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{Workout Wednesday} Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

By Jill Jacobs

I have very active boys. While they love their electronic games, they tend to prefer the outdoors if it’s anywhere close to a nice day. My oldest can turn any activity into a competition with his buddies, and my youngest is obsessed with pull ups and jumping rope lately. It’s fun to this side benefit of working out at home; my kids *want* to get involved and be active too.

Here is my youngest programming his own workout. 🙂

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

We have a park about 1/2 mile from our house as well as a few playgrounds within our neighborhood. I confess that taking them to play at a park is NOT at the top of my list of desirable things to do (after all, we have a perfectly good yard and cul-de-sac!), but when I do, I like to use that time wisely.

If the boys are entertained with each other or friends (and don’t need me), then I use the time to read, catch up with a girlfriend or family member on the phone, or fit in a playground workout!

There are so many exercises you can do on or near a playground. I’ve put together a workout below that will help you get started thinking about ways to use your local playground to exercise. This is family fitness at its best!

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

With your children in your view, of course, start by warming up a bit by jogging around or in place, doing some butt kicks, jumping jacks, and any other dynamic exercise. Then, clock in for a specific amount of time. I think 20 minutes is perfect, but if you only have 10 minutes then clock in for 10 minutes! Never, ever, ever allow perfect or ideal to be the enemy of good!

Once you’re warmed up, start your clock and go:

  1. 1-5 Pull Ups or 15-30 second Flexed Arm Hang on the Monkey Bars – If you can perform pull-ups, using the monkey bars is a great way to fit in a set. If you can’t, jump up to the bar and hold a flexed arm position for as long as you can. You want your chest to the bar with your shoulders back and down. I suggest 15-30 seconds but do what you can even if it’s less or more. Also, letting yourself down slowly is a great way to build pull-up strength. This is called a negative pull-up.
  2. Stationary Reverse Lunges – You could do forward walking lunges around the perimeter of the playground, but I find that reverse lunges are better on the knees (at least for me!).
  3. 5-10 Push Ups – You can adjust push ups to your ability by changing the position used and/or number of reps. Choose any position from incline, to standard, to decline if you’re advanced. For incline and decline, find a park bench, ladder rung, or any elevated surface.
  4. 20 + Mountain Climbers – Staying in plank position after your push-ups, perform 20+ mountain climbers.
  5. 10 right/10 left Step Ups on a park bench, the bottom of a slide, or another stable surface – If you can find a place for step ups, these will work your booty!
  6. Sprint 20-40 yards* (On a hill if available) – Here is some more info on sprint training.

Repeat the circuit until your time is up!

*If you don’t have a place to sprint, do 20 squat jumps instead. 

There are so many more exercises you could perform on a playground including burpees, squat jumps, split squats (using a park bench for your back foot), box jumps onto a bench, any core work if you take a yoga mat or a have nice grassy area, hanging leg or knee raises (on the monkey bars), crossing the monkey bars, swinging with your child, pushing your child on a swing (especially vigorously on a tire swing!), inverted rows on a low bar, pike push ups with your feet in a swing, any type of crawling exercises, not to mention all you could do with a suspension system like TRX! The sky is the limit. 🙂

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

The most important thing is to enjoy your time with your kids. The added benefits are exposing them to the outdoors and showing them how important exercise is to you!

Families that play together, stay together. 🙂

xo -Jill

 

 

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