Training outdoors can be fun, easy, and great for your health and wellbeing. Whether you’re basking in the rays of the sunshine, soaking up your daily dose of vitamin D or training in the rain building resilience, training outdoors releases those feel-good endorphins leaving you feeling empowered and equipped to take on the daily stresses!
It also doesn't matter where you train, using your environment can offer many different types of workouts. You could upgrade those legs with some hill sprints (or reverse hill runs), use park fixtures like benches, rocks or play equipment to create your own obstacle course.
To help you create your own workout, here are a few tips that I use when designing my own bodyweight workouts for classes and clients. Knowing a few variables like fitness level and what you’re looking to achieve is all you need to create a simple and effective workout, using nothing but your own bodyweight outdoors.
The Workout Format
When thinking of great workouts, you want it to be fast, effective, and full body, building whole body strength and fitness. As you put together your session, think of 3 exercises you love with 2-3 exercises you love to hate. These exercises might challenge you and may be something you're yet to master, hence, will benefit you greatly by adding those movements into the mix.
Now let's think about timing, how long we're looking to work for and how much rest we might need depending on your current fitness level. Keep in mind the intensity of each exercise too and how we might stagger each of our challenging movements into the mix.
Start With Stretching
Firstly, you need to loosen the body up. If you've been sitting a lot throughout the week, you might want to open the hips up, here is my warmup plan:
- Hip flexor stretch on both sides (45-60 seconds each side)
- Child’s pose for a shoulder, hip and thoracic stretch (30 seconds)
- Strider stretches with t-spine rotation to open up the hips, chest and back (5 each side)
- Cossack squat to lengthen out the adductors, hips, knees and ankles (6 each side)
- Finish with 20 seconds of star jumps with 10 seconds of fast feet x3 to raise the heart rate, preparing you for the workout ahead.
Now we'll ramp up the pace during the main outdoor workout block: 40 seconds each exercise, no rest between exercises (to build some grit and stamina) and 40 seconds jog or optional rest between rounds
- Frog squats
- Hand release push-ups
- 4 scissors + 2 jump lunges
- Bear crawls
- Reverse burpees
(5 rounds = 20 minutes)
Explanation Of Each Exercise
Frog squats: This is a great exercise for strengthening the legs and connective tissue in your knees whilst improving hip, knee, and ankle mobility. Sit in the bottom of a deep squat and place your elbows on the inside of your knees with your hands meeting together in the middle. Keeping that elbow/knee contact, extend the hips, straightening the legs as far as you can then return to the bottom of the deep squat.
Hand release push-ups: Focusing on strength development in the chest, shoulders, triceps and core, the hand release push-up enables you to build strength in these areas from the bottom range of the push-up to the top. Lie down on your chest with your hands underneath your shoulders. With your core and glutes engaged, push, and lift your body off the ground up onto your toes and hands. Return to the ground with your control.
V-snaps: Lying on the ground with hands above your head, raise your legs using your hip flexors and torso using your abs, synchronising your upper and lower body, aim to touch your toes with both hands, then return back to the ground with control.
4 scissors + 2 jump lunges: A great exercise for both building agility and strength in the legs, whilst getting that heart rate going. Perform four jumping scissors with the legs, then two deep jump lunges.
Bear crawls: The name doesn't leave much to the imagination. Moving the entire body, bear crawls main muscle group targets include the shoulders, chest and back, glutes, quads and core. Start in the quadruped position with your hands under your shoulders, your knees under your hips and raised off the ground. Walking on your hands and feet, crawl forward and backwards with the aim of keeping your knees off the ground for the working interval.
Reverse burpee: This exercise like the burpee, will work your whole body and coordination, targeting the abs, legs and mobility. Starting in a standing position, rocking back to the ground into a sit-up, then rock forward again, using momentum to stand back up, finishing with the traditional burpee jump and clap overhead.
Finished the workout with full body static stretches to keep your body limber, minimising any chance of injury and tightening up throughout the day.
- Couch stretch: a great stretch to lengthen out the quads and open up the hips (60-90 seconds each side)
- Pike with side bend: similar to a downward dog pose in yoga, this stretch lengthens out the hamstrings and obliques with the side bend and lower back (60 seconds each side)
- Scorpion: A great stretch for the chest, shoulders, hips as well as lengthening out fascia (30 seconds each side x2)
I hope that provides some confidence when developing your next outdoor workout so you can continue staying fit, strong, and healthy wherever you are!
Tim is one of Virgin Active's senior trainers at Frenchs Forest on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Specialising in strength & conditioning & HIIT group exercise, Tim has been motivating, encouraging, and building member's fitness levels for almost a decade now. His passion is helping people achieve their potential, typically in the world of sports and adventure races. People can do amazing things, all you need is a dream, a desire and Tim will help you make it happen.
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