Exercising outdoors is a great way to keep fit and build strength as well as getting a healthy dose of fresh air!

And best of all… it’s free!

This is a session designed to build strength and muscle, try not to rush through the reps but take your time and concentrate on form.

The workout was performed at Don Lucas Reserve, an outdoor gym in Cronulla, Sutherland Shire. However, this can be performed anywhere there’s a pull-up bar and something to step off.

We’re using our own bodyweight to build strength. If you’ve never done this before you may think you need to lift external weight to get strong. Calisthenics (bodyweight strength training) not only builds great strength but can also build a great physique.

Warm-up

Before beginning any workout, it’s important to warm-up.

Start with a general warm-up, which will get the body moving, this can be done with your favourite bit of cardio for 5 minutes, such as running on the spot, jumping jacks, whatever you prefer.

Next, we want to get the joints a bit looser. For this, we’ll do some simple leg swings backwards, forward and side-to-side, followed by arm swings, up-down and out opening up your chest.

Finally, we’ll do a specific warm-up, this involves doing one round of each exercise on an easier progression. If you’re planning on doing chin-ups, then do the flex hang for 10 secs, if your goals are to do push-ups, do incline push-ups for 5 reps.

The Workout

The working sets are where the real workout comes in, by now you should be warmer and the muscles should be ready for the work ahead.

We’re going to do the following exercises as a circuit, so do one round of an exercise, then move onto the next one. Once you’ve done all the exercises, take a short rest, drink some water and start the next round.

If this is your first time doing bodyweight strength training, then maybe start with just 2 rounds and build up to five over the next few workouts, otherwise feel free to dive straight into five rounds.

Chin-ups

Beginners

The beginner’s goal is to strengthen your grip, all we’re going to do is hang from the bar for up to 30 seconds.

  • Grip the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you).
  • Concentrate on keeping your shoulders engaged, this means keeping them down in your sockets and not letting them shrug.

Once you can hold for 30 seconds for 5 rounds move onto the intermediate level.

Intermediates

For the intermediates, we’re going to hold the top position of a chin-up for up to 30 seconds.

  • Grip the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing you), shoulder width apart.
  • Climb/Jump up to the pull-up bar and hold yourself with your chin above the bar.
  • Just like the beginners, we want to concentrate on keeping the shoulders engaged, pulling them down into their sockets.

Once you can hold this position for 30 seconds it’s time to try the next level.

Advanced

  • Grab the bar with an underhand or overhand (underhand tends to be easier) grip.
  • Pull yourself up as high as you, don’t stop until you can’t pull any higher.
  • Return to the start position
  • Concentrate on keeping your shoulders engaged throughout.
  • Repeat for 5 total reps or as many as you can manage.

Single Leg Step Downs

Step ups are a common exercise usually used to get people fitter and lose weight. However, this an alternative to this, that involves step down under control, before returning to the start position.

This build strength in the glutes and is a great exercise for improving your single leg stability.

  • Stand on one of the platforms at Cronulla Outdoor Gym, the higher ones are harder.
  • Slowly lower one leg, if you touch the ground simply tap the toes and return slowly to the top position.
  • Try to make sure you don’t push off using your toes.

Repeat on both legs for 5 total reps.

Push-ups

Beginners

If push-ups are too difficult we’re going to perform incline push-ups to build up the strength until you can do them on the floor.

  • Place your hands on one of the elevated platforms, shoulder width apart – the higher the easier.
  • Your body should be in a nice straight line from head-to-toe.
  • Lower yourself, keeping the elbows close to the body until your chest touches the platform.
  • Push yourself back up.

Repeat for 5 total reps. As it gets easier, move your hands to a lower object.

Intermediates

  • Place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • As with the beginners, keep your body straight from head-to-toe and ensure the elbows stay close to the body.
  • Push yourself back up and repeat for 5 total reps.

Advanced

Once full push-ups are too easy, we’ll make them more difficult by progressing to Pike Push-ups.

  • Start in a downward dog position, with your butt in the air, hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower yourself with the aim for your head to touch the ground between your hands.
  • Push yourself back up to the top position and repeat for 5 total reps.

Hollow Body Hold

We don’t need to rep out countless sit-ups or crunches to build a six-pack, the hollow body hold will keep improving your ab strength for all but the strongest.

  • Lie on your back with your head off the ground and chin tucked.
  • Ensure your back remains in full contact with the ground.
  • Lift your feet off the ground with bent knees and bring them into your chest.
  • This is the easiest hold, if your back is flat into the ground and this feels too easy, try straightening your knees and lowering your legs a little to make it harder.
  • Once you’ve found the position that is challenging but can still hold the back flat into the ground, hold for 30 secs.

Supermans

The superman exercise works all the muscles at the back of the body.

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Beginners will put their arms by the side in a W position
  • Lift the torse off the ground as high as you can.
  • To increase difficulty, also lift the legs off the ground.
  • The further you move the arms overhead, the more difficult this will become
  • Hold for 30 secs.

And that’s it!
Performing 5 rounds of these exercises will help you get great strength gains and you can go to the next progression once these start to get easier.