Spring is Here: Try This Workout Outdoors
You Don't Need a Gym To Keep Fit on the Road
We may still have a cold day or two ahead of us this spring, the brunt of winter is behind us. That means we can slowly emerge from hibernation and begin to spend more time outdoors. With the weather changing, take your workout outdoors with this fun and simple exercise plan.
Requiring minimal equipment, this outdoor workout is designed to do anytime and anywhere. Whether you want to pop out of your RV door and workout at the campsite, or you’d rather head over to your local park, this workout travels extremely well.
Note: This article represents a suggested workout plan. Everyone may add or decrease the suggested number of repetitions per exercise based on their fitness level and comfort with the exercise. We also advocate working out with an experienced partner or trainer who can help you perfect your technique if you’re not familiar with any of these exercises. Consult with your physician before trying new exercise routines.
Get Warmed Up
First, start with a light warmup. The goal here is to increase your heart rate from its resting state before you jump right into these exercises. I recommend beginning your outdoor workout with 5 to 10 minutes of fast-paced walking, jogging, jump rope, or jumping jacks to raise your heart rate and prepare your body for what’s to come.
Mountain Climbers (and/or Mountain Climbers with Twist)
It all starts in the core, and it’s hard to be in great shape if you don’t take care of your core muscles. That’s why I think the most logical place to start your outdoor workout is with a core exercise. It heats up the body and prepares you to initiate movement from a strong and supported place.
Mountain climbers can be done in two ways. Start by lowering yourself onto all fours and then raise your knees off the ground so that you’re in a plank position.
From here, you’ll bring one knee up at a time as if you’re running or (ahem!) climbing a mountain. The goal should be to bring your knees up as high as possible. But keep in mind that speed isn’t necessarily the goal of this exercise. You want to make sure you’re engaging your core and crunching your abdomen every time you bring a knee up.
For an added challenge, you can do mountain climbers with a twist. Instead of bringing your knees straight up towards your elbows, bring them up with a slight twist so that you’re almost touching your knee to the inside of your opposite elbow.
- Exercise: Mountain Climbers, controlled and engaging the core
- Reps: 30-60 seconds
Side Lunge Plus Knee Lift
After igniting the core, move on to a lower body workout.
Start by standing straight with your feet together and your hands at the center of your chest in a prayer position. Then step your right foot out into a lunge position and bend into that knee. Bend deep enough into that knee to feel your quad, hamstring, and glute engage, but don’t bend so far that your glute drops past the top of your knee.
Then step your feet back together and bring that same knee up to your hip before setting your foot back on the ground. Proceed to step the opposite foot out, bend into that knee, bring your foot back in, raise your knee up to your hips, and drop your foot again. Repeat this 10 times on each side.
- Exercise: Side Lunge with a Knee Lift
- Reps: Repeat 10 times each side.
Park Bench Dips
Work your upper body with a park bench, picnic table, or set of stairs, which you can usually find at most campgrounds.
For dips, sit on the bench with your legs straight out in front of you. Bring your hands down onto the bench next to your hips. Face your fingers forward towards your feet and then lift your hips up and forward so that your hands and arms are supporting the full weight of your upper body.
From here, lower your body weight down until your upper arms are almost parallel to the ground. You don’t want to dip down too far to put too much strain on your triceps, however. And if you’re new to this exercise, it’s okay to dip down only a few inches as you start to build strength.
- Exercise: Tricep dips
- Reps: 10-15 dips to start out. Increase you sets as you build strength.
Park Bench Push-Ups
After your set of dips, stand up and turn around so that your bench is right in front of your knees. Reach down and set our hands on the bench. Your hands should be spaced just wider than the width of your shoulders. Now walk your feet out behind you until you are in a push up position.
This push-up is a slight variation because you’ll be at an angle (as opposed to being flat on the ground). This makes them slightly easier than traditional push-ups, but if they are too challenging when you’re starting out, you can always come down to the ground and drop your knees down into an assisted push-up position.
To keep things even, we previously explained. This will help you get an even workout for your biceps, pectorals, triceps, and shoulders.
- Exercise: Park Bench Push Ups
- Reps: Try to do as many push-ups per set as you did for the dip exercise
Once you’ve completed your workout, make sure you take some time to cool down your muscles before you hop back into your car or climb into your RV to continue your day. I recommend walking for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down. This is a great opportunity to focus on your breath.
Walk at a moderate pace while you focus on deep inhalations and full and complete exhalations. This will help your heart rate drop back down towards its resting rate and will also begin the recovery process for your muscle without them immediately beginning to tense and tighten after they’ve been strained.
Once again, keep in mind that these exercises can easily be turned into a circuit. If you keep the number of reps per set down to a minimum when you’re just starting out, you should be able to do at least three sets for a full spring workout.
You can even work in an extra set of cardio between your core, upper body, and lower body exercises to create an even more dynamic circuit. Just remember that you should always adequately warm up before a workout and cool down afterward.
In addition, we highly recommend stretching after your workout is complete. This five-minute stretching routine that everyone needs will provide some additional guidance if you’re not sure where to start with keeping your muscles pliable for the coming summer full of outdoor adventures!