Why should you take your workout outside?  If finally hitting double digits isn’t reason enough…

  1. You don’t need equipment if you don’t have any.
  2. If you want equipment, just open your eyes.  With grass or sand, you’ve got a good start.  Rope, rocks, trees, playground equipment, stairs, curbs… inspirations are all around you.  By the way, the next time you see a picnic table, think step ups and push ups!
  3. Time-saving, since you don’t have to drive anywhere!  Use your own backyard or walk to the park.
  4. On vacation?  No problem!  Whether you’re at the cottage, campsite or beach you can get a workout in.
  5. You can wear whatever you want!  Who says you can’t train in your lawn-cutting shorts!  And make-up? Yeah right!
  6. Free dose of vitamin D!
  7. Two words:  Fresh air.  Go ahead… take a deep breath and feel how great it is!

If you missed my Muskoka workout, it’s in the blog archive.  I will be re-filming it this summer since my camera messed it up last summer!  It’s a great full-body strength and cardio workout that I did in Muskoka in my parents back yard with a granite rock, some rope, a picnic bench and a Muskoka chair.  If anyone is heading on vacation before the video is posted, ask me in class for a demo of the exercises.

My Top 5 Outdoor Strength Training Exercises… that can be way harder than you think!


Why:  They work every single muscle in the legs when you do them correctly.  I’m all about maximizing output in the time I spend training.  There are also tons of options so boredom isn’t a factor:  stationary, reverse, alternating, jumping, curtsy, walking…  Depending on the variation you choose, these can be a fantastic cardiovascular workout as well.

Chin Ups and Pull Ups

Pine Tree Pull ups 2Why:  I find them next to impossible, that’s why!  Seriously, these are the best bodyweight upper body strength exercises, no doubt.  Push ups are great (and also made this list) but I find that the back of our bodies is often neglected and needs more work to create a balanced body and correct posture.  I do modified chin ups and pull ups at the park down my street because there are bars which let my feet still touch the ground.  For anyone who is a chin up master, jump up to a bar that won’t let your legs help you!  For even more challenge, grab a bar that is extra-thick compared with the usual kind.  Trust me – it’s waaaaayyy harder.   Last summer, I was away without any bars around so I grabbed a piece of rope and did bodywieight rows in place of my pull ups (pictured).

Step ups

Why:  Because they are B.R.U.T.A.L when done with strict form.  Anything that works the glutes this hard should be high on your list of exercises to do.  You can use a boulder, stairs, a picnic bench or piece of playground equipment to give you your desired elevation.  To maximize muscle recruitment, drive through your front leg’s heel, keep your back leg straight, posture tall and core engaged.  Put this one in the “also a killer for cardio” category along with your lunges.

Push ups

picnic push up 1Why: They are an incredible upper body exercise that targets the chest, shoulders and triceps.  Try different variations to challenge different muscles.  Try them close grip, wide grip, standard grip, one arm (wish I could!), circling, traveling, and with feet (harder) or hands (easier) elevated.


picnic split squat 2Why:  Because the squat is “The King of All Exercises”!  If you think this one’s an easy one, think again and reacquaint yourself with proper form.  Just like lunges, there are dozens of squat variations once you’ve mastered the Basic:  plié/sumo, Bulgarian split (pictured), one-legged, jump, wide stance, narrow stance, 180-degree jump, circle…

Later this month, I’m posting a Backyard Blast Workout with a video link that will feature some of these exercises and incorporate some of the versions you may not have tried.  Stay tuned!