Whether or not you have kids, playgrounds are the perfect place for an outdoor adventure workout. You’ll be amazed at how functional, metabolic and challenging jumping, climbing, swinging and sliding can be. Do this short, simple, incredibly fun outdoor exercise plan next time you take a jaunt to the park:
1. SEE-SAW SINGLE LEG BALANCE
The move: Find something slightly unstable but safe. Stand on one foot for 30 seconds then switch.
Ramp it up: Ensuring you have handles nearby, close your eyes.
Step it back: A single-leg balance on solid ground can be just as beneficial.
2. BENCH BOX JUMPS
The move: Find a bench no higher than knee height. Hinge at your hips, drive your arms upward and explode onto the bench. Absorb the landing with bent knees and soft hips. Do 10 sets x 2 jumps.
Ramp it up: Select a higher bench or try the same move sideways.
Step it back: Bench step-ups are a fun alternative.
3. SWING PLANKS
The move: To add instability to your plank, place your forearms on a swing. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to keep a perfectly aligned body. Do two 30-second holds.
Ramp it up: Turn this move into a body saw by slightly moving the swing forward and back while keeping your body flat as a surfboard.
Step it back: Try holding your plank in the grass or setting your knees on the ground.
4. SWING SUSPENDED LUNGES
The move: Balance the top of your foot on the center of a swing. Hop the other foot about 1 foot in front of the swing. Keeping the front knee aligned above the middle toes, bend both knees, squeeze the glutes and return to a stand. Do 2 sets of 12 on each side.
Ramp it up: Add a hop.
Step it back: Try a standing lunge on the ground.
5. MONKEY BAR PULLUPS
The move: Find monkey bars and choose your preferred grip (under- or overhanded), brace your core and pull your chin to hand level. Do two sets of as many pullups as possible.
Ramp it up: Pullups are quite challenging on their own, for a progression, use a wider grip.
Step it back: Choose a lower bar in the playground and keep your feet on the ground. Unload as much weight as needed on your feet as you go through the pullup range of motion.
6. JUNGLE GYM CLIFFHANGERS
The move: Hold onto the edge of the jungle gym (or any piece of playground equipment), lean back, maintain your plank and open your body to the side. Rotating like a cylinder, pull your body back to the starting position. Do two sets of 12 each.
Ramp it up: Choose a steeper angle with your feet to increase the load.
Step it back: Choose a more upright position to unload the weight.
7. LADDER PUSHUPS
The move: Select a ladder height that is challenging but safe for you. Maintaining your perfect plank, bend your elbows just past 90 degrees and return to the starting position. Do two sets of 12.
Ramp it up: Place your feet on the ladder and hands on the ground for a challenging incline press.
Step it back: Select a higher ladder rung or place on the playground for a more upright pushup.