Take Your Fitness Outside: Park Workout Routine

park workout


Reason number 426 why we love summer: You can take your workout outdoors (and stop slogging through another hour on the elliptical). But if going for a long run isn't your thing, you can still break a sweat in the sunshine by trying some butt-kicking DIY moves. "If you want to torch calories, gain definition, and keep your metabolism up after your workout is done, then you need to use your whole body," says Ariane Hundt, creator of Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp.

Ariane created this dynamic HIIT park workout for ACTIVE readers. This plan is no day in the park—Hundt mixes cardio with strength training moves to build muscle and burn body fat. Do it 2 to 3 times per week for serious results.

More: 7-Minute Jump Rope Circuit for Core Strength

Park Exercises

Your local park offers a range of opportunities for a great workout that you may not even notice. Try out these exercises, then put them all together for a great outdoor workout.

Park Exercise 1: Park Bench Push-Ups

How to: Place your hands on a bench. Keep your shoulders above your hands and brace your core. Bring your chest to the bench, then press back up until your arms are locked out.

Tip: Don’t let your elbows flare out. Act like you’re squeezing lemons with your armpits to help you keep them close to your midline.

Park Exercise 2: Park Bench Mountain Climbers

How to: Set-up the same way you did for the push-ups, with your hand on the bench and shoulders stacked over your hands. Keeping your arms straight and core tight, drive your knees towards your elbows in a running motion. If you want more of a cardio focus, go for speed. If you want more of a muscle burn, slow it down and focus on control.

Tip: Bringing your left knee to your left elbow and your right knee to your right elbow will help you with core stability and work your rectus abdominis, as well as your transversus abdominis. Bringing your opposite knee to your opposite elbow will work more of your oblique muscles, which run along the sides of the rectus abdominis.

Park Exercise 3: Wall Sits

How to: Sit with your back against a big tree, placing your legs at a 90 degree angle. Hold this position, squeezing your glutes and thighs. Try not to rest your hands on your thighs.

Tip: Focus on pulling your belly button towards your spine. Press your back against the tree and keep your chest up, controlling your breathing.

Park Exercise 4: Squat Jumps

How to: Start in a squat position. Push the ground away and explode upward, jumping as high as you can. Land back in your initial squat position. Use your arms for power.

Tip: Use the squat position to load your legs for the jump. Focus on a quick and powerful hip extension to get yourself off the ground.

Park Exercise 5: Squat Thrusts

How to: Jump up high, then jump back into a plank position, keeping your feet together and your core strong.

Park Exercise 6: Star Jumps

How to: Jump up so your arms reach up and your legs open wide like a 5-point star. Land in a squat and repeat.

Tip: If you’re having trouble extending both your arms and legs, focus on one or the other. Do a few reps extending your arms, and a few extending only your legs.

Park Exercise 7: Step-Ups

How to: Step up on a bench with your right leg, then left. Step down with your right leg first, then left. Start the next rep with your left leg.

Park Exercise 8: Tap-Ups

How to: Place your right leg up on a bench and bend it deeply. Tap your left leg on the bench and then back on the floor. This fatigues your right thigh very quickly.

Tip: Hold onto the back of the bench for support.

Park Exercise 9: Tree Squeeze

How to: Sit in front of the tree with the tree trunk between your feet. Lift both legs up about 10 inches off the floor and squeeze the tree trunk with both feet for 20 seconds as hard as you can. This is one of the best ways to firm your inner thighs and your lower abs are working hard as well.

Tip: The wider the tree, the harder this exercise! Start small.

Park Exercise 10: Planks

How to: Get into a push up position with both arms fully extended. Keeping your arms locked out, squeeze your belly button to your spine and hold. Keep your lats and midline engaged for the duration of the plank and make sure your hips don’t sag.

Tip: If you want to focus more on core stability and less on upper body strength, try a forearm plank. Keep your hands separated and don’t clasp them together.

The Park Workout Routine

Time to put it all together! Warm up by running or jog to your favorite park, then find a spot with a bench and some trees.

Set 1

  • 10 push-ups with hands on the bench
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 10 push-ups with your hands close together
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 10 push-ups with hands on the ground and feet on the bench
  • 30 slow mountain climber crossovers (left knee to right elbow, right knee to left elbow)
  • Run/jog for 3 minutes

Set 2

  • Wall sit: Hold for 1 minute, squeezing your glutes and thighs.
  • 20 squat jumps
  • Wall sit: Hold for 45 seconds
  • 20 squat thrusts
  • Wall sit: Hold for 30 seconds
  • 20 star jumps
  • Run/jog for 3 minutes to the next park bench.

More: Plyometric Training: 5 Moves That Really Burn Calories

Set 3

  • 20 step-ups: Step up onto the bench with your right leg.
  • 30 tap-ups: Keep your right leg up on the bench and bend it deeply. With your left leg you tap on the bench and then back on the floor. This fatigues your right thigh very quickly. Hold on to the back of the bench.
  • 20 step-ups onto your right leg.
  • Switch to the left leg and complete all 3 exercises
  • Run/jog for 3 minutes.

Set 4

  • Tree squeeze: Hold for 20 seconds
  • Plank: Hold for 1 minute
  • Tree squeeze: Hold for 30 seconds
  • Plank: Hold for 1 minute
  • Tree squeeze: Hold for 30 seconds
  • Plank: Hold for 1 minute

More: 30-Day Plank Challenge

Sprint Finish

Finish your workout with a sprint sequence. Sprint for 30 seconds with all-out effort and recover with 30 seconds of a slow jog. Repeat 5 times total.

Cool-Down

Finish with a slower-paced jog back home to cool-down.

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Park Workout FAQs


Can I workout on a playground?

Sure! There are many ways to get in an outdoor workout without having to pay an expensive gym membership. Playgrounds and parks offer lots of versatile equipment that you can utilize to get a bodyweight workout.

What is the best outdoor exercise for weight loss?

Cardio exercises take the cake when it comes to weight loss. Try jumping rope, riding a bike, power walking, or even hula hooping if you hate the idea of running.

What are bench dips for?

Bench dips are great for triceps, chest, and shoulder strength. These are easy to perform on a park bench and it doesn’t take many reps to feel the burn.

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