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Fun, Fast Workouts for Small Spaces (Like Labs!) | BenchFly
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Fun, Fast Workouts for Small Spaces (Like Labs!)

Tired of your Lab Physique?  Hunched over, head forward, shoulders slumped, eyes straining, butt widening, legs atrophying?  Fight back!  Rediscover the pleasure of moving your body.  Don’t wait.  Do it now.

In-Lab Energizer

Goal: Full-body energizer in 5 minutes

Move continuously.  Start by standing up with enough space so you can swing your arms around freely.

  • Shoulder Rolls:  lift up to ears, squeeze back, drop down, repeat.  Reverse direction and keep rolling.
  • Arm Circles:  arms straight out to sides at shoulder level, fingers pointing towards the ceiling and stretched wide, palms facing opposite walls; make circles with your arms in both directions, small circles, then bigger ones.
  • Hip Circles:  put your hands on your hips.  Stand with feet apart and swing around left three times, swing around right three times.  Repeat in bigger circles.
  • Marching in Place:  lift knees up high, alternating knees.  Now grab each knee as you bring it up and pull it in toward your chest while balancing on the opposite foot.  March again, lift knees as high as you can.
  • Butt Kick:  rhythmically step side to side, then step to the side and bend the knee of your free leg and bring your foot up in back towards your butt.  Repeat.
  • Upper Back:  bring your arms forward and lace your fingers, press palms away from body at shoulder level.  Let your chin drop toward your chest.  Let your shoulders stretch forward, feel the stretch across your upper back.
  • Shoulder Blade Squeeze:  thumbs next to armpits, elbows out to sides at shoulder level; press elbows back, squeeze between your shoulder blades.  Release and repeat.
  • Fast Feet:  just like it sounds, all the movement is initiated in your feet, knees are bent; imagine you are stomping little tiny grapes, but fast—faster!
  • Final Stretch:  stand with legs wide, stretch arms up as high as you can, reach up with one arm, up with the other.  Still standing, let upper body melt downwards, let it drip down towards floor, reach for your shins, your ankles, the floor, swing gently side to side, then bend knees and roll up.


Small Space Body Tune-Up

Goal:  Full-body workout in 30 minutes
Gear:  Handweights, exercise mat, imaginary jumprope
Moves: Warm up for 5 minutes then start circuit training

Circuit 1

  • Push-up:  Start in plank position, on the floor on hands and balls of your feet, legs straight out behind you, abs tight.  Palms should be directly under shoulders.  Bend your elbows till your body is lowered toward the floor.  Upper arms are parallel with floor.  Push back up and repeat.  15 reps
  • Forward Lunges with Tricep Kickbacks: Stand with feet hip distance apart, with dumbbells in each hand, palms facing each other, elbows close to ribcage and bent, hands in front like Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Move elbows back, so your dumbbells are next to your ribcage.  This is your arm starting position.  As you lunge forward and down, press back with your dumbbells, straightening your arms.  Keep upper arms close to body and still.  As you rise back to standing, bend elbows back to starting position.  During the Lunge, step your right foot forward in a long stride.  As your foot touches floor, bend both knees till your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your left thigh is perpendicular to it, left heel off floor.  Hold for a count, then press off ball of foot and step back to starting position. Repeat this combination, 10 on each side
  • Crunches:  Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on floor.  Place hands behind your ears, keeping elbows back.  Contract your abs, curl up and forward till your shoulder blades are lifted off the floor.  Keep your eyes on the ceiling and don’t pull on your neck.  15 reps
  • Jump rope: Use your imaginary jump rope. 30 seconds

Repeat this circuit 1-2 more times.


Circuit 2

  • Standing Bent-over Rows: Stand with feet hip distance apart, dumbbells in hands.  Bend at the hips about 45 degrees with your back straight, and let your arms hang toward the floor, dumbbells in hands, palms facing back.  Bend your elbows and pull both hands up toward armpits.  Squeeze between your shoulder blades.  Return arms to start position and repeat. 15 reps
  • Squats: Stand with your feet hip width apart.  Sit back and down as if you were sitting onto a chair behind you.  Keep your weight back, your back straight, and lower yourself down till your thighs are parallel with the floor.  Straighten your legs to stand up, repeat. 15 reps
  • Leg Raises: Lie on your back with your legs straight out on the floor.  Place your hands under your hips, palms flat on the floor.  Contract your abs and lift your legs up without bending them till they are perpendicular to the floor.  Keep your abs tight.  Slowly lower legs back toward the floor, but don’t let them touch!  Repeat. 10 reps
  • Jumping Jack: If you were ever a child, you know this one. 30 seconds

Repeat this circuit 1-2 more times.


Circuit 3

  • Anterior Should Raises: Stand with feet hip width apart, arms at sides.  Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing behind you.  Keeping arms straight, lift the weights up straight in front till they are at shoulder level.  Slowly lower and repeat.    15 reps
  • Backward Lunges with Bicep Curls: A Backward Lunge is just like a forward lunge, except you begin by stepping backwards.  As you go into your lunge, perform a Bicep Curl:  Hold dumbbells in hands, arms down, palms facing forward.  Slowly bend elbows and curl dumbbells up toward shoulders, contracting biceps.  10 on each side
  • Plank: On the floor, on hands and balls of feet, legs straight out behind you. Your palms should be directly under your shoulders.  Keep your abs pulled in, body in a straight line. hold for 30 seconds reps
  • Jump rope:  30 seconds

Repeat this circuit 1-2 more times.


Circuit 4

  • Chest Flys: Lie on your back on the floor.  Hold dumbbells above your chest with your arms extended toward the ceiling and both palms facing each other.  Slowly lower your arms in an arc out to the sides of your chest, but don’t rest arms on floor.  Raise the weights in an arc back up to the starting position, and repeat.   15 reps
  • Fire Hydrants: Start on hands and knees on the floor, knees directly under hips and hands under shoulders.  Raise one leg out to the side, keeping your knee bent, till your thigh is parallel to the floor.  Slowly lower your leg back to starting position.  10 on each side
  • Bicycle Crunches: These are alternating oblique crunches.  Lie on your back with your legs up and bent at the knee, so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.  Hands are behind your head, elbows out to sides.  Extend your right leg out straight, bringing your left knee and right armpit toward each other in a crunch.  Immediately switch sides, bringing opposite knee and armpit toward each other.  10 on each side
  • Jumping Jacks:  30 seconds

Repeat this circuit 1-2 more times.

Cool down for 5 minutes.


Alchemy:  Changing Lab Flab to Fabulous Physique!


Adrian Dunn is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, and Fitness Coach for EverydayHealth.com, whose calorie counter is available here.


Have any tips for balancing your bench and your biceps?


2 comments so far. Join The Discussion

  1. alan@benchfly

    wrote on June 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    As with all of our articles, we had to verify that this info is legit before we posted it. Judging by the amount of tender walking and Advil popping around here today, we can confidently say this workout is the real deal! Great routine.

  2. Yevgeniy

    wrote on July 2, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Great article. The biggest physical strain or problem I noticed associated with benchwork was a stiff neck or tension in the upper back and shoulders, as well as tendinitis in the finger joints from a lot of repeat pipetting. I think the best way to prevent it is to make sure you stretch and oil the joints every 15-30 minutes when doing a lot of repeat actions or benchwork.

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