Penny Mulholland

Personal Trainer

5 ‘Naked’ Fitness Exercises to do in your Local Park!

Spontaneity! That’s one of the greatest things about training outdoors. OK so by naked we don’t mean literally, we strip away the fitness fads and swop a gym for a park! Think about using objects in a park to jump over, run to or even hang upside against. Forget what passers by think it’s all part of the fun and, well, they’re probably secretly admiring you for doing what they don’t dare!

At the Naked Trainer we tailor movements and intensity to the seasons. Rather than fight the weather, we embrace it as another energizing element of exercising outdoors. During the colder months we love to add spurts of running and jumping into our training to keep us warm and energized. When the temperature warms up we make the movements more challenging and strength based taking more rest between sets.

Here are 5 of our favourite things to do outside which when put together, make for a punchy little workout that should leave you breathless but more importantly moving better.

Sprint Starts

These are a great way to develop glute (butt) and quad (thigh) strength while challenging your midline and balance.

Begin with one leg forward, the other back. Make sure your chest is up and your whole front foot is in contact with the ground. Drive into the front foot as you drive the back leg up and through to a high knee position. Return to your start position and repeat. 8-10 reps per leg is an excellent range. Aim for 3-6 sets of these with some of the other movements.

 

pike push up - 5 great exercises for your local park

Pike Push-ups

A different spin on the traditional push-up that allows you to develop solid shoulder strength as well as work your triceps (back of your arms). A really good way to build stability for handstands too!

Keep your hips high and your legs straight. Draw your belly button and keep your mid-section tight. Drive the crown of your head forward into the space just in front of your hands, sending your elbows back towards your body rather than flaring them out to the sides. Steve has a ‘little flare’ to his elbows but that’s OK, we made him do burpees as a penalty once we’d finished with him.

pike push up - 5 great exercises for your local park

 

The Bulgarian Split Squat

This challenges your mobility and your balance but is an excellent way to unilaterally (one side at a time) work your quads and glutes and build on weaknesses you may have on one side compared to the other.

Find yourself a bench and balance your back foot on the bench. You will need to make sure your back leg is hip width apart from the front leg otherwise you will find this a very wobbly movement! Make sure you keep your torso upright and bring your front leg far enough to form a nice right angle with your shin and thigh in the full squat as you can see in the pic. Again 3-6 sets of 8-10 reps each leg coupled with one of our shoulder or mid-line movements is a good start.

bulgarian - 5 great exercises for your local park

 

Aleknas

Aleknas are to be done slowly while maintaining a stable trunk so make sure you only move your legs and arms as far as you can without compensating by ‘popping’ your spine off the grass.

Lie on your back, head down and with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Stay active in your arms as if reaching to an imaginary wall then extend your arms and legs out simultaneously until they are close to the grass but not touching. If you feel your lower back pulling or coming off the floor, you’ve gone too far for your current ability so on the next rep stop a little higher.

aleknas - 5 great exercises for your local park

 

Bug crawls

Bug crawls are an amazing ab workout and really work the upper part of your thighs too.

Get into a flat back position with your knees directly under your hips.  Imagine you have a tray of drinks (tea or martinis!) on your back that you don’t want to spill.  As you crawl forward lead with the opposite arm to leg.  Here you can see me reaching out with my left arm (I’m nearest in the photo!) and right leg in the second pic. Try building up from 5metres out and back to 10 and maybe 15metres out and back.  At each end you could go for a set of Aleknas.  If you imagine a big X on your back that pulls your opposite leg forward as your arm moves it should help your coordination.  And remember don’t spill the drinks!

aleknas - 5 great exercises for your local park

 

Penny is a personal trainer at the Naked Trainer  with business partner Gerry in Teddington.