When looking for bench exercises that get your heart rate pumping and build strength in your leg and arm muscles, try frogs and hop overs, which both make use of the bench to give you some added height and support to your jumps. Just make sure that you’re not experiencing knee pain or weakness before attempting these exercises.
The Targeted Muscles
Frogs and hop overs are primarily aerobic bench exercises that improve blood flow and the circulation of oxygen throughout the body. They do, however, strengthen the muscles in both the legs and the arms and improve the flexibility in your legs.
The Basics of the Exercises
For both of these bench exercises, you will need only your bench. Make sure the bench is on a stable, shock-absorbent surface, preferably a gym mat or a smooth area of grass.
- Place your bench on the ground vertically and stand to the side, parallel to the bench. (You should not be facing the bench.) Make sure your feet are about an inch apart, with the nearest foot about three to five inches from the bench.
- Bend over and grip the sides of the bench with both hands, one on each side. Your back should be bent over as straight as possible and you should be looking down at the bench, keeping your neck erect and in line with your back.
- Use the support of the bench to lift both your legs over and across the bench, bending as much with the knee as possible. Touch both feet to the ground on the other side of the bench, keeping about an inch between the feet.
- Quickly repeat, bringing the feet back up and over and to the other side.
- Repeat back and forth for a series of ten to fifteen reps in one to three sets.
- Place your bench on the ground horizontally and stand behind it in the middle, facing the bench. Make sure your feet are about three to five inches from the bench. Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet at a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend over and place both palms firmly on the middle of the bench. Your upper core should be kept straight and looking ahead, not down at the bench.
- Use the support of your arms on the bench to lift both legs off the ground at once and swing your legs forward on either side of the bench. Your feet should be stretched as far as comfortably possible in opposite directions. You should be hovering over the bench at this time, with your hands still on the bench in front of your pelvis.
- Bring the feet back together and land on the opposite side of the bench. You can let go of the bench once you’ve landed firmly.
- Turn around and repeat the process.
- Repeat back and forth for a series of five to ten reps in one to two sets.