Some parks have great calisthenics equipment like pull up bars, parallel bars, inclined sit-up benches and balance beams to name a few. However if your local council has been a bit tight with their parks and recreation budget there are still a TON of calisthenics exercises you can do with ordinary objects you can find around any park – like the humble park bench.
The beauty of a calisthenics workout is that you don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment. Just use your body’s own weight to leverage the resistance you need. One great way to get started with calisthenics is to add it onto the end of your current training regime – be that a morning walk around the block or a jog in the park.
So you’re sweating, you’ve just finished your 3 or 5 or 8km walk or run but you still want to keep the burn going. Listed below are five creative park bench exercises that will help you to shed fat, tone your muscles and increase your core strength and flexibility:
#1 – Leg Raises (abs)
Leg raises are perfect for strengthening your abdominal muscles which only get a moderate workout when you are jogging.
- Start by laying with your back parallel to the ground and your bum on one edge of the park bench.
- Your arms should be fully extended along side you, with your hands gripping the edge of the park bench.
- Begin by lifting your legs (keep them straight) from being parallel to the ground all the way up until they are just below a 90° angle with your body.
- Average 12-15 reps.
#2 – Inclined Push Up (chest, arms & core)
Inclined push ups are great if you are beginning to build your chest and arm strength. Park park benches also have two heights you can use – the taller back section or the lower seat section – both of which are great for any beginner level of strength.
- Start by fully extending your arms and placing your hands on the park bench.
- Your legs and back should be straight, with your toes bent and your feet resting on the balls of your feet.
- Begin by bending your arms and lowering your chest to the park bench making sure to keep your legs and back straight. It’s very important to maintain good form.
- Once your chest is almost touching the park bench, push with your arms and chest to bring your body away from the park bench back to the starting position.
- Average 10-12 reps (or if it’s too easy then move to the lower section)
#3 – Tricep Dips (triceps, shoulders)
The park bench was practically destined to be used for tricep dip exercises. It’s height and large flat area to support yourself is perfect for this basic calisthenics exercise.
- Start by sitting on the park bench as you would if your were a regular person (and not the goal-setting machine that you are).
- Grip your hands along the front edge of the seat and move your bum forward off the seat while moving your feet further from the park bench.
- Your arms should be fully extended and locked – supporting your body’s weight
- Your legs can be straight or bent at the knee but find a comfortable medium in between. The straighter they are, the harder (but better) the exercise.
- Now bend your arms and lower your bum past the seat towards the ground, stopping when your arm is bent 90°. You should feel this working the muscles behind your elbow (the triceps) and at the top of your shoulders.
- Hold this position for a second and push up with these muscles until you are back to the start.
#4 – One-Legged Squats (legs)
Leg muscles can never be over-looked by anyone who is serious about losing weight and building a healthy physique. Note: This exercise needs some degree of balance so practice these steps slowly until you can perform the entire repetition.
- Start by standing about two steps away from the park bench, facing away from it.
- Raise your left or right foot backwards so that it the top of your toes are resting against the seat section of the bench. You should have to stretch a bit to reach it.
- Now bench the opposite leg and lower your body to the ground as if you are reaching for something directly below your torso. Make sure to keep your back straight and your head facing the horizon.
- Once your knee is almost to the ground, push with your opposite leg and bring yourself back to the starting position.
- After one leg is done switch legs.
- Average 10-12 reps per leg.
#5 – Inclined Side Plank (core)
The side plank is a simple but effective exercise. Technically very easy to master there are various styles that you can perform that increase the difficulty however it’s good to start with the basics first and this is an excellent exercise to work on with a park bench.
- Start in a position identical to that of the inclined push up
- But instead of lowering your body, raise one arm above your head so that it is pointed at the sky. The other arm should be fully extended and the side of your body should be pointed at the ground.
- Hold this position for thirty-seconds to one minute.
- Repeat again for the other arm.
- Average thirty-seconds to one minute per side.
We hope you like our top five park bench exercises for a great beginner calisthenics workout. Now that you know these five simple exercises you have no excuse but to perform them on occasion after your morning walk or jog. Keep up with these and you WILL see results quicker than you expected.
Have any suggestions or started seeing some results that you’d like to share? Leave a comment in the section below.