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Top Outdoor Exercises: No Equipment Needed!

Originally Posted: April 17, 2012

Barbara Brenseke

Whenever possible, utilizes outdoor objects such as playgrounds, benches, picnic tables, stairs, and hills. (Courtesy Photo: playmasters.info)

Southampton - It's Spring and there is no better time to start an exercise program - without the need for expensive equipment!

The following exercises are sure to build muscle, burn body fat and leave you sweaty, worn out, and feeling great when it's all over.

When done correctly, a lunge will work every single muscle in your legs. (Courtesy Photo: livesimplechicago.wordpress.com)

Lunges
Like all exercises, lunges should be done with good form. When done correctly, a lunge will work every single muscle in your legs at some point throughout the movement, including the Gluteus Maximus (that's the primary buttocks muscle, for those of you not anatomically inclined).

Variations on lunges that require no equipment include: Split Squats, Alternating Lunges, Elevated Single Leg Lunges, Reverse Lunges and Walking Lunges.

Push-Ups
Push-ups have always been one of the most effective upper body and core exercises, but they have somehow gotten lost in the world of chest press machines and a wide variety of exercise benches. However, the push-up is still an incredibly productive exercise and requires no equipment.

The three basic push-up movements include Standard Grip, Wide Grip, and Close Grip. Alternating those three types will ensure maximal stimulation to the chest, shoulders, and triceps. In addition, you can elevate your hands to make the movement somewhat easier, or elevate your feet to make the movement somewhat harder.

Also, if you are really feeling strong, you can even throw in some Elevated feet push-ups or Plyometric Push-ups with a clap!

When done properly, Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups will humble most people. (Courtesy Photo: exercisegoals.com)

Squats
Many people simply don't understand the incredible power of doing a Squat the correct way. The Squat not only works your glutes, hamstrings and quads, your core is also involved!

Variations including Standing Squats, One-Leg Squats, Plie Squats, Wide-Stance Squats, and Overhead Squats.

Step-Ups
Brutal is the best word to describe this exercise when done properly! Using nothing more than a picnic bench, a piece of playground equipment, or bleachers, you simply step up onto your elevated surface, step down, and then repeat on the other side alternating back and forth.

By keeping your back straight and your head forward throughout the entire movement, you will maximize recruitment of all of your leg muscles, and you will get an incredible cardiovascular workout as well. Go for perfect form and you will quickly see the benefit of this great exercise.

Pull-Ups
The outdoor version of Chin-Ups and Pull-ups can be done using anything from a low-hanging tree branch to any number of different pieces of playground equipment.
When done properly, Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups will humble most people, even avid exercisers. Bring your body up completely until your chin is at or above your hands, and lower back slow to the start under control. Repeat for as many as you can do!

For beginners, start with 10 seconds and gradually increase your time. (Courtesy Photo: fastlosingweightdiets.com)

Planks
Front Plank: Front planks are a great way to work your core (abdominals, hips and back). Start by lying face down on the ground or place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground. Hold this position - focusing on tightening your abs - until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge. For beginners, start with 10 seconds and gradually increase your time. Try to work up to three minutes.

Variation: Side Planks: Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Stack your feet and lift your body off of the ground. Hold this position for as long as you can, switch sides.

Sprints
Run for 30 seconds and walk for one minute - do this 10 times during your outdoor workout.

Variations: Uphill Sprints: Run up a decent size hill as fast as you can, walk back to the bottom, and repeat or run for one minute walk for two minutes.

These exercises can be done anywhere and at any time! Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep the body well hydrated. Lastly, wear loose fitting clothing that contains either cotton or a wicking material so you can stay comfortable.

It is important to include a strength-training component at least twice each week. These are a variety of exercises that can be done outdoors with little or no equipment. Whenever possible, utilizes outdoor objects such as playgrounds, benches, picnic tables, stairs, and hills.



Barbara is the owner of Train For the Game in Bellmore. She is a strength and conditioning coach who works with athletes and people of all ages.


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