After a brutal winter, it’s only natural to want to get outside and enjoy warmer weather. Unfortunately, most workouts take place inside gyms or training facilities. That’s why many athletes skip their workouts when the sun comes calling.
But workouts should not be limited to indoors. You can add several simple workouts to your routine to train outside, enjoy the weather and add new challenges to your program. Next time you dread heading to the gym, try one of the outdoor workouts below.
Work Out in the Sand
“I am a huge advocate of sand workouts,” says Alan Stein, owner of Stronger Team and strength coach for the DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Maryland) boy’s basketball team. “Everything in sand is 10 times harder than on land.”
You can do nearly all of your movement-based exercises on sand, but here’s a sample program from Stein.
Find a Hill
Hill Sprints build stride power because running up a hill is more difficult than running on flat land. According to Tony Bonvechio, owner of Bonvec Strength, a hill is also a simple and effective tool for fat loss. “Pick a hill, sprint up it, walk back down and repeat to get shredded,” he says.
Repeat the hill workout twice per week. After you complete four weeks, increase the distance by 10 yards.
- Week 1 – 30 yards x 10 (60 sec rest)
- Week 2 – 30 yards x 10 (50 sec rest)
- Week 3 – 30 yards x 10 (40 sec rest)
- Week 4 – 30 yards x 10 (30 sec rest)
- Week 5 – 40 yards x 10 (60 sec rest)
Train Like a Strongman
Next time you want to move some heavyweight, try Strongman exercises outdoors. “These will improve your strength and break up your regular routine,” says Rick Scarpulla, owner of Ultimate Advantage Training. “They don’t call these drills ‘weak man’ exercises. They’ll make you bull strong.”
Set up a sled, a pair of dumbbells and a heavy tire outside.
- Sled Drag – 3-4×50-60 yards
- Sled Backward Pull – 3-4×50-60 yards
- Farmer’s Walks – 3-4×50-60 yards
- Tire Flips – 5×8
- Core circuit: Leg Raises, Weighted Sit-Ups, Plank Variations – 4×20-25 each exercise (30 seconds for Plank Variation)
Tape on the Driveway
You may not have access to sand or strongman equipment. Even a hill may be hard to find in some locations. But you certainly can find a driveway and a few lengths of tape. Duane Carlisle, director of sports performance at Purdue University, created this simple driveway workout to improve your footwork, agility and coordination.
Position two pieces of tape to form a cross in your driveway.
Sets/Duration: 2×5-10 seconds each drill
Simulate an Obstacle Course
The great outdoors offers lots of opportunities to pair speed and endurance exercises with strength workouts to add a new twist to your training. To prepare his body for obstacle course races, Reebok Spartan racer Hunter McIntyre performs the circuit below, which requires strength, endurance and overall athleticism.
- Burpees x 5
- Double Kettlebell Cleans x 10
- Sprint x 100 meters
- Repeat 3-5 times
Stair conditioning workouts look pretty simple—you run up and down the stairs. However, the University of California softball team has a plan that improves speed, footwork and conditioning.
Walk back down the stairs after each set.
- One step each stair – 2×40 stairs
- One step every other stair – 2×40 stairs
- Two steps each stair – 2×14 stairs leading with each foot
- Four steps each stair – 2×8 stairs lead with each foot
- Carioca – 2×40 stairs each direction
- Shuffle – 2×12 stairs each direction
- Double-leg, one-stair hop – 2×10 stairs
- Double-leg, two-stair hop – 2×20 stairs
- Double-leg, three-stair hop – 1×40 stairs
- Double-leg, four-stair hip – 1×40 stairs
- Sprint – 2-5×40 stairs
Note: If you don’t have access to a stadium or a full set of stairs, simply add more sets so you can climb the same total number of stairs.
Bring Your Home Gym Outdoors
The workouts above are great, but you are by no means limited to specific outdoor workouts. Next time you work out at home, bring your weights outside to take advantage of the balmy weather.