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Going Gymless

Improve your size and conditioning with these two outdoor workouts.

Training outside just feels good. The skin soaks up vitamin D, there’s fresh air to breathe and great scenery (when compared to your gym, usually). Moving beyond the constraints of the gym also emits a certain freedom that barbells bid lifters to forget. Psychological benefits abound with training under the sun but folks get outside and exercise confusion sets in. What is there to do without a gym full of ‘bells and benches? Use the body as its own ‘bell and train with these two, effective outdoor bodyweight workouts.

Upper-Body Muscle-Builder

Take a trip to the local playground—the bench and the monkey bars are the only equipment needed. Utilizing time under tension and high upper-body volume, this workout is designed to build muscle.

Plyo push-ups are performed with the hands on the bench. Start in traditional push-up position followed by a rapid descent then an explosive ascent that propels the upper-body into the air while the feet stay on the ground. Reset between each rep.

The aptly-named 10-second push-ups require a five-second lowering phase followed by a five-second hold in the down push-up position and is finished with a powerful press to the up push-up position. That cycle completes one rep. After completing your five reps, dive right into the second half of the superset with pull-ups.

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The 5-second pull-ups are performed by pulling into the up pull-up position as normal, then taking a full five seconds to lower yourself into the start position. That completes one rep. If pulling to the up position after the lowering becomes too difficult, jump to the top position and complete the five-second lowering.

Density push-ups and pull-ups are simple. Complete as many of each as possible during the two-minute time limit while resting as needed. It’s smart, however, to avoid fatigue. Take breaks before muscle burn persuades a stop. Log your completed reps and use that as your benchmark to shoot for, or eclipse, the next time you perform this workout.

Lower-Body Conditioning

This lower-body circuit is designed to improve leg muscular endurance while burning fat. Within the circuit are mini exercise supersets that pair a jumping exercise with a bodyweight strength exercise done in the same movement plane. Complete each mini complex, rest for one minute before moving on to the next. Finish the circuit, rest for three minutes and then repeat. Hit this circuit three to five times.

No Gym, No Problem

Using simple strategies like slow reps, density training and plyometric/bodyweight strength complexes, the body becomes the perfect training equipment. Get outside, get free of the gym and use the body as a barbell.