Training

The Ultimate Park Bench Workout: Boss Your Box Jump

Getting in a tough workout doesn’t always require a gym or equipment. In fact, now the summer’s here, you can do your workout just about anywhere – even on a park bench.

These five simple park bench exercises are designed to work your entire body while strengthening your core, stabilising your balance and improving your joint strength, too.

Do these exercises two to three times every week to see some serious improvements in your body composition. Perform each exercise for the stated amount of reps for 1 whole round. Carry out 5-10 rounds for the full workout. Remember to do a gentle stretch and warmup (like jogging on the spot) first.


1. Box Jump

 

Muscles worked: Core, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.

The explosive force used in the box jump improves your fast-twitch muscle fibres. You can try the regular box jump if you’re a beginner, and once you’re comfortable, try the single-leg box jump to take it up a notch.

 

How to perform a box jump:

10 reps:

  1. Stand around 10 inches in front of the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bring your arms forward and hinge your hips back, while engaging your core and keeping your back flat.
  3. Swing your arms backwards and use the momentum to jump softly onto the bench, while bending your hips and knees during landing.
  4. Straighten your legs, step off the bench, and start again.

 

Harder variation: Single-leg box jump:

20 reps, 10 on each leg:

The single-leg box jump is tougher than the regular box jump, as it requires double the power from one leg, as well as better balance and stabilisation.

  1. Stand around 10 inches in front of the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lift one foot a couple of inches off the ground and transfer your weight to the foot on the ground.
  3. Bring your arms forward and hinge your hips back, while engaging your core and keeping your back flat.
  4. Swing your arms backwards and use the momentum to jump softly onto the bench onto one foot, while bending your hips and knees during landing.
  5. Straighten your legs and step onto both feet, step off the bench, and start again.

 

2. Bench Dip

 

Muscles worked: Triceps, rear deltoids (shoulders) and chest.

Bench dips are a super-simple way to build your triceps muscles, and couldn’t be easier to perform. If you’re advanced, try single-arm bench dips to double the load while working on your balance, too.

 

How to perform a bench dip:

10 reps:

  1. Sit on the bench and position your hands next to you on the bench with your fingertips gripping the edge.
  2. Slide off the bench, still gripping with your hands, and extend your feet straight out in front of you.
  3. Straighten your arms to take your weight, keeping a tiny bend in your elbow to keep the tension in your triceps.
  4. Slowly bend your elbows until they reach a 90° angle, keeping them in line with your hands.
  5. Push into the bench to straighten your arms again. This is your first repetition.

 

Harder variation: Single-arm bench dip:

20 reps, 10 on each side:

  1. Sit on the bench and position your hands next to you on the bench with your fingertips gripping the edge.
  2. Slide off the bench, still gripping with your hands, and extend your feet straight out in front of you. Remove one hand from the bench, taking your full weight in the other. Raise your other arm out straight in front of you for balance.
  3. Straighten your arm to take your weight, keeping a tiny bend in your elbow to keep the tension in your triceps.
  4. Slowly bend your elbow until it reaches a 90° angle, keeping it in line with your hands.
  5. Push into the bench to straighten your arm again. This is your first repetition.

 

3. Press-Up

 

Muscles worked: Chest, core, triceps and shoulders.

This is one of the most common bodyweight exercises, and for good reason, too. It’s effective at working your chest and shoulders while defining your core and burning body fat.

 

Hand-elevated press-ups with twist:

20 reps, 10 on each side:

  1. Facing the bench, place your hands onto the edge of the bench, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Straighten your arms so they’re directly underneath your shoulders, then extend your legs out straight and ground your toes into the floor.
  3. Ensure your body is straight and your hips are not sagging inwards or pushing upwards. Brace your core, then slowly bend your elbows to a 90° angle.
  4. Push your hands into the bench to return to straight arms. Remove one hand from the bench and slowly twist your body so that your hand is pointing directly upwards to the sky. Return to start position. This is your first repetition.

 

Harder variation: Feet-elevated press-ups:

20 reps:

  1. Facing away from the bench, place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lean the top of your feet on the edge of the bench. Straighten your arms so they’re directly underneath your shoulders.
  3. Ensure your body is straight and your hips are not sagging inwards or pushing upwards. Brace your core, then slowly bend your elbows to a 90° angle.
  4. Push your hands into the bench to return to straight arms. This is your first repetition.

 

4. Bulgarian Split Squat with Twist

 

Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core.

The Bulgarian split squat is a powerhouse leg exercise, with your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves all set to work hard – all while testing your balance to the max. Plus, adding the twist at the end of the exercise works your core and balance even further.

 

How to perform a Bulgarian split squat with twist:

20 reps, 10 on each side:

  1. Stand with the bench around one metre behind you and carefully raise one leg and balance the top of your foot on the edge of the bench. This may take a bit of balancing. Stabilise your core once balanced.
  2. Clasp your hands out in front of you for balance. Slowly lower your body until your front thigh is almost horizontal and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Your knee should be above your toes, not over.
  3. While in the lowered position, engage your core fully, then twist the top half of your body over to the same side as the front leg, without moving your hips. Twist back to the centre.
  4. Slowly raise back up to your starting position. You’ve completed your first rep.

 

5. Mountain Climbers

 

Muscles worked: Core

Mountain climbers are an important compound core exercise to build core stability and strength. This move uses multiple core muscles, so it’s a super-efficient exercise for strengthening your abs, while burning a lot of calories at the same time.

 

How to perform mountain climbers:

20 reps, 10 on each side:

  1. Facing the bench, place your hands onto the edge of the bench, shoulder-width apart, keeping your palms directly below your shoulders.
  2. Step your feet backwards so that your body is in a straight line from your head to your toes.
  3. Brace your abs, then draw one knee towards the opposite shoulder while deeply squeezing your abs, allowing your back to curve slightly. Step back into the starting position. You’ve completed your first rep.

 

Take Home Message

This park bench workout targets all major muscle groups while strengthening your core, stabilising your balance and strengthening joints. Simply find a your favourite park bench, stake your claim and take your body through these 5 exercises – it couldn’t be simpler.

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Jennifer Blow

Jennifer Blow

Editor & Qualified Nutritionist

Jennifer is our editor and qualified AfN nutritionist. She loves hill walking and cycling, loathes bad science, and loves proving healthy eating doesn’t equal plain, boring, and a lifetime of hunger.


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