Bench exercises are a favorite of at home workout enthusiasts because a bench is an easy item to come by for an at-home workout studio. Benches are extremely versatile and can be used for a wide variety of different activities and exercises. For the best results, purchase a fully adjustable bench that can be set to different heights and incline or decline levels.
The step-up with a hop is a great exercise for a bench. This exercise helps to develop agility, general leg strength and more. It is also a cardiovascular exercise that can help to improve overall fitness and heart health. However, there are some risks to doing this exercise, and it’s crucial that you do it properly in order to avoid injury.
There are a number of different basic variations on the step up exercise. Step ups typically require that you place one foot onto the bench in front of you and that you then, in a single motion, step the other foot up to rest at a standing position on top of the bench. The return to the ground means that you’ll step down with the lead foot first once again, effectively reversing the motion.
To add a hop to this basic exercise, there are a few ways to do it. First, many people will begin on the ground and then place the lead foot up onto the bench. Using this lead foot as a way of propelling you, give a slight hop to bring your other foot onto the bench and come to rest at a standing place. From here, it’s typically best to follow the lead of the basic step up procedure and to step both feet back down to the ground, one after another.
Injury Prevention and Safety
Working with a bench is convenient and easy, but it is possible to hurt yourself. First, do not overextend your legs as you work. Additionally, be very careful to land both feet on the bench so that you don’t fall. The dismounting from the bench should also always be done carefully so to ensure that you don’t cause any injury by falling backward. It’s oftentimes best to watch your feet as you complete this exercise slowly several times through before you begin to speed up slightly and to look straight ahead as you do it.
There are also a number of ways to modify the step up with a hop. One of the best is to hold weights in both hands. Using dumbbells instead of a single barbell is helpful for balancing purposes. You can also extend your second leg back while you’re on the ground, thereby incorporating a bit of a lunge element into the step up itself. Both of these are good modifications to help strengthen your legs and core, but neither one should be attempted until you’re fully comfortable with the basic exercise.