GFGL Playground Workout

By Courtney Fisher

Your absence from the gym may be due to travel, boredom from your routine, or a membership that’s over your budget. Whatever the reason, the lack of fancy equipment and crowded classes shouldn’t stop you from reaching your fitness goals. No matter what city you reside in or travel to, you are sure to find a playground or public park that has the potential to get your heart pumping.

Return to the sunshine with this park-friendly plan designed by Michelle Stevens, an ACSM Clinical Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer in Washington D.C. “Most of us spend the majority of our time indoors, sitting, working on computers, and driving from place to place. Getting outdoors to exercise allows you to change the scenery, breathe some fresh air, feel all the sensations of the sun and weather on your skin, and clear your mind.” says Stevens, “Bonus points for working against a light breeze. (It’ll provide extra, yet subtle, resistance.)”

Find an outdoor playground in your neighborhood and make the most of the sunshine with the following workout:

Warm up:

Start with a brisk walk through the park, at least a full five minutes, but shoot for 10 if you have time. After you get your heart rate up, incorporate high skips, lunges, arm circles and jumping jacks to get all of your muscles ready for the workout.

1. The off-set squat:

Stand with your right foot on the base of the slide and left foot on the ground beside it, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows at your sides and hold hands in fists. Squat, rise up to starting position, and repeat. Switch sides to complete set. 10 each side (When you squat, remember to shift your weight back so that your knees stay over your ankles, forming 90-degree angles.)

2. Monkey chin-ups

Grasp a high bar with hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing towards you. Jump up as you bend your elbows and pull yourself up until chin is above the bar and legs are extended toward the ground. Gently release. Repeat until you can’t do any more. Bonus points for lowering your body as slowly as possible!

3. Decline push-ups:

Get in the plank position and place your feet on a swing, park bench, or slide. Bend the elbows and lower the body to the ground, tightening the core to ensure a straight line, push the arms straight and the body back to the starting position.  Repeat 10-15 times.

4. Split Lunge:

Stand about two feet in front of the slide and place top of left foot on it; clasp hands in front of chest, elbows pointing down.  Bend knees until right thigh is parallel to the ground (right knee stays over right ankle) pushing left leg slightly back. Rise up to starting position and repeat. Perform at least ten on each leg.

5. Swinging Plank:

Get in plank position with your feet on a swing and your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Lift hips straight up toward the sky, drawing feet toward arms so your body forms an inverted “V.” Extend your body to starting position and then pull your knees into your chest, return feet to the starting position—this is one rep, complete ten.

6. Bench jumps:

Just like it sounds, find a park bench that’s about two feet from the ground. Stand facing the bench with knees slightly bent and arms extended straight out in front of the torso at shoulder height. Jump up then step back down quickly. Do as many jumps as possible in 30 seconds, with no more than a minute rest in between. Repeat for three sets. Modification: If the bench is too high find a curb, step, or edge of a planter that is more doable.

 7. Sit-up:

For this move, no playground equipment is necessary, just lie down, cross the arms over the chest and sit up until the elbows touch the knees. Keep the chin away from the chest! Try 20-25 reps.

 8. Step Ups:

Stand facing the bench. Bend your elbows at your sides, hands in fists, and place right foot on bench, shift weight to right foot and rise up, lifting left leg out to the side as you extend arms to shoulder height out to sides, palms facing the ground. Reverse motion to return to starting position; repeat. Switch sides to complete 10 sets.

 9. Don’t forget a classic triceps dip:

Sitting on a park bench, place hands by your sides, supporting yourself with your hands on the bench, lift hips off and out in front of the bench, walk feet out a couple steps ahead, dig your heels into the ground, toes pointed to the sky, keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears as you lower your body towards the ground. Pause when your elbows make 90-degree angles and slowly raise your body back up to the top of the movement. Repeat 10-12 times.

10. Can’t go without cardio!

Find a steeper portion of the park or a set of stairs, sprint up the incline and jog back down to recover. Repeat 5-10 times.

This workout can be done in circuit style. Move from one exercise to the next (ten reps each unless otherwise noted) If you have time repeat the circuit for a total of 2-3 times.

Photo Credit

Categories: Your Fitness

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