7 Exercises You Can Do With Just Dumbbells And A Bench
Weight benches should be a staple part of any fitness centre set up. Whether in a commercial gym or at home, a weight bench allows for versatility in training. You can use it for step-ups, box squats, a place to elevate your feet or hands to make push-ups harder or more manageable, and a spot to anchor one foot during single-leg movements, among many other uses! That's why we've listed our top 7 exercises you can do with just dumbbells and a bench!
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
Targets: Biceps, Lats, Upper Back, Traps
How: With feet at a shoulder-width distance, hinge forward at the hips maintaining a flat back and place your right foot on a bench, holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Bend your right elbow and pull the dumbbell up to the side of your chest. Pause, then slowly lower back to start.
Seated Bicep Curls
How: Stand with dumbbells by your sides and palms facing forwards. Keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the weights up, squeezing your biceps at the top. Lower them back to the start. Keep your reps controlled to avoid swinging the dumbbells up and down.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Targets: Triceps, Pecs, Lats, Traps
How: Lie on your weights bench, slightly arch your back and put your feet flat on the ground. Take a dumbbell in each hand. Stretch your arms out vertically, bringing the dumbbells together. Remember to pull your shoulders back and contract your pectoral muscles. From this high position, slowly lower the dumbbells down to each side of your chest. Without bouncing back, contract your pecs and press (push) the dumbbells back up, bringing them together as they reach the top.
Targets: Shoulders, Arms, Pecs
How: Place your hands on the edge of the bench just slightly wider than shoulder-width. Your arms are straight but elbows are not locked. Align your feet so that your arms and body are completely straight. Bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest to the edge of the bench while inhaling. Keep your body straight and rigid throughout the movement. Push your body away from the bench until your elbows are extended, but not locked. Exhale as you push up. Keep going with slow, steady repetitions.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
While sitting on your weight bench, lean back and lift your feet off of the ground. Have your hands behind you so you can grab the bench for stability. With your feet out in front of you, bring your knees to your chest and vice versa. Lowering your legs so that your feet come close to the ground will conclude one repetition.
Seated Overhead Press
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Sit on a bench with your back supported and hold a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, your arms bent and palms facing your body.
Press the weights directly over your shoulders until your arms are straight and your biceps are next to your ears. As you press, twist the weights so that your palms face forward. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
Targets: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Adductors, Abductors, Glutes
Stand on one side of your bench and engage your abdominals, sit back into a small squat. Use the glutes and legs to jump up and over the step and land in a slight squat, repeat back and forth. Be sure to start in a squat position, with your knees bent, and then land in that same position. This will reduce the risk of injury as well as increase the capacity to strengthen your legs muscles. From your squat, pull your arms back and then swing them forward as you "explode" over the bench. Be sure your core muscles are pulled in tight to help you in the movement.
If you do not feel confident attempting this move yet, place your hands on the edges of the bench for stability.