Get in Shape With This Fun Playground Workout
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photo by John Morgan

The official kick off to summer is finally here! Memorial Day weekend brings the end of school, the beginning of hot days, warm nights and plenty of opportunities to get outside.

I think it’s time to hit the playground.

Not just for the kids but you too.

As adults we don’t play enough.  We look at exercise often as a chore, not something that brings us energy and joy. We hang out in loud brightly lit gyms or, in my case, dark basements where our home equipment may be located and forget that there is a whole world out there.

I want you to work hard but have a good time with this workout. Find a park with a bench, some pull up bars and swings.  Bring a jump rope if you have one. Then have a good time in the fresh air and sunshine.

The Warm up:

Get your body moving with some dynamic stretching (cross toe touches, shoulder rolls, side lunges, etc.) before doing a brisk walk or light jog for 5 minute.

The Workout:

We’re moving circuit style today. Between each station jog or sprint (depending on your fitness level) to the next one. The more spread out the equipment, the harder the workout.

  • Step ups: Perform these on your park bench. Step up right, left leg comes up with just a toe tap at the top then lower back to the ground followed by the right. Repeat on right for 15 steps before switching to left and performing for 15 steps.
  • Swing Pushups: TRX without the gym! Place your feet in the swing so the tops of the feet are facing the ground and walk out to a push up position.  10 pushups.
  • Step ups with Leg Curls: Same as the first time except curl the trailing leg as you come up so the heal of the trailing foot hits you in the behind. 15 reps on each leg.
  • Pull ups: Don’t worry if you can’t do a pull up yet. Jump up and lower yourself down as slowly as possible, doing a “negative” pull up, if you can’t do a pull up.  Do this 5-6 times or if you’re able, do pull ups to failure.
  • Walking Lunges: Find a nice even section of the park and walk those lunges out for 15 on each leg.
  • Bench dips: Back to your bench. Sit on the edge of the bench with your hands gripping the bench on each side of you, palms facing back. Slowly walk your hips off the edge of the bench and extend your legs out in front of you. Lower your hips towards the ground, bending at the elbow. Use your triceps and shoulders to push you back up. Move straight up and down, don’t swing your hips out.  10 reps.
  • Swing plank: Back to the swing set. This time you will balance your forearms in the swing, extend your body, balancing on your toes. Your body should be in a straight line, no rear ends in the air. Hold 30-60 seconds.
  • Jump rope: If you don’t have a rope don’t worry. Go through the same motion by rotating the arms as though you did have a rope while jumping on the balls of your feet. Do this for 30-60 seconds.
  • Repeat the circuit 1- 2 more times. Then you’re done!

The Cool down:

Don’t just stop and go home. Walk or play some more. When you’re done find a nice shady spot to stretch all you major muscle groups. Then take some time just to enjoy the sun, the day and the grass between your toes.

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