How to Strength Train Outdoors
Summer is almost here and for many us that may mean that we are less inclined to spend hours inside a gym working out when we would rather be outside soaking up the sun. But as athletes, we know that even in the summer, we can’t slack on our strength training programs, which is why we’ve come up with three tips to help you get in an effective strength training workout outside with minimal to no equipment.
1. Perform bodyweight exercises
As an experienced weightlifter and skilled athlete, you might think that bodyweight exercises are beneath you and that you won’t be able to effectively target your muscles without adding on the heavy weights, but we are here to tell you that sometimes taking a step back and performing bodyweight exercises can actually help you progress as an athlete.
With bodyweight exercises, you have two options to get the most effective workouts. First, you can modify each exercise to make it slower and more controlled and really focus on contracting each muscle required as you progress through the movement. You can even take it step farther and include static holds. For example, when performing a bodyweight squat, ensure that the lowering portion of the movement takes 5 seconds, then hold in the squat position for 5 seconds, before slowly standing back up to the starting position. Throughout the entire movement, ensure that you are focussing on engaging your quads and glutes. This method can be applied to all bodyweight exercises to increase the difficulty.
The second option is to challenge your cardiovascular system by performing a HIIT routine with bodyweight exercises. These will be faster movements and your goal will be to elevate your heart rate and feel the burn in your muscles.
2. Use what you find around you
Whether you are working out in your backyard, a park, or near a playground, there will likely be equipment around you that you can use to help with your strength training. For example, you could build an entire workout around a park bench and include exercises such as tricep dips, feet elevated push ups, bench jumps, leg lifts, or bench hops.
If you find yourself near a playground, use the monkey bars for pull up variations and hanging ab exercises, such as leg raises. The swing set can also be used as a TRX substitute. You will be able to modify most exercises that you perform on the TRX to be able to do on a swing set instead. Try putting your feet on the swings and performing glute bridges or flipping around and working your abs by pulling your feet in towards your chest.
3. Bring equipment with you
If you feel like you won’t be able to get in an effective workout without added weights, don’t worry, you can still bring your workout outside. You will just need to bring some equipment with you. Grab one set of dumbbells or one kettlebell and build your entire workout around that piece of equipment.
Another great option is to bring exercises bands with you. These are easier to carry and will increase the challenge of each exercise. Some great banded exercises include, in and out band walks, side band walk, and banded push ups.
Don’t miss out on the beautiful summer weather because you are stuck in the gym. Get creative with your workouts, challenge your body in new ways, and strength train outdoors.