Last week in my at-home exercise series, I mentioned that Mazzy and I took a run to a nearby pier and then made up (probably less than effective) exercises to do on a bench by the water. Jennifer Nyp from Zen Girl Fitness took my hint and this week, instead of using her recommended equipment, she is giving us all ways to work out with nothing more than a park bench.
Most of my clients come to my studio in SoHo, but I have a few I meet in the park. We take advantage of every park bench, flight of stairs, tree and railing we can find. I try to look at the outdoors like a kid— there are endless physical opportunities.
As always, you should run or walk for at least ten minutes before you start these exercises. Then run or walk again after. Use the exercises below to help activate the parts of your body that you aren’t using on your walk or run. Like your GLUTES! When you walk or run, you are using mostly your quads and hamstrings. Your hip flexors will get tight and make your butt useless. I love the side leg lift step-up, because your heart rate will stay up and when you continue on your walk or run, your Glutes will get more action.
If you don’t have much time, do just 3-5 of the 12 exercises listed. Then choose a different three each time you workout. 10-20 reps of each will be plenty. Most importantly take in the view and have fun!
12 ways to work out with out park bench:
Move #1: Stretching
It’s so important always, but especially if you are walking or running outside. Don’t skip it. Do these simple but effective moves on something stable that is a little higher then your hips.
Move #2: Leg Swings
To counteract all the linear movement of running and walking, leg swings are imperative. They use your core and give you a butt workout as well. Keep your torso as still as possible. Be sure to click the arrow to the 2nd frame for power leg swings!
Move #3: High Side Leg Circles
One of the best exercises to activate the glutes and increase your range of motion. This is great for runners!
Move #4: Squats
You can row with your own resistance as I am doing in the video below, or if you bring a band with handles, you can wrap it around the poll and back row as you stand up. Do as many as you can!
Move #5: Side Leg Circles on All Fours
This is the ideal version but if the bench is too hard on your knees, click over to the second clip for a standing version. Start with 10 on each side and work up to 20-30.
Move #6: Tricep push up into downward dog leg lift
Make sure to do both sides!
Move #7: Pilates Ab Series
More of a challenge because the bench is not very comfortable, but I ALWAYS do this at the half-way point or after my run.
Move #8: Tricep Dip, Bridge and Inner Thigh Combo
Do not crunch your shoulders to your neck. Open your chest!
Move #9: Side Step-ups with front and back taps
This is a great move to keep your heart rate up and give yourself a total body work out. To make it more challenging, add on some leg pulses!
Move #10: Mountain Climbers
Twist with leg extension. This is another great exercise for the glute muscles to counteract the hamstring and quad overload that happens when you run or walk.
Move #11: Push-ups and Side Planks
This is great for upper body and core strength. It’s also a great chest opener.
Move #12: Side step up with leg lift
A favorite exercise of mine on a park bench! It will activate your glutes for the rest of your outdoor cardio workout.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday when Jen will teach us how to incorporate dumbells and kettebells into our at-home workout. You can check out her full list of recommended home gym equipment here.
You can follow Jennifer Nyp on Instagram at @zengirlfitness for more daily exercise ideas or if you live in Manhattan and want to work out with her private SOHO studio, you find her contact info here.