Here at Intersport we’re aware that there are many different ways to get active and strong, and plenty of these don’t involve going to the gym. For those without gym access, or who simply prefer to use their garden or local park to get moving, we have compiled a list of some of the most effective muscle building exercises which can be done nearly anywhere, with little or no equipment.
The great thing is that some of the parks where you are already doing parkrun have outdoor gyms, making it really easy to fit in a few strengthening exercises before or after your weekly 5K. Alternatively, a tree, bench or piece of clear ground will often suffice. Plus you get the added bonus of fresh air and nature, which can only be a good thing! A stronger body makes for a stronger runner, so you’ll likely see your running performance improve as you add a few strengthening exercises to your routine – so here’s how!
No equipment: just you and the ground
The ultimate practical outdoor training, these workout routines can be done anywhere with enough ground space.
An under-rated strength building exercise, the press up is fantastic for increasing the strength of the chest, triceps and frontal deltoids. If the standard press up becomes too easy, mastering the diamond and one-armed press up will likely keep you busy for years to come.
A staple of nearly any strength programme, variations of the squat can be done without any weights during your outdoor fitness routine. Starting with the bodyweight squat, progress up to a full, one-legged squat to develop powerful quads and glutes.
A lesser-known exercise, the L-sit is a gymnastic move involving sitting in an L position, then holding yourself up with your arms – while maintaining the L position. Because this is harder than it may sound, we recommend trying this abdomen-focused exercise first with only leg elevated, or with your knees tucked against your torso.
Minimal equipment: the outdoors is your gym
When training outdoors, simple things such as a sturdy bar, a pair of gymnastic rings or a suspension trainer hung from a stable tree branch (or in your park’s outdoor gym) can open up many options for muscle-building exercises.
It is no secret: the pull-up is one of the best exercises for the back and biceps, and it can be done in nearly any park or where there is simply a sturdy overhead object to grip. Although the standard pull-up can be a feat in itself, progressing to a one-arm pull-up can be a lifelong journey for many. The Australian pull-up variation is also worth exploring.
These are static, whole body exercises which involve hanging with straight arms, traditionally from a bar or rings, and holding your body straight and horizontal. This can be done either face down (back lever) or face up (front lever). Since the full versions of these exercises are very difficult, we recommend starting with your legs tucked rather than straight.
This variation mimics the popular gym exercise directly. Instead of locking your ankles in place using a machine, all you need to do is anchor your feet using a bar, a piece of furniture, a friend, anything – to perform a glute-ham raise with your knees on the ground and develop powerful legs.
Outdoor fitness: consistency and progression are key
Muscles cannot tell the difference between external or internal weight, a gym or outdoor training. A consistent routine in which you always push yourself to improve is the key to becoming stronger and building your body – ready to improve your running and hit your personal parkrun targets!
Remember that we’re always on hand here at Intersport with plenty of friendly advice, from tips about running through to gait analysis and finding your perfect shoe. Find your nearest store here
Don’t forget you can claim 10% off all running products in store at Intersport, as part of our ongoing parkrun partnership price #PPP*. Simply show your parkrun barcode (#DFYB!) to claim 10% off running products!
See you at your next parkrun!
*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.
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