Should the bench become your new best fitness friend? The workout world offers a ton of toning trends, swanky studios, and expensive equipment to choose from. But sometimes the simplest staple, such as a basic bench, can boast better benefits than its rivals.

By building your workout around a bench, you get back the top commodity that most people can’t afford to sacrifice: time. For exercise to be effective, your program must be efficient. Your sweat session loses power and potency when you’re waiting on machines, chit-chatting with fellow fit pals, or experimenting with foreign equipment.

Make the most of your workout by simplifying it. Bank on a better workout with this bench-based routine. For best results, repeat this circuit three times.

Jump-start

  • Stand on one side of the bench, wrapping your fingers around the edges of the bench for support. Your shoulders should be aligned directly above your wrists, with your chest positioned over the bench.
  • Push through your hands and feet to jump off the ground and propel your body over the bench. Land lightly on the balls of your feet on the opposite side of the bench.
  • Move quickly, jumping back and forth for 30 to 45 seconds.
Bench hops.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Bench hops.

Waist watchers

  • Start in a side plank position with your left forearm resting on the bench. Stack your legs and feet.
  • Align your left shoulder over your elbow, keep your spine straight, and elevate your right arm toward the sky. Adjust your gaze so you’re looking up at your right hand to prevent your chest from caving forward.
  • Slowly lower your hips a few inches, then use your core to lift your body back up to the starting stance. Perform 8 to 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
Side plank dips.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Side plank dips.

Upper body blitz

  • Begin in a push-up pose with your hands placed shoulder width-apart on top of the bench. Your shoulders should be aligned directly above your hands. Avoid sagging your hips.
  • Lift your left hand and tap the top of your right hand. Return to the starting position, then move your right arm across your body to tap your left hand. Come back to center and lower your chest toward the bench to perform a push-up. That is one repetition. Repeat 10 times.
Push up taps.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Push up taps.

Happy hips

  • Rest the upper mid-portion of your back on the bench. Keep your knees bent, with your feet hip-width apart and firmly planted on the floor. Your hips should be loose and bent. Extend your arms out to the side for support.
  • Push through your heels, elevating your hips until they are in line with your torso and knees. Squeeze your glutes for two counts. Release and repeat 25 times. For an added challenge, rest a weighted barbell across your hips.
Hip lifts.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Hip lifts.

Don’t let your workout weigh you down. Shed weight and wasted time by simplifying your routine.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt, ACE-CPT, is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.