The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, grills are cooking food, sunburns are getting to be a problem… must be summer! And with it, comes an excellent opportunity to do your workouts outside. Whether you are jogging to calisthenics park or stopping at a nearby playground, or maybe a parent getting a couple of sets in while the kids are preoccupied playing, there are innumerable ways to get a great workout in! In this article, we’ll focus on four exercises for outdoor park workouts you can do with just a classic swingset!
Top Swingset Exercises for Outdoor Park Workouts:
“Suspension” style exercise has become increasingly popular over the last 15 years with the mainstream proliferation of products like TRX, Jungle Gym, and the resurgence of classic gymnastics rings for use in fitness training. However, as you’ll learn today, you don’t need to drop hundreds of dollars on expensive and invasive installation of suspension kits when you can get a great effect with outdoor park workouts! Here are four of our favorites exercises, all with just a swing set:
1. Swing Rows
Grasp the ends of the soft-sided swing seat (where they meet the chains holding them up), and pull yourself up through the seat by driving your shoulders, then elbows, back behind your body. Our client, Johanna Gorton, does a great job demonstrating in this video! Just remember to keep your core stable and head back to avoid over-extending at the lower back or neck. This is an excellent exercise to train your upper back and your arms and can be made easier or more difficult by walking your feet backward or forward, respectively.
2. Swing Push-Ups
A great compliment to rows is push-ups! If you can’t do full push-ups to the floor, it’s challenging to find appropriate heights to progress your way down from push-ups at an incline to push-ups flat from the ground. Like the rows, you can make the exercise easier or harder by walking your feet backward or forward, respectively. The more vertical you are, the easier it will be. If flat push-ups from the floor are too easy, you can elevate your feet on the swing seat (as shown in the following pike video) while pushing your hands off of the ground. This is a great exercise to work on your chest, shoulders, and arms. Depending on the width of your shoulders and the width of the swing, you may need to tuck your arms into your side, which will increase the challenge for your arms.
3. Swing Pike
Everybody wants better abs for the summer, right?! Here is one devilishly simple but effective exercise you can do as part of your outdoor park workouts. As shown, lay your feet on the swing seat with your hands on the ground and pull your toes towards your hands while using your core to pull your butt up to the sky. Warning: this is a reasonably advanced exercise and you should be proficient keeping a solid plank for at least 90 seconds with no sinking of your lower back before progressing to these.
4. Swing Buzzsaw
It’s the little things that get you, and this one is no exception! You hold a plank with your feet elevated on the swing seat, and slide or “saw” forward and backward with small, controlled movement. A simpler variation of this exercise is to simply hold a plank with your feet elevated, using your core to stabilize through the swaying of the swing. To make it more difficult, slide further forward and backward on each rep.