Top 10 Exercises for Outdoor Workouts
So with all of this wonderful summer weather, all I can think about is working out outside. And while I love hiking and biking and sprinting and stand up paddling as my outdoor “workouts,” I also do enjoy doing more “traditional” workouts outside.
And while basically any bodyweight move can be done outside, here are my 10 favorite moves to do because they are super challenging with only body weight. Some do require a bit of “equipment”…aka playgrounds or possibly stairs…or comfy grass…but all don’t require any additional weights.
Outdoor Workout Moves:
- Monkey Bars – So the monkey bars aren’t a move really, but they are a wonderful tool for any outdoor workout. I love to do pull ups off of them or even just swing across them. You can even do a pull up hold on them. (We have numerous different ways to use the Monkey Bars in the video below.)
- Knees to elbows or Skin the Cats – A great way to work your core, grip strength and upper body. You even work your quads and hips doing either knees to elbows or Skin the Cats. With these two moves, you hang from the monkey bars. With knees to elbows, you simply tuck your knees up to your elbows. You will need to pull up a bit with your arms and lean back to truly get your knees and elbows to connect. With Skin the Cats, you will actually bring your legs up and through your hands. You will then straighten your legs and reach your toes to the ground before coming back and up through your arms to return to the starting position.
- Crawling – So many people are embarrassed to crawl, but it truly is one of the freaking best moves out there for full body strength. Plus it is a great way to get in a bit of cardio. You can crawl forwards and backwards. Or side to side. Or even in circles. You can do bear crawls, table top crawls, crab crawls or even my new favorite…GORILLA crawls!
- Push ups – So outdoors you can do incline push ups off a bench (so hands on the bench) if you can’t do a full push up yet. Or you can do them from your knees. Or flat on the ground. Or you can even make them harder by elevating your feet to do a decline variation. Check out the video below with for some different push up variations!
- Stair sprints – Climbing stairs sucks in general. But if you want climbing stairs even harder, do it quickly. Sprint up the stairs or try even taking them to at a time. There is nothing worse/better than running stadiums! (And if you don’t have stairs but instead have a really big hill…Well that will do too! Hill sprints or even sprints in the sand are another way to up the intensity of your sprints. And each have different added benefits! Like extra glute work…)
- Bench jumps – So if you are a beginner, you may want to start with bodyweight squats or even jump squats. But if you done some jumping, you can make the move harder by jumping up onto a bench or piece of playground equipment. You can do forward jumps, lateral jumps or even rotational jumps up to the bench! To make them easier, step down after jumping up. To make them harder, perform them as quickly as possible!
- Bench step ups – Step ups are another great way to work the booty without any weight and without laying on the grass to perform glute bridges (I get a bit too itchy when I lay on the grass when I’m super sweaty so prefer to save my glute bridges for inside). You can use a bench or steps or anything that is a challenging height. The higher it is the more challenging it will be. Make sure though that you aren’t compensating as you step up by pressing down on your other leg with your hands or by pushing yourself up with the foot planted on the ground instead of just using the foot on top of the box. To make this move harder, you can also make it plyometric. So instead of just stepping up, powerfully step up so that you actually jump up a bit off of the box. You can either stay on one side with this move or alternate legs. You can also perform both variations of the step ups laterally!
- Swing/Bench balance lunge – So set up in a lunge position with your back foot up on a bench or a swing (the swing will be tougher). Lunge down toward the ground and return to the starting position. Make sure that as you lunge, your front knee is not going over your front toe and that your front foot stays firmly planted on the ground with the heel down. Keep your chest up tall and don’t lean forward. You actually almost want to “sit back” while performing this move. You should also feel a nice stretch in the hip and down the quad of the back leg
- Swing knee tucks – So set up in a push up position, with your feet up in the swing. You are then going to tuck your knees into your chest, controlling your legs in and out. This is a more advanced move. If you find it to challenging and feel it in your low back, start with mountain climbers on the ground. You can also progress this move by doing a pike tuck (bring your feet in toward your head keeping your legs straight) instead of bending your knees to bring them into your chest.
- Pole/Rope/Swing Climb – So this move can be made into either a vertical or horizontal pull. To do a horizontal pull, you can set up on the pole, rope or swing chain like you are planning to do an inverted row. You will then walk hand over hand to pull your chest up to the pole, swing or rope before lowering yourself back down. Or you can kneel at the bottom with your hands on the pole or rope or swing chain. You can then climb up to the top of the pole before sliding back down. Either way you do it, you are in for a challenge!
Runners up: So while there are a ton of other bodyweight moves I love, like split squat jumps and sit thrus…the only other move I was tempted to put on here was jump rope…I love jumping rope. I feel like a little kid again when I do it!
