Ditch the Gym With These 5 Outdoor Exercises

By Marnie Duncan

Sometimes a little change of scenery will help you find the motivation you need to get through your workout. Next time your head outside for a run or walk, try these 5 moves in a nearby park. All you need is a swing set, bench or picnic table to get a total body workout.

*photography by Molly Winters; tutorial and demonstration by Marnie Duncan of MOD Fitness; outfitting by Outdoor Voices

Swing Pike + Knee Tuck

Swings are a great alternative for suspension training. This move is one of our favorites to target your abdominals and upper body. The trick is to press the top of your feet into the swing seat to help lift your hips in the air.

  1. Start by placing the top of your feet in the swing seat and your hands on the ground shoulder width apart in a straight arm plank position.
  2. Lift your hips up into the air to form an upside down V (also known as a “pike”).
  3. Contract your abdominals and bring your knees to your chest while maintaining a flat back.
  4. Extend your legs straight back to a pike position. Lower your body back to a straight arm plank position for 1 rep. Repeat this core exercise 10x.

Bench Jumps

Find a bench that can be used as an alternative for box jumps. Make sure it’s not too high so you can successfully clear it. This will target your legs, glutes and calves in this exercise.

  1. Stand in front of a bench or picnic table. Start with your feet slightly outside your hips in a squat position and arms shoulder height.
  2. Jump up on the bench by accelerating from your lower body. Land in a deep squat position. Your back should be flat and hamstrings parallel to the ground.
  3. Extend your legs straight to a standing position with your shoulders, hips and feet in alignment. Press your arms down by your hips to complete 1 rep. Slowly step down from the bench and repeat 10x.

One Legged Bench Lunges

Bench lunges are a great way to isolate one leg and target your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.

  1. Start by standing in front of a bench or picnic table. Make sure it’s not too high otherwise you will put too much pressure on your lower back.
  2. Step your right leg back and place the top of your foot on the bench with your hands on your hips for balance.
  3. Bend your knees and lower into a lunge. Make sure your front knee is in line with your ankle for optimal alignment.
  4. Extend your legs straight for 1 rep. Repeat 10x on one side and switch sides.

Lateral Jumps with Jump Rope

Jumping rope is a great way to boost your heart rate for an added dose of cardio in your workout routine. Adding the lateral jumps will help improve your ankle and foot stability.

  1. Start jump roping to get your rhythm.
  2. Begin to move your feet side to side (laterally) while jumping over the rope, keeping your thighs together.
  3. The trick is to keep your steps small so the rope doesn’t get caught.
  4. Jump rope for 2 minutes. Take a 30 second break and repeat 4x.

Reverse Tricep Bench Dips

We spend time in every class at MOD Fitness toning arms. We like to target the triceps because it’s the largest muscle group in your upper arm and one of the first places we start to see a change in our clients. This is a great exercise to do anywhere — on the edge of your bed, a bench or even on the ground.

  1. Find a bench or picnic table and take a seat. Place your hands on the edge of the bench with your feet on the ground hips width apart. Extend your arms straight and shift your seat off of the bench. Walk your feet forward so they are under your knees. Your shoulders should be pressed down away from your ears and abdominals pulled in.
  2. Raise your right leg off the ground and extend your leg straight at the diagonal.
  3. Bend your elbows to engage your triceps and pull your knee towards your chest by bending your knee.
  4. Extend your arms and leg straight at the same time for 1 rep. Do 10 reps with your right leg and switch sides.