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6 Reasons to Swap the Cross-Trainer for This Ikea Stool

stool
(Image credit: Unknown)

No space or budget for a home gym? Here’s your ready-to-assemble solution: the Ikea Bekväm stool (it translates as 'comfortable'). “The Bekväm might be the most versatile and best-value training tool you aren’t using," says bodyweight fitness specialist Rannoch Donald (100repchallenge.com). "It provides progressions and a degree of difficulty to even the most simple moves."

Here's how you can get the body you want, using only this £14 flat-pack instant improver...

01 For a better chest

chest

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Do this: Incline press-up

Reps: 10

Start on the top step, with your hands placed at the edges of the stool. “This is the optimal position for press-ups,” says Donald. Lower your chest to stool, pause and press up. Keep your elbows tucked in. When you improve, put your feet on the stool instead for the decline version.

02 For bigger shoulders

shoulders

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Do this: Travelling hands

Reps: 6

“This is a fantastic shoulder drill,” says Donald. Starting in the press-up position in front of the Bekväm, “walk” your left hand, then your right, on to the first step. Then walk your right hand, then your left, on to the top step. Reverse the whole movement to return to the start.

03 For a solid core

core

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Do this: Sitting knee tuck

Reps: 20

Sit on the Bekväm with your hands either side to support you. Lean back slightly and draw your knees to your chest. Extend your legs but don’t let your heels touch the ground.

04 For greater hamstrings

hamstrings

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Do this: Travelling lunge

Reps: 10 (each side)

Standing to the right of the Bekväm, lunge sideways and place your left foot on the lower step, then bring your right foot over so both feet standing on the lower step. Step off to your left, then follow with your right foot. Repeat in the opposite direction.

05 For ankle mobility

ankles

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Do this: Chair pistol

Reps: 7 (each leg)

Unsupported single-leg squats too tough? “Using the Bekväm we can work towards doing pistols unsupported,” says Donald. With your right foot planted on the floor, extend your left in front of you and sit back on the top step of the stool. Without using momentum, drive through the right heel and stand up.

06 For enviable glutes

glutes

(Image credit: Unknown)

Do this: Hip bridge

Reps: 12

Lying on your back, place both heels on the top step. Drive your hips ups, with your heels and upper back supporting your weight. Pause, then lower and repeat. You can make this harder by supporting yourself on a single leg.

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.