Holiday season hasn’t even started but we’ve been lucky with the weather, having had real summer weather for over a month now. It’s only normal that more people take their workouts outdoors to enjoy the nice weather and make the most out of the sun while they can.
The main reasons I am running outdoors group sessions every year is because working out outdoors has plenty of benefits besides the usual effects of staying active. Your immune system will get a kick from being surrounded by nature, you’ll get access to a burst of Vitamin D by spending more time in the sun, your body will release more feel-good hormones and you will have a better chance to burn more calories. If you are a runner you’ll find that the variety in scenery outdoors will keep you going longer and often faster too.
Many gym goer clients or even online coaching clients admit that they don’t know how to make their outdoor workouts more interesting and challenging. Here’s a shortlist of exercises you can include, that will challenge your body in a different way and keep your session interesting.
1. Jumping Pull-Ups
These pull-ups are an excellent alternative to pull-ups if you don’t have enough strength to pull yourself up just yet. Find a somewhat horizontal branch or a playground with outdoor high bars. Stand underneath and use your legs to jump up, catch and grip the branch and use the momentum of your body to pull your chin above it. Engage your back muscles and lower yourself back down slowly to strengthen your back and core.
2. Bench Push-Up
Depending on your current upper body strength, you can use the bench to place your hands, or your feet on and perform elevated (less challenging) or decline (harder) push-ups for repetitions. You can make the exercise harder by adding a squat thrust between press-ups, jumping your feet towards your elbows then back into starting position.
3. Box Squat Jumps
Sit on the edge of a bench to start. Using your arms to create momentum jump up as high in the air as high you can, then land and squat back down. Focus on making your landing as soft as possible; toes, ball of the feet, mid-feet and finally heel touching the ground in this order. This exercise will raise your heart rate in no time and is great for improving your stamina.
4. Single Leg Squats or Pistol Squats
Feel free to use a bench if you are not flexible or strong enough to do without aid yet. Sit on the edge of the bench with one leg bent at the knee as you would when preparing for a squat. The other leg is straight, and either is lifted off the floor or the heel only just touches the ground for support. Stand up on the bent leg digging the heel into the ground and squeezing your butt. Repeat the exercise on each side and notice your legs and bum getting stronger week by week.
5. Bear Crawls and Friends
Any kind of crawls or walks on two or four limbs will help you become stronger, improve your coordination and boost your fitness levels. The Bear Crawl starts from a plank position. Move your opposite leg and arm forward at the same time while keeping your hips as low as you can. The Crab Walk also starts from a plank position by stepping side-ways with the arm and leg moving at the same time.
Feel free to try these exercises the next time you are out and do let me know how you found them. If you have questions about how to structure your workouts to help you achieve your fitness goals or on any other aspects of fitness, feel free to get in touch.
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My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.