Did you know you can use your local playground as an alternative workout area?
The usual way to get a decent daily workout is to join a gym so you can pound the cardio machines and lift weights. But you don’t need fancy machines, bulky equipment and an expensive monthly membership fee to keep fit. With a bit of lateral thinking, and the help of your local park and playground, you can put together a bodyweight workout that will challenge your fitness.
To help you get started, here’s a 10-step playground workout that will work the upper body, lower body and core muscles. Aim to do three sets of each exercise with at least 10 repetitions for each movement. You can always add more sets if you want more of a challenge.
Now, let’s get started!
Begin with a warm-up
First thing’s first, it’s vital to warm your body up with some light jogging or brisk walking. A few laps of the park or public space you’re working out in will do – this will help prevent injuries and allow you to work harder during the session.
If you want to add a pure cardio element to the playground workout, you can always jog, power walk or cycle there.
1. Upper body - chin-ups/pull-ups
Monkey bars, flying foxes, swinging bridges – playgrounds have scores of metal bars that are perfect for bodyweight workouts.
To perform a chin-up, place your hands shoulder width apart with your palms facing outward on the bar. Raise your body up in a steady motion and then lower back down. A pull-up is the same motion, but with the palm grip facing inward.
If you can’t do either easily, you can build up strength by beginning at the top of the motion then slowly lowering down.
2. Upper body - incline push-ups
Find a park bench and lower yourself into a push-up position and place your feet on the edge of the seat – your legs should be at a higher angle with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. This position allows a larger range of motion and will challenge your strength.
3. Upper body - bench push-ups
If the incline is too much, switch the angle by placing your hands on the bench then walking a few steps back. Tuck your elbows to your side, then lower down to the bench and push back up – that’s one!
4. Upper body - bench triceps dip
Sit on the bench’s edge and place your hands right beside your hips on either side. Lift your backside up and walk your legs a few feet out, then lower your body down, bending your arms at the elbows up and down to complete the movement.
5. Lower body - jump-ups
Find a park bench and set yourself a few feet away from the edge of the seat. Place yourself in an athletic position, then jump up and land on the bench and then jump back off, landing softly. This move will test your muscle power and get your heart pumping – just be careful to jump cleanly!
6. Lower body - bench lunges
Stand in front of the bench and place one foot behind you on the seat with the other on the ground facing forward. Lower steadily, performing a backwards lunge. Alternate your legs to complete a set.
7. Lower body – toe taps
This one will get your heart racing. Stand in front of a park bench and tap your feet alternatively on the edge of the seat – a mix between running in place and high stepping.
8. Core strength – knee tucks
Find a swing and get into a plank position with your feet suspended from the swing’s seat. Pull your knees toward your chest, then stretch them out again, slow and steady.
9. Core strength – alternating swing plank
Still using the swing, place your hands on the seat and lower into an elevated plank position. Holding this pose, lift one leg and then the other with feet flexed. Continue for 60 seconds with good form.
10. Core strength – bench bicycles
Sit horizontally across the park bench with your palms behind your back and your legs out in front. Lean back and pedal your legs in a whisking motion for 60 seconds.
So there you have it, a full playground workout using your bodyweight, a park bench, a swing and some monkey bars. It’s free, it’s easy to do and best of all you get outside for some fresh air. For an exercise program tailored to your personal goals and fitness, contact your nearest Back In Motion practice and get personal training from one of our qualified physios.