The days are longer, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Spring is in full force, and it’s time to get outside for fresh air and to add variety to your workouts.
Before you ditch your strength training sessions for biking, hiking, kayaking and other outdoor activities, ask yourself: Are these workouts enough to maintain my hard-earned strength? While these activities are fun, you’ll still need some lifting to maintain a well-balanced fitness routine. Luckily, we’ve got three killer workouts you can do outside to build some strength under the sun. These use some unconventional methods, so don’t be spooked at first glance!
WORKOUT #1: HILL SPRINTS
Equipment Needed: Steep hill (20–40 yards long)
Sets and Reps: 8–12 sprints at maximum effort (the walk back down the hill is your rest period)
Before there was spin class, circuit training or Tabata, there were hill sprints. It doesn’t get much simpler than this: Find a hill, run up it as fast as you can, walk down the hill and repeat.
While there’s beauty in simplicity, there are some solid reasons why hill sprints are so awesome. First, hills don’t beat up your hips, knees and ankles as much as sprinting on flat ground because the angle of the hill doesn’t require your body to absorb as much force. Second, the vertical component increases energy demand so you burn more calories. (Think: walking on the sidewalk versus climbing up stairs.) The bonus is you can channel your inner Rocky Balboa every time you sprint to the top.
WORKOUT #2: PARK BENCH PUMP
Equipment Needed: Park bench
Sets and Reps: 3–4 sets of 8–10 reps per exercise (no rest between exercises, rest 30–60 seconds between sets)
A simple park bench provides a perfect platform to do a variety of bodyweight exercises. The elevated height of the bench can either aid in making certain exercises easier or add to the difficulty, making it an unexpectedly versatile piece of equipment.
Try this bodyweight circuit on for size:
WORKOUT #3: TIRE FLIPS
Equipment Needed: Tractor tire (start small and work your way up; a tire that sits at about knee-height is a good starting point)
Sets and Reps: 30 total flips — take as long as you need and keep perfect form.
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So, if you know someone throwing out an old tractor tire, take it off their hands because you’ve stumbled upon a strength-building goldmine. Of course, most of us don’t, so feel free to substitute kettlebell swings or med ball diaper tosses instead. They use a similar movement pattern without special equipment.