Suns Out Guns Out: Outdoor Workout Circuit
It’s mid-July, and the sun is shining, but you know you should head to the gym and get your workout in. How can you justify spending time in an air-conditioned box when the sunshine is beating down, and the smell of a fleeting summer is in the air? You don’t have to! Take your workout outside! Not only will you still benefit from being active, but a 2011 study suggests that an outdoor workout is associated with a greater decrease in tension, anger, and depression when compared to an indoor activity. Now you can have your cake and eat it too (theoretically).
Not sure where to start with an outdoor workout? We have you covered. You can take this workout “to-go” and head out to your favorite outdoor space and still get your workout in.
Before you get to the workout remember to warm up. A warm up serves a dual purpose: firstly, to enhance performance by increasing blood flow to the skeletal muscle and secondly, to prevent injury. It’s always best to incorporate exercises and movements that use the same joints and muscles as those in your workout. We recommend a combination of cardiovascular exercises to increase heart rate and blood flow and dynamic stretching. Think walking lunges, body weight squats, arm circles and high knees for example.
Outdoor Workout Circuit:
Perform the following outdoor workout circuit without rest between exercises. Once you’ve completed each exercise set once, rest for 1 minute and then repeat 2-3 times depending on fitness level.
- Jump Squat – 20 reps
Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Keep the weight over the heel of your foot and don’t let your knees come forward over your toes when you sit back into the squat position. Remain explosive in every rep and keep the knees soft when landing to avoid excess strain on the knee joint.
- Walking Lunges – 20 reps (10/side)
Like squats, it is important to keep both knees at a 90-degree angle in the bottom position of your lunge. When looking down you should be able to see your toes past your knee – if not, chances are you need to adjust your position and shift your weight back, so your knee isn’t flexing forward. Focus on coming straight down into your lunge, rather than transferring the weight forward into your front leg.
- Mountain Climber – 40 reps (20/side)
Starting in a plank position, alternating feet, knees to chest. It is important to keep your shoulders stacked over your wrist and maintain intensity and speed from the beginning to the end of this exercise.
- Push Ups – 12 reps
Starting in a plank position, be sure that you’re creating a nice straight line with your back and your legs (keep your core engaged and your butt tucked down) Hands should be stacked underneath your shoulders, lower yourself to the floor and back up into the starting position. Keep your eyes looking forward in front of you to avoid craning your neck. Option to complete push ups from the knees or an incline off the edge of a park bench if this exercise needs to be modified.
- Burpees – 10 reps
Full burpees. Start with a vertical jump with hands extended overhead. Coming down into a plank position, lowering into a push-up, back up, jumping the feet forward to meet the hands and then returning to a standing position. Option to eliminate the push up at the bottom and step back into plank and forward rather than jumping to make this killer exercise a little easier.
- Bulgarian Squat (split squat off park bench or step) 20 reps (10/side)
The same rules apply for this exercise as any squat or lunge. Place your back foot on the edge of the bench. Start with a narrower stance than you would expect. If your front foot is too far forward, you’ll put excess strain on the back hip capsule and hip flexors. Again, lower straight down into the squat, not forward and keep both knees at a 90-degree angle at the bottom position.
- Tuck Jumps – 10 reps
Starting with feet hip width apart, complete a vertical jump while tucking your knees to your chest. Keep your knees soft on landing to protect your ankle, knee, and hip joint.
- Planking Glute Kickback – 20 reps (10 reps/side)
Starting in a plank position, lift one foot from the floor and kick it up behind you as far as you can toward the earth behind you. Engage your glutes and pause at the top before bringing your knee down and towards your chest tucking your leg underneath you. Repeat all reps on one side before switching.
Now you may be wondering why these exercises? Why not tricep dips or sit ups? Plyometric compound exercises give you the greatest bang for your buck – or your time. Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups and burn more calories. Movements like squats and push ups are great functional strength movements that target a large amount of muscle. These and others transfer to make everyday life activities easier. Movements like lunges, squats, and planking glute kick backs can also increase joint mobility and core stability. Plyometric body weight movements are meant to be explosive and powerful! Work with intensity and purpose to get the full benefit out of these short but tough workouts! Need an added challenge? Add a resistance band to any of these exercises to make them more advanced.