Move Weight Training Out to a Park

For some much-needed fresh air, take your weight training to the nearest reopened park or playground. You’ll get a good workout and test your creativity, and playground equipment like monkey bars and park benches can help replace some gym equipment.

Check with your local park department to determine which recreational facilities have reopened. Remember to follow CDC and local guidelines, bring your mask, and use Clorox wipes to wipe down equipment before and after use. Don’t forget to pack water and apply sunscreen.

If these full-body moves start to seem too easy, challenge yourself to see how many times you can run this routine through the playground or park.

Park Bench Power-Ups

For a leg workout, you can use a park bench for step-ups. Simply face the bench and rapidly step up and off it alternating your steps. An advanced move for the well-coordinated would be hopping on and off with both feet together.

Use a bench for upper-body strengthening with pushups. Face the bench and plank against it with your arms and back straight. From your straight-arm position, bend your elbows and lower yourself until your chest almost touches the bench. Push up and then repeat.

You can also strengthen upper-arm muscles with tricep dips. Start in a seated position at one end. Hold the edge of the bench with fingers facing forward. Then, lower your body off the bench until your elbows are bent at about 90 degrees. Make it easy on yourself by positioning your feet closer to your body, or increase the difficulty by walking your feet out.

Bark Barre

Take your barre class outside and find a tree, basketball hoop, or flagpole that you can wrap your arms around. Maintaining good posture, stick your bottom out and squat so that your knees are bent to almost 90 degrees. Hold a few seconds and then repeat. You can substitute shorter squats for the full squat by moving up and down rapidly a few inches at a time. This lower-body move works the muscles in your thighs and backside.

Nature’s Weights

The park or playground can offer up a bounty of natural weights such as rocks, branches, and logs. Use them in place of weights. Holding them will help increase difficulty when you’re doing overhead presses, squats, lunges, and hip thrusts. Make sure you balance by holding rocks of similar weight if you have one in each hand.

Monkey Bar Moves

Engage in one of the best resistance exercises around and head for the monkey bars at the playground. Use the bars to perform pull-ups to work your entire upper body and midsection. Place hands palms out about shoulder-width apart on the bar. Then pull yourself up.

If you are one of the many who cannot complete a pull-up, try variations to help build those muscles needed for pull-ups. One modification exercise is a leg lift. Lift both your legs — knees bent or straight — while you hang from the bars.

With enough creativity and a little willpower, you can use park equipment to get a great workout. The best part? There’s no costly gym membership!


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