Leave the Treadmills for the Hamsters and Take Your Training Outdoors

Tired of training in the gym, moving from machine to machine?  Not getting the results you want? Put on a few pounds over the winter?  Training outdoors may be the solution to getting over the winter blues and fast-tracking your fitness program for outstanding results.  For many, when training outdoors is suggested the first thing that comes to mind is jogging.  Let me be clear jogging is not what I am suggesting.  Instead, what I am recommending is (for those who’ve consulted with and been cleared by a physician) cross training.  Integrating strength and cardio training outside can be a great workout and no equipment is necessary.  Just think bodyweight exercises.  Alternating various types of pushups, squats, pull-ups, lunges, core exercises, and sprinting can provide you with the challenge your body needs and that your mind has been looking for.  Just string together 4, 5, 6, or up to 10 exercises together to create a fun and challenging circuit.  You can perform this type of workout in your back yard, at the high school track, the playground, or your local park.  Your park may even have a fitness course already laid out in the form of an outdoor circuit.

“Wait a second, did you say, training without equipment?”  Can’t do a pushup on the ground; try elevating your hands on a bench to make it a little easier.  You can use that same bench to also perform a variety of step-ups, triceps dips, and 1-leg squats for example.  If pushups on the ground are too easy try elevating your feet on that bench.  Want a great back workout; try performing either chin-ups (closer grip palms facing in) or pull-ups (wider grip palms facing out) on the monkey bars/jungle gym.  Your children’s playground probably has all of the equipment you need to challenge your strength, endurance, and balance.  Yes, I said balance.  Include some balance training as an active rest period in between circuits.

Want to get that heart rate up even higher?  Earlier I mentioned sprinting; why not add a series of 10-20 yard sprints in at the end of each circuit.  Advanced exercisers may also want to include some plyometrics otherwise known as jump training to improve power.  Anyone who has ever performed any plyometric training will tell you that it is one tough workout that also gets the heart rate going.

“But Jason, I like equipment.”  You know what’s fun?  Throwing stuff.  A medicine ball is great tool for outdoor training. You can use it to add resistance to your bodyweight exercises, but you can also throw it for a great upper body/total body plyometric workout, not to mention stress reliever.  No monkey bars or jungle gym for pulling movements, tubing with handles or “super bands” are great alternatives to perform a variety of pulling movements.

The opportunities for a great outdoor workout are abundant.  I have only scratched the surface with ideas on types of movements and ways of organizing a workout.  Like any workout a good plan is essential; so if you need help don’t hesitate to contact me jason@trainwithj.com

Most of us would agree that we don’t want to look like a hamster; so why train like one?  The warm weather has arrived! Get off your treadmill and get outside.

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