Muscle Building on the Playground?

Today’s workout comes courtesy of the local playground,  which is almost as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids.  Now if you don’t have kids, try to get their before anyone shows up, or after.  You don’t want to be that weird guy hanging around a playground full of kids, ewww.  Let’s move on from that visual and imagine for a moment an outdoor gym, gleaming with pull-up bars, horizontal ladders, and (at least in Arizona,) large sharp boulders that belong anywhere but a kids park.  No matter, my kids love to climb them, and it happens to be the only thing (until recently,) that they haven’t hurt themselves on. 

The boulders we’ll leave out for now, that’s another workout.  However the bike racks can function as dip bars, the walls for plyo jumps or step ups, decline push-ups and more.  I know!  Get excited!  Now you can play at the park too!

So let’s go into a little fun run I called the  “(insert name of park here) Sprint” that is a continuous alternating interval workout, if there is such a thing.  If not, then I just made it up, so there.  At the park this was designed for there was a considerable sidewalk space designed around the play area that could be used to jog/sprint/stumble through each lap.  This workout utilizes several of the tools available at the local play set, but feel free to make up your own version:

This workout will consist of 7 laps run non-stop until completion, with the first one a slow jog and easy 1 rep on each exercise to warm up.  The repetition structure is in the “Lucky Seven” format, (outlined in an article of the same name on this blog,) which is done by increasing by the set by one rep each lap. So without further ado:

Lap consists of:

Sprint/jog to first obstacle, bike rack dips:  1 (then 2 on second lap, and 3, etc.)
Short sprint/jog to second obstacle, low wall decline push-ups: 1 (then 2, 3, and so on.)
Sprint to the nearest version of a pull-up bar, playground pull-ups: same as above
Sprint to monkey bars, horizontal bar swinging (i.e. cross the monkey bars just like you see the kids do.)  Same rep structure.
Sprint to low wall or benches, standing jumps with both feet: same rep structure

At this point, jog back to the starting point, and when you reach it, turn around and go at full speed to the first obstacle again, repeat the lap, increasing the reps by one on each lap until you get to seven.

If there are no pull-up bars, or you feel that some medicine balls or sandbags would be more appropriate for a particular workout, go for it.  I’ve also seen  trainers using the TRX suspension trainer hooked up to a bar and a bench overhead shade before also.  Not surprising, since that’s exactly what it was designed for.  Using the TRX will allow you to do body weight rows or one arm ‘pull-to’s’ if there is no pull-up option, pull-ups are too difficult, or you just want to save your hands.

I just can’t give enough love to the designers of the TRX, I’m just partial to highly efficient things that take up so little space.  Now those TRX guys have done it again, coming out with an earthy military beige colored TRX system called the TRX Force.  This is the same super strong TRX, same variety of exercises, but with more anchoring options and additional cutting edge training videos.  This isn’t your health club’s TRX trainer anymore; go to  the link below to check it out:

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