Playground workout; your outdoor summer exercises

Playground workout; your outdoor summer exercises

Playground workout

Sometimes it can be difficult to get to the gym, or your regular classes to get your exercise ticked off.  It can also be a particular challenge when it’s the school summer holidays with kids in tow!

Maybe it’s time to switch things up and get outside for your workout? There are also so many positive mental health benefits to getting out in the fresh air as well as all that vitamin D you’ll be absorbing.

So lets head off to your local playground (kids are optional); if your kids are young you may need another adult for some supervisory duties. Older ones can be amazed and astonished by what you can achieve with a few bits of playground kit.

Even though my staple when the gym’s not to hand is to run, I like to mix things up a little along the way. My days of playgrounds are long gone, so if like me may be best to find an early morning or evening slot…or you may have a bit of an audience around you.

Welcome to the playground…adult style!

Just make sure the environment is safe and all the kit is sturdy, rust free and good to exercise on.  Playgrounds in the UK are pretty closely monitored, but if you’re abroad the same safety levels may not apply. You may also need to think about sunscreen and a hat!


Warm up; gentle jogging, circling arms, butt kicks and some squats will loosen things up. The stuff you do at the gym…but just outside.

Maybe scout out a tree or post in the park as a market to do some jogs, runs or sprints between resistance move.

You can mix these moves up, maybe do a few circuits, resting between sets? The question is how hard do you want to work? Here are some ideas that you could incorporate into your playground workout. What you choose is up to you!

High bar exercises:

Abs crunch hanging from the bar; not just for the core but great for developing grip strength. Maybe you’re thinking of doing an obstacle course race this year?  This will certainly help hone those skills needed for the monkey bars.

Unfortunately my local park dosen’t have monkey bars, but if yours does then give it a go!  How do kids make it look so easy and effortless?  I’ll leave that with you!

Knees can come straight up and down or incorporate a little twist to hit the obliques more effectively. The hardest thing maybe jumping up to reach the bar, but a foot-up can help there.


Here’s my ‘attempt’ at the pullup. I think I’ll have another read of Heather’s excellent blog on building strength for pullups.  (There’s a link at the bottom of this blog).


 Horizontal pull up…on the roundabout

This will help develop strength to perfect that pull up!


The swings

One of my favouite pieces of playground kit, and every playground has a swing doesn’t it? There’s so much you can do and yes it is a challenge for the core! Here’s a great move; press up to pike. It works so much; core, upper body and legs all in one smooth move!


Fancy a more challenging move for your dips? The gentle movements of the swing make those triceps work that much harder!  Too tough, there are moves for dips on walls coming up too…


Here’s a few simpler ones; using a wall and bench to work the legs and triceps

Dips on the wall


Dynamic step up


Or you can drop the intensity and simply step up and down.  Want to ramp it up further?

Wall jumps


You choose how low or high you want to go!

No workout would be complete without a burpee; so here’s one incorporating the wall into the move


Here’s one last static one to finish off; the side plank on bench


Hope you enjoy some of these moves, but just make sure that all equipment is safe to use, and the ground is not slippery or uneven as injuries are no fun.

If you need any further inspiration, just have a chat to the fitness teams at Bramcote Leisure Centre, Chilwell Olympia and Kimberley Leisure Centre. They can help build a programme that’s right for you.

Outdoor Bootcamp classes also take place in the grounds of Chilwell Olympia, just give the centre a call to check when the next course is running; 0115 9173333

Happy holidays

Cathy, L Leisure

Top 5 ways to increase your strength for pull ups