Get in Shape This Summer: The Ultimate Outdoor Workout

Confining yourself to exercising at the gym on a gorgeous spring day feels like some form of self-punishment. Even if you manage to snag equipment near the window, it’s still not as enjoyable as actually being outside. Your outdoor options might not be the same as when you opt for your usual facility, but they’re actually less limited than you might think. We chatted with Kim Truman, CPT who specializes in outdoor training, about how you can get in killer shape with nothing more than some open space at your nearest park and she designed a workout to prove it.

Simply enjoying the sun on your face is reason enough to exercise in the fresh air, but doing something different can also benefit your efforts. Truman explained, “Most of us are creatures of habit, and it’s easy to keep doing the same old workout inside a gym.” She added sticking to the same weight routine or long, steady run “can lead to boredom, burnout, and injuries.”

Going for the same type of training program all the time also stalls your progress. Truman recommended switching things up every four to six weeks to keep your body guessing. “Taking your workout outdoors will help add in variety,” she said.

Though there isn’t access to the same weights or cardio machines in a grassy field, you really don’t need all that equipment. “Interval training with cardio and bodyweight resistance exercises is much more challenging and beneficial than many think,” Truman said. See what she means with this heart-pumping, fat-scorching workout.

Warm-up

young man checking time on his wrist watch after running

Male runner checking watch at the park | Source: iStock

Caterpillar walk-out: Begin standing with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart. Bend over and reach out your hands, then slowly walk them out until your body is in a plank position. Reverse the move by carefully walking your hands back toward your feet as you stand up. Repeat for 1 to 2 minutes.

Set 1

man performing push-ups on a dock outside

Man performing push-ups outside | Source: iStock

Sprint cardio challenge: Sprint as fast as you can, keeping your arms and elbows aligned, for 1 minute. Make sure not to let your arms cross over the front of your body as you move. Recover for 20 seconds before going right into the next sprint. Repeat 4 times.

Bodyweight exercises

1. Squats: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your arms extended in front of you or on your hips, sit back, lowering your hips as far downs as you can. Push straight back, squeezing your glutes. Repeat for 1 minute.

2. Push-ups with alternating shoulder taps: Begin in a plank position. Lower yourself toward the ground, then press back to the top to complete a push-up. Hold the plank, then reach your right hand over to tap you left shoulder. Repeat, alternating sides, for 1 minute.

3. Triceps dips: Start by sitting on the ground with your hands shoulder-width apart behind your shoulders. Bend your knees and lift your body and hips so you’re in a tabletop position. Bend your elbows and lower your body down, then push straight back to the top. Repeat for 1 minute.

4. Extended ab crunches: Lay flat on the ground, then crunch as you bring your elbows and knees toward the center of your body. As you lie back, extend your arms and legs. Repeat for 1 minute.

Set 2

close-up of a man's legs as he lunges

Runner stepping into a lunge | Source: iStock

Burpees with high-knee hop cardio challenge: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then squat down, placing your hands on the ground directly underneath your shoulders. Jump both legs back to arrive in a push-up position, then immediately jump your feet back toward your hands. Jump straight up, extending your arms above your head. When you land, go right into the next burpee. Continue for 1 minute, then rest for 20 seconds before beginning another round. Repeat 4 times.

Bodyweight exercises

1. Alternating lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Lunge forward with your right leg until your left knee just about touches the ground, then step your left leg up to meet your right leg. Repeat, alternating sides and walking forward, for 1 minute.

2. Triceps triangle push-ups: Get into a plank position, then position your hands under your chest and create a triangle with your fingers, elbows pointing down. Lower your body down until it’s just above the ground, then press back up. Repeat for 1 minute.

3. Plank mountain climbers: Get into a plank position and slightly bend your elbows. Bring your right knee toward your chest, then kick it back out as you kick your left knee toward your chest. Move at a rapid pace and repeat for 1 minute.

4. Alternating bicycle crunches: Lie on your back with your hands clasped lightly behind your head. Pull your right knee and left elbow in toward the center as you crunch in, release back to the starting position, then alternate so your left knee meets your right elbow. Repeat for 1 minute.

Set 3

man running on a trail outside

Man running outside | Source: iStock

Sprint cardio challenge: Repeat same sprints from first set, alternating 1 minute of sprinting with 20 seconds of rest. Repeat 4 times.

Bodyweight exercises

1. Alternating-leg donkey hops: Start in a plank position, then extend your arms wide, keeping your feet together. Keeping your arms in place, vigorously hop your legs from left to right. Repeat for 1 minute.

2. Leapfrog jumps: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Lower yourself into a partial squat, then swing your arms as you jump both feet forward as far as you can. Repeat for 1 minute.

3. Crab walk: Start face-up on the ground with your knees bent and your arms placed close to your hips. Lift yourself up into a tabletop position, then walk your hands and feet forward, keeping your hips lifted and abs tight, for 30 seconds. Repeat going backwards for 30 seconds.

4. Alternating oblique planks: Get into a plank position on your forearms, then rotate your body as you lift your left arm off the ground. Turn to the side so your weight rests on your right forearm and your left foot, stacking the right foot on top. Your body should form a straight line from your feet to your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side for 30 seconds.

Cool-down

Alternate-side hip lunge stretch: Begin standing with your hips shoulder-width apart. Step your right leg forward into a lunge, letting your left leg stay extended and coming down onto your knee. Allow your hips to open up. Repeat on the other side. Stretch for 1 to 2 minutes.

Sit-down butterfly stretch: Sit on the ground with your knees bent to bring your feet close to your body, soles touching each other. Stretch your arms to the right side and hold. Repeat moving your arms straight in front of you, then out to the left side. Stretch for 1 to 2 minutes.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec

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