you keep your abs engaged instead of relying on gravity, to protect your lower back. If it gets too hard, keep your knees bent as you lower your legs down.

V-sit 2

V sit 1

Mountain climbers

Start in a pushup position, with your weight supported by your hands and toes. Flexing your knee and hip, bring one leg towards your chest. Explosively reverse the positions of your legs, extending the bent leg until the leg is straight and supported by the toe, and bringing the other foot up with the hip and knee flexed. Repeat that, alternating your feet as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds.

Mountain climber 1

Mountain climber 2

Power burpees

Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder width apart and bring your legs towards the bench. With an explosive movement, jump back into the plank position, then jump forward and then straight onto the bench! This is one rep.

Power burpee 2

Power burpee 1

Power burpee 2


Start with 2 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. For the mountain climbers you can either time them for 20’ to 25’ or count at least 30 reps. Make sure you finish off your routine with some static stretches.

Make sure you’re enjoying yourself whilst you are training!