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This article was recently posted to Health Your Way Online
When the weather is beautiful, the last thing we want to do is be cooped up inside any longer than we have to. Step out of the gym and head out to your local park to change up the scenery for your workout.
Walk or jog 5 minutes around the park.
Beginners: 10 reps each exercise for 1-3 circuits, resting 30 seconds between exercises
Intermediate: 15 reps each exercise for 2-3 circuits, resting 15 seconds between exercises
Advanced: 20 reps for each exercise for 3 circuits, no rest between exercises or do 30 seconds of jumping jacks between exercises
1. Platform Pushups
Find a platform like a bench or a step. Place your hands about shoulder width apart on the platform. Keeping the back flat, core tight and hips down, perform a pushup. Make sure the movement comes from the elbow and shoulders – not the hips.
2. Bench Step Ups
Using a bleacher or a bench, step up on to it with your left foot. Use and up, up, down, down cadence. After 30 seconds, switch and step up starting with your right leg.
To get into the plank position, start on elbows and knees, locking hands together. Straighten legs and raise your body so that you’re supported by the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance apart. Face the ground, being careful not to arch your back or stick your hips in the air.
4. Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are very similar to the way walk but include an extra element, the lunge. With your right leg, lunge forward about three feet until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your left knee is nearly touching the floor. Pause momentarily and then repeat the forward motion with your left leg. make this exercise harder, try doing the walking lunges up a hill.
5. Bench Dips
Head back to the park bench and have a seat. Grab the edge of the bench keeping your hands close to your hips. Walk your feet forward slightly until your hips are off of the platform and your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Bending your shoulders and elbows, bring your hips straight down towards the floor. Push yourself back up.
6. Hanging Abs
This one is tough! Hang from the high monkey bars. (Your feet should not be able to touch the ground.) Pull your knees up towards your chest and then lower them back to your starting position. Be sure to keep the movement slow and controlled. This is an ab exercise, so try not to use the momentum and swing the legs.
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Have you ever planned on getting in a great workout, but you have to skip the gym because you just don’t have the time? We are all running late, in a hurry or have something else that we need to be doing but that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your workout. You just have to make the most of the time you have.
Time Your Rest Periods
In between sets or circuits, rest for ONLY the time it takes to catch your breath and feel ready for the next round and not a second more. Playing around on your phone, chatting with your workout buddy and flipping through a magazine will only distract you. Keep your rest breaks short and stay on task. You will be surprised how much time you save.
Unless you are training for a marathon or another endurance sport, there is no reason why you be doing long cardio sessions at a moderate intensity. Kick your cardio up a notch and decrease your workout sessions with interval training. By alternating high intensity bouts of exercise with moderate “recovery” periods, you can burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. One great example is tabata training. Do a high intensity exercise like jump squats as fast as you can with proper form for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this for a total of 4 minutes. According to one study, “It would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise, like a 20-minute brisk walk, to shed the same number of calories that result from a 4-minute Tabata.”
Strength Training and Cardio in One
Why split your cardio and strength training up when you can get them both done at once? Doing exercises that use multiple muscle groups as once in a circuit style with little to no rest between exercises, will raise your heart rate and challenge your muscles. Exercises like pushups, squat presses, lunges with bicep curls will have you breaking a sweat, toning your muscles and out of the gym in no time.
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You don’t need a gym full of weights and machines to get a great full body workout. Using resistance bands can challenge your muscles in a whole new way. And the best thing about resistance bands is that you can do a workout with them anywhere. Here are 3 exercises that will are guaranteed to give you results.
Stand in the middle of the band with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Hold handles at shoulder height, with palms facing forward and elbows bent. Squat like you are about to sit on a chair, keeping knees behind your toes. Stand back up to the starting position and then press your arms directly over your head. Return hands back to shoulder height and repeat sequence. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Reverse Lunge with Bicep Curl
Place the center of the band under the arch of your right foot and hold both handles with the palms facing forward. Lunge backwards with your left foot and perform a bicep curl. Return to start position and repeat for 10-15 reps. Switch legs and repeat.
Crunch with Lat Pulldown
Loop the band around a stable object, like a railing. Lie on your back, gripping the band’s handles with arms extended over head. Raise your legs and bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Crunch your upper body forward while drawing your arms toward your knees. Keep the elbows locked and straight during this movement and maintain a relaxed and neutral position in the neck – do not bring the chin to the chest. Roll back to starting position. Repeat 20 times.
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