Anyway, here are some other great moves that Ryan and I did a few summers ago on the playground to help get you motivated to workout outdoors this summer!
The good, the bad and the simply stupid
So I’m not trying to brag, but I feel better after 16 hours of spin than I do after one of my own tough 30 minute lifts.
Honestly, no muscles are sore or even really tight. The ONLY pain I have besides a slightly bruised crouch is one knee that doesn’t like going up and down stairs too much.
Be it the ice bath, my diet with no gluten or my workouts (or all three combined), I feel perfectly normal today…just like I do after any other week of working out.
Anyway, all I can say is you definitely don’t need to carb load with crap gels and gluten to survive endurance cardio!
- Ice baths are amazing! They really do aid in muscle recovery. AND Tim Ferriss has done the research, and found the science to prove that ice baths may also help you lose fat!
- Get a healthy dose of Vitamin D! This just shows how important going out in the sun is! We all fear skin cancer, but some sun is good! And of course if you can’t get sun, you can always take a supplement! BUT anyone else seem to feel WAY BETTER when they’ve gotten some sun? I definitely do!
- Cool?!? Good news for me I guess! What do you think?
- I’m glad the FDA didn’t let them call high fructose corn syrup “corn sugar!”
- Thank you Therese for taking up the challenge of trying something new! Great job with the monkey bars!
- Our Jump Rope Slide is done!
- Caffeine is not an alternative to sleep people! I’ve seen too many people over the last couple of days guzzle down espresso shots and Red Bull rather than sleeping enough. I know it is hard to get enough sleep sometimes, but seriously nothing is more important! Your body recovers and rebuilds when you sleep!!! So stop drinking your Starbucks bazillion shot coffees and Red Bulls and instead go to bed!
The Simply Stupid
- Is this really an article on WebMD?
- There is this girl on Fiverr.com saying she can give you flat abs in 3 days. How are people this stupid!?!
- This honestly sounds like something a client has said to me at some point…
And lastly, Happy Father’s Day people! All you Dad’s out there who are reading this…you better be supporting your women and making sure they lift heavy!!!
The good, the bad and the simply stupid
- Vin Goat is a wonderful little shop that carries artisan and farmstead cheese and cupboard essentials. They also host lectures each weekend about their products. The other weekend Ryan’s parents went to a lecture by Anne Willan, a founder of a famous French cooking school among other culinary achievements. In her talk, Anne Willan supported the use of raw milk to make cheese (saying it made the cheese better!) AND talked about cooking with butter or lard NOT vegetable oil. All in all her lecture was apparently a Primal/Paleo eaters dream. Glad to know there are people out there supporting the consumption of raw milk and fat!
- Here is a little preview of a jump rope video Ryan is helping me making for the Under Armour Challenge. It was also part of my “do something new” workout challenge for this weekend. I’m by no means an awesome jump rope-er so this was definitely a challenge! If you want to do your own jump rope slide and send it to me, I’ll add it to the video!
- Coconut oil is about as close to a magical health pill as you get. Fat-a-phobs shy away from this oil because it contains saturated fat, but what they don’t realize is that the “saturated fat” in coconut oil is a form known as lauric acid, which has been proven to protect your heart by reducing total cholesterol and enhancing HDL cholesterol levels. Even Dr. Oz says so….WOW something he is right about!
- I like dried fruit as a treat on occasion. BUT you have to be very careful when purchasing dried fruit as many have added ingredients. Actually I was surprised by how many WEREN’T simply dried fruit when I was at Trader Joe’s. It actually is more difficult than you think to find pure dried fruit. Next time you buy dried fruit make sure you are getting exactly what you want! Read the ingredients list!
- Just another reason to take medicine! NOT! Common painkillers tied to lower skin cancer risk! Ok but to get the benefit you must take these medicines in large quantities. BUT the large quantities have proven health risks. “The drugs have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer and come with known bleeding risks.” So here we have an article telling our population to take painkillers to reduce their risk of skin cancer but we still don’t know if the benefits of taking large quantities of the medicine are worth the risks that have already been linked to the drugs…Hmmm…I think I’ll pass on the painkillers…
- Every time I think Paleo/Primal is becoming more accepted I see stupid articles like this one on IndyStar.com. I can’t believe a dietitian claimed that the diet is not only low carb but also lacking in some vitamins and minerals. Uhm hello!?! When you stop wasting calories on grains, you eat more fruits and vegetables…So how can the diet be “lacking?” If it is lacking in vitamins and minerals, than what word do we use to describe the average American’s diet…Non-existant in vitamins and minerals!?! (Ok I know that doesn’t work…but hopefully you get my point.)
The Simply Stupid
- Dennis, Ryan’s brother, sent this to him. Definitely a healthy breakfast…NOT!
Ok this isn’t simply stupid…It is actually awesome…