It’s that time of year again, when the weather warms up enough to take your workouts outdoors. And what better time than springtime to head to your favorite local, picturesque park for an exhilarating outdoor workout? The following body-weight exercises can be conducted at almost any park, and will help get, and keep, you in shape.
Note: Carry out these exercises three to four times per week for optimal results.
Pushups on a Park Bench (pectoral muscles)
- With your feet on the ground, and your body vertical to the bench at a 45-degree angle, place your hands shoulder width apart on the bench.
- Gradually lower your body –as you work to keep gravity from doing all the work—to a few inches away from the bench. Then, push off and raise your body upwards until your arms are almost locked.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 10 reps, or as many possible, even if it’s just a few. Just keep working at It over time.
Tricep Dips (tricep muscles)
- Place your hands behind you.
- Lower yourself while keeping your elbows in.
- Don’t go too far down, pass the point in which you’re comprising you shoulders.
- Push yourself back up while keeping the focus on your triceps.
- Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps, or as many as you can do, with 45 seconds of rest in between sets.
Pull ups/Chin ups (biceps and back muscles)
This can be a little difficult to perform for woman without much upper body strength. However, it’s worth giving it a shot, even if you can only accomplish one pullup. As your biceps and back, along with other parts of your upper body, develop more strength, you’ll be able to knockoff more reps.
Note: You can ask a friend or workout partner to spot you with a little lift for extra reps.
- Find monkey bars or any overhead bar.
- With your palms facing outward, place your arms a little bit apart from your shoulders, and then pull yourself up, with your chin reaching the bar.
- Make sure you place the focus on using your latissimus dorsi muscles to execute the exercise, not your arms. This will come once you get stronger.
- Like I mentioned before, perform as many as possible.
- As for chin-ups, just reverse your grip, with your palms facing you. This exercise should be easier to complete, as you’ll be engaging more of your biceps in order to execute the move.
Jump squats (quadriceps and calves)
This exercise will help you develop explosive leg strength, good for sports that require quick, sudden jumping movements, such as in volleyball and basketball.
- With your hands at your sides, preform a deep knee bend.
- Then, from there, jump as high as you can with your hands extended in the air.
- Make sure you land flat on your feet, as to avoid injuring your ankles.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 20 reps, with 30-40 seconds of rest in between sets.
- As you progress, you can jump up on a flat surface such as a park bench, and work your way up to higher elevations.
Crunches and Back Extensions (Abdominals and Lower Back Muscles)
No training program would be complete without strengthening these particular core muscles, as they are the foundation for a strong body. However, you are required to lay on the floor for these exercises, so you might get a little dirty. But you can bring a yoga mat if you prefer to stay clean.
Crunches (rectus abdominals)
- Lie supine (on your back), and clasp your arms behind your head, without pulling on your head as to avoid injuring your neck.
- Slowly curl your torso toward your knees, bringing your shoulders four to six inches off the ground (don’t sit up, though).
- Hold for a second while pressing your lower back into the mat.
- Return to the starting position.
- Perform slow, smooth and evenly; it’s not a race.
- Do 5-7 sets of 20-25 reps, with 30 seconds of rest in between sets.
Back Extensions (Erector Spinae)
After performing crunches, this exercise will work the antagonist (opposite) muscles of the abdominal area, the erector spinae, located in the lower back.
- Lie on your stomach (prone), with your arms by your side, with your hands on the floor for support.
- Slowly raise your torso until you feel those muscles in the small of your back contracting (you may want to slightly push off with your hands in order to maximize the exercise).
- Hold for a few seconds, while tightening your lower back, and then slowly return to the starting position.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps, with 30 seconds of rest in between sets.
Running or Power Walking
No workout would be complete without some form of aerobic activity such as running, powerwalking or rope jumping. Remember: the key is to raise your heart in whatever activity you choose.
To improve overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). 30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience cardio benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.
However, due to induvial time constraints, three times a week at appropriate intensities will suffice.
This is how you calculate your target Heart Rate:
When you first wake up in the morning, before coffee or a meal, take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side. Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by six to find your resting beats per minute. You want to stay between 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age. This range is your target heart rate.
Written by Jerry Del Priore for Bodono.
Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College in 1991. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams.
Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, which encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what!
Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Jerry is also a Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews.
In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments.