Woman doing mountain climbers outside

Five Outside Workouts You Can Do Anywhere to Get Stronger

Sometimes, we need a little variation in our usual exercise plan. You might consider using less equipment to avoid the hassle or working out in the park to get some fresh air. Whether it’s mixing up your workout routine or setting, it’s nice to have a change of pace once in a while. 

If you decide to change up your routine, you may be wondering what sort of exercises you can do to accommodate a new environment and maximize your workout session. To get you started, we’ve outlined a mix of five cardio and bodyweight workouts you can do anywhere outside to build your strength. We've also provided some strategies that are helpful in building muscle.

What Are Bodyweight Exercises?

Bodyweight exercises are strength-training workouts that only use your body weight as resistance. Although these may sound relatively simple, they can become quite challenging when you make the slightest change in the positioning of your body or when you increase the number of reps and sets. With that said, bodyweight workouts are convenient and great for all fitness levels and allow you to enjoy benefits such as:

  • Increased mobility
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased stability
  • Reduced risk of injury

What Are the Best Exercises to Do Outside?

If you want a full bodyweight workout mixed in with a little cardio, these are some exercises that you can do to improve your strength and endurance without the use of a gym!

1. Squat to Overhead Press

Squats are great for toning and strengthening your lower body (especially the quads and glutes). However, if you want to take things to the next level, squatting to an overhead press also targets your upper body (specifically the core, shoulders, and triceps). To do this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band to hold in your hands and place under your feet as you squat.

When you squat, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. As you squat down, stick your butt out as if you are about to sit in a chair. Make sure that your knees don’t extend past your toes. When you stand back up, you should only use your hip and thigh muscles and keep your knees straight.

As you stand into an overhead press, bring your arms over your head and extend them while holding one end of the resistance band; the other end of the band should be stationed under your feet. Make sure your arms are straight as you stand tall and lengthen your back.

If you need a variety of resistance bands to help you train at different fitness levels, you can check out the URBNFit Resistance Band Set that comes with handles, a door anchor, and wrist and ankle straps to optimize your workout wherever you are. 

2. Sprint-starts

One of the most effective ways to increase your heart rate is to add a bit of cardio to your workout routine. As a form of running, sprint-starts are a great way to burn fat and lose weight.

To do sprint-starts, sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then slowly jog or walk for another 30 seconds. You can choose the number of sets to do over a duration of time for this particular workout, but try to aim for five sets of sprint-starts within five minutes. If there’s not much room in your outdoor space to complete this exercise, you can substitute it with burpees or high-knees to keep your heart rate up.

3. Step-ups with Knee Drives

If you’ve got a park bench or steps nearby, you can do step-ups with knee drives to target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. To do this exercise, stand in front of a step or bench and place your right foot on the elevated object. Pump your arms to help push your body up until your right leg is straight and drive your left knee toward your chest. Using your left leg to step back down, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side with your left leg. Continue alternating on each leg. To make this exercise more challenging, you can add a hop as you drive your knee up.

4. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are another great way to get your heart rate up while targeting your core, arms, and legs. To do a mountain climber, start in a plank position; your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your back should be flat. Drive your right knee into your chest and then alternate with your left one. Try to do this exercise as fast as you can while keeping your hips parallel to the ground.

5. Push-ups

Push-ups target your upper body and can be modified for different fitness levels. If you’re a beginner, you can do them on your knees. However, for standard push-ups, start in a plank position with your arms straight and palms pressed flat on the ground (or any flat surface). Lower your upper body until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. Then, raise your upper body back to the starting position without locking your arms.

If you want to make this exercise even more challenging, you can add in a resistance band!

Man doing pushups for an outside workout

Can You Build Muscle Mass With Bodyweight Exercises?

Absolutely! Bodyweight workouts seem pretty simple, but there are always ways to increase the intensity and difficulty of exercises. When you make your workouts more challenging, you’re well on your way to building more muscle and reaching your fitness goal(s). Below are some ways to modify your exercise habits to help achieve your ideal muscle mass with bodyweight exercises.

  • Increase the number of reps
  • Decrease rest time in between sets
  • Perform variations of exercises — for example, knee push-ups vs. standard push-ups
  • Train to failure — make sure to maintain good form and give your body enough rest time and recovery to avoid injuries

Five Convenient Outside Workout Ideas To Get Stronger: Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for workouts to do outside because you want a change of pace in your routine, be sure to give some of these exercises a try. Even if some are challenging for you, there are always ways to modify them.

The important thing to remember is to do a workout program that’s best for you regardless of what fitness level you are at. Whether or not you decide to do a mix of cardio and strength training or even stretching to improve flexibility and mobility, any activity is better than none!

Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee

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