According to a recent New York Times article, gyms are starting to look more like indoor playgrounds with jungle gym looking equipment, sand bags, and ropes for example. As the article states, “This type of training known as functional fitness is ‘far more bang for your buck’ because it works multiple muscles simultaneously, providing better overall strength and mobility, and a higher calorie burn.”
At this time of year, why not get out on a real playground and get in a fun and functional workout? Whether with a friend or perhaps while your kids run around, here are some playground exercises for you to try.
Pullups: Monkey bars are perfect for pullups, the ultimate test of upper-body strength. Using three different grips changes the emphasis on your upper-body pulling muscles: An underhand grip emphasizes your biceps and an overhand grip targets your back and rear shoulders. If you need assistance (I do!) bring the ever popular superband with you and hook it up to the monkey bars.
Swings: What’s more fun? Lateral raises and overhead presses or swinging on the monkey bars? Clearly the monkey bars! Simply swinging from one end to the other will work your shoulders, lats, and arm strength. No dumbbells (or boredom) required.
Related: Circuits You Can Do With Your Kids
Decline Pushups: Who needs a suspension trainer when you can use a swing to preform decline pushups? Begin in a push-up position with your hands on the ground and your feet on top of the seat of a swing. Bend your elbows and lower your body to the ground and then push back up. Keep your core contracted and back stable.
Ab Tucks: Once again, begin in a pushup position with your hands on the ground and your feet on top of the seat of a swing. Keeping your core tight and your lower back stable, and bring your knees toward your chest, contract your abs, and then shoot them back out.
The Jungle Gym
Box jumps: Find an elevated step or platform to use. Squat/ jump up onto the platform while bending your knees and exploding up in a plyometric move. If you are a beginner, start practicing squats on the ground. These awesome moves target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes!
Split Squats: You could do walking lunges around the playground, or you could do a more effective version that’ll get more work done in less time. The constant tension on the working leg during Bulgarian Split Squats gives this exercise an edge over your everyday lunge. Start with one foot on a park bench, and, keeping your torso contracted and upright, lower yourself down like you’re doing a traditional lunge. You can go as low as your body allows but make sure your front knee doesn’t go past your front foot.
Have you ever worked out on the playground before? What moves have you tried? Share below!