Get going with a playground workout

playground workout
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A playground workout can provide a fun and effective fitness solution.  Playground equipment provides countless opportunities to get in your cardiovascular (‘huffy puffy’) activity as well as your resistance (‘muscle’) exercises.  And playground fitness can be a lot of fun…the kids will probably think so too!

Today I highlight three simple exercises that can get you started for a great playground workout.

1 Modified Chin ups. Main muscle groups worked: Back, rear shoulders and front of arms.

Find a playground bar at an appropriate level.  Modified chin-upsThe lower the bar, the harder it will be. Hold onto the bar with two hands – either over or underhand grip is fine, and bring your legs underneath the bar. Keep shoulders drawn back and down, and tummy pulled in strong. Pull yourself up to the bar, aiming to get the chin above the bar and puff the chest out towards the bar. Lower back to the start position with control. If you need a bit more assistance, you can use the legs to do some of the drive to the top of the movement.

As your strength progresses you can attempt a full chin up – choose a bar that you can completely hang from. Even just hanging from a bar will prove a good challenge for the hands, arms and shoulders to begin with.

2 Bench Step Ups. Main muscle groups worked: Legs and buttocks.This exercise includes cardiovascular as well as resistance components.

Start by standing on the floor in front of a park bench. Step one foot up, all the way onto the bench, then the other, then step back down 1 foot at a time. You can either step the first foot, tap the second foot, step the 2nd foot down, and then the first foot.  Or you can step up 1st foot, 2nd foot, 1st foot down, 2nd foot down.

Bench step-up playground exercise - down position Bench step-up playground exercise - up position

3 Tricep Dips on Bench. Main muscle groups worked: chest, front of shoulders, back of arms.

Start with your hands on the bench and feet on the floor. Tricep dips on benchHands are shoulder distance apart and facing forward, and feet are hip distance apart. Shoulders are drawn back and down, and your buttocks should be close to the bench. Lower body down by letting your elbows bend back, and then push back to the top. Elbows should stay close (shoulder distance) throughout.

Extend the legs in front for a more advanced version

Start with ten repetitions of each exercise. Repeat for two sets if you are feeling energetic. Always refer to a qualified exercise professional for advice on technique and to determine an appropriate progression for your individual fitness level.

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This should get you started on a great playground workout.  Stay tuned for my playground workout video, coming soon!

You can do any body weight exercises as part of your playground workout.  A squat is a good one to start with. Maybe you can find a buddy to drag along to make it more fun! Find out more about outdoor fitness.

For more online fitness advice, check out some of my other exercise blog posts. You might enjoy this comprehensive guide to resistances bands, which includes two full workouts!

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I write for a number of publications and generally publish a blog once a week about finding ways to enjoy a more happy and healthy lifestyle.

I also come across a lot of useful healthy information all the time. If I find something of value, I'd love to share it with you.

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Also published on Medium.


  • Allie

    Love love love it! I’m all about fitness in motherhood with the littles. Really creative ideas of the playground. Keep it up!

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks Allie; who needs a gym huh!

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