When it comes to building a strong core, there’s no shortage of exercises to choose from. While many people opt for traditional floor-based ab workouts, incorporating a bench ab exercises into your routine can take your core training to the next level.
These are some of the best bench ab exercises that I have found to be perfect for strengthening and sculpting your core. When you feel up to it, don’t be afraid of adding weights too!
Why should you use a bench?
I used to always avoid using the bench until I tried it and was shocked by the results! I found that my workouts were more intense and I could feel the burn faster with fewer reps. Here are a few other benefits you might not have known:
- Increased Range of Motion: A bench allows for a greater range of motion compared to the floor, which can engage your core muscles more effectively.
- Better Isolation: Bench exercises often isolate your abdominal muscles, making them work harder for each repetition.
- Versatility: Benches are versatile pieces of equipment that can be adjusted for different angles and intensities, catering to various fitness levels.
- Reduced Strain: Using a bench can reduce strain on your lower back, making it suitable for individuals with back issues or beginners.
Bench Ab Exercises To Try.
These are only a few of the bench ab exercises I have found to really work. There are so many different and creative variations available, don’t be scared to experiment and find what works best for you!
1. Bench Leg Raises.
Bench leg raises are a classic exercise that targets your lower abs. I have found that these put a lot less strain on the lower back as you can hold onto the bench for support.
To do this exercise, lie flat on your back on the bench, with your hips and lower back supported. Hold onto the bench’s sides for stability while lifting your legs off the floor, keeping them straight. Raise your legs as high as you can and back down again without touching the floor.
Repeat for 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.
2. Decline Sit-Ups.
Decline sit-ups are an effective way to work your entire core, with an emphasis on the upper abdominals. I prefer using a bench as it puts less strain on my neck, which tends to be stiff the following day with traditional floor sit-ups.
To do this exercise, position the bench at a decline angle (about 30-45 degrees). Secure your feet under the provided footrest or have a partner hold them. Cross your arms over your chest or place your hands behind your head and slowly lift your upper body off the bench, engaging your abs, and lower back down to the bench in a controlled movement.
Repeat for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
3. Russian Twist.
Russian twists on a bench add an element of instability, making your core work harder for balance. I love a good challenge, and this is it!
To do this exercise, sit on the bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly to engage your core and lift your feet off the ground. Clasp your hands together or hold a weight plate. Twist your torso side to side, bringing your hands or the weight close to the bench.
Repeat for 3 sets of 15-20 twists per side.
4. Reverse Crunch.
A reverse crunch is a great twist on the classic crunch with a focus on your upper and lower abdominals. Make sure to keep breathing through your exercises.
To perform this exercise, lie on your back on a bench, gripping the bench’s sides for stability. Lift your legs and bend them at a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet close to your glutes. With control, curl your hips off the bench, bringing your knees towards your chest. Pause at the top of the movement to squeeze your abs, then lower your hips back down, extending your legs without letting them touch the bench.
Repeat for 3 sets of 15.
5. Bench Crunch.
A bench crunch is a fantastic ab exercise that takes your core workout to a whole new level. This exercise combines the traditional crunch while resting your feet on the bench, intensifying the engagement of your abdominal muscles.
To perform a bench crunch, lie on your back on the ground with your legs placed on the bench at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands lightly behind your head, but avoid pulling on your neck. As you exhale, lift your upper body off the bench, aiming to bring your shoulder blades toward your hips while contracting your abdominal muscles.
Repeat for 3 sets of 20.
6. Side Plank Crunch.
I struggle doing side planks on the floor due to joint problems and have found that doing them on the bench takes a lot of strain off of my shoulders and elbows, making it easier to focus on the movement. Find positions that work for you and stick to it.
To perform this exercise, begin by assuming a side plank position with your elbow and forearm resting on a bench, ensuring your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Place your free hand behind your head or extend it toward the ceiling for balance. As you exhale, draw your top knee toward your top elbow while simultaneously crunching your torso.
Repeat for 3 sets of 15 per side.
7. Jack Knife.
This one is an absolute killer on your lower abdominals and can be quite a challenge. Don’t feel dishearted if you aren’t able to do it right off the bat. Take your time and work up to it!
To perform this exercise, sit sideways on the bench holding on to the side (behind your back) for support. Lift your legs off of the ground while lifting your knees towards your chest and back down again without touching the floor.
Repeat for 3 sets of 15.
A strong core is essential for overall fitness and functional strength. Adding bench ab exercises into your workout routine can help you achieve that much-desired six-pack and improve your athletic performance.
Remember to maintain proper form, start with a weight or angle that challenges you but allows for good technique, and gradually increase the intensity as your core strength improves. With dedication and consistency, you’ll be well on your way to a stronger, more resilient core.
Your Wellness Warrior!