Monday, June 8, 2009

11 Best Playground Movements For Real World Strength!

"You will never reach your potential if you stay in the cozy confines of your gym." - Dan John

There is just something about taking some basic, primitive equipment (or no equipment) and heading out to a field or park and just working hard for 30-45 minutes. Even Arnold used to take a barbell set out to the woods and do endless sets of squats, rows, or presses. Too many people get caught up in all of the hype of magazines and the internet, think way too much, and just don't know how to work hard.

You don't need alot of equipment - if any at all! In fact, your best gym might be down the road at your local playground! With various monkey bars, parallel bars, park benches and more - the playground is the ultimate training facility! You can certainly take along a kettle bell or two, or maybe some bands and a sandbag, but for this article I'm going to give away the best body weight only movements that can be done at just about any playground. For improving general physical preparedness and work capacity, the playground should be your new hang out zone. Don't worry about perfect programming or using percentages that don't matter in the real world.

Just go out, have some fun, and sweat buckets! So here they are, the best of the best in playground training...

Monkeying Around:

1) Regular Pull Ups and Chin Ups - using an overhand, underhand, or neutral grips. Close, Wide, Medium - whatever - just do em!

2) Lateral Pull Ups
Starting on one end of the bar, perform one pull up, slide your hands down to the left or right, perform another pull up - stop 1 rep shy of failure

3) Monkey Bar Walks w/Pull Ups
Perform 5-10 pull ups, monkey your down to the other side, perform 5-10 pull ups

4) Hanging Abdominal Work
Windshield wipers, Leg Raises, Scissor Kicks, Knees to Elbows can be done as a complex, by themselves, or in combination with pull ups (1 windshield wiper + 1 pull up = 1 "rep"). Brutal on the core, grip, and lats!

Push Ups Of All Kinds:

5) Incline Push Ups
These can be done with your feet on a park bench, or a harder variation - feet on a picnic table or even higher surface.

6) Lateral Walking Push Ups
For core and upper body strength, these will humble anybody pretty quickly! Begin with your feet on a bench all the way to the right or left, do 1 push up, then "walk" one step, do another push up, and continue for sets of 8-15 (might have to go 3-5 steps to the left, 3-5 to the right with shorter benches)

Parallel Bars

7) Parallel Bar Dips
Dips are a great upper body strength and size builder, everyone should have a goal of being able to do 20 unassisted reps!

8) Parallel Bar Leg Raise + Dip
Pefrom One Leg Raise followed by one dip and repeat for reps

9) Parallel Bar Rotational Leg Raises
Raise your legs up and over one side of the parallel bars and repeat to the other side for reps....these are super tough!

The Lower body:

10) Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps
Set up as if performing a bulgarian split squat with your back foot elevated on a park bench, drop down to a full split squat and explode back up. Repeat for sets of 8 per leg

11) Single Leg Squats
Standing with one leg on a park bench, squat down using your arms to counter balance and stand back up. Sets of 5 are a good start, but once you get the groove down, hit up sets of 15-20 or more!


Some Posterior Chain Pain!

Hip Pops off a Park Bench:
For some hamstring torture, lay on your back with your heels on a park bench and legs bent at 90 degrees. Using your glutes and hamstrings, raise your hips to the sky and pause before lowering back to the ground. Try these with two legs or single leg, or a mix of both! Throw in some long isometric pauses mixed with short, fast timed sets for variety!

There you have it, a bunch of upper body, lower body, and core variations to keep challenging yourself and build some muscle while having some fun outdoors!


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