Head to the park to tone and trim with this challenging yet fun outdoor routine
The No-Child's Play Playground Workout
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Summers as a kid likely meant at least a few days spent zipping around the playground, swinging, sliding, and perhaps chasing after your little sister—and burning calories the entire time, though you didn't care back then.
Tap into your inner child and head to the local park or playground for this fun yet super effective session. Alternating strength exercises using equipment like monkey bars and balance beams with cardio bursts, you'll tone and trim like you never did in PE class.
How it works: Up to three non-consecutive days a week, do 1 set of each exercise in order. Repeat the entire circuit up to two more times.
You’ll need: A park or playground space with basic equipment such as a balance beam, bench, monkey bars, and slide.
Balance Beam Warm-Up
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Get your muscles firing and blood flowing by doing your best gymnast. If your playground doesn't have a balance beam, imagine or draw a line in the grass or sand and use it as your “beam.”
How to do it: Balancing with one foot in front of the other on the beam (or line), walk forward in a straight line, moving arms naturally. Walk backward (carefully) to starting point. Repeat, this time lifting each knee up in line with hip before stepping forward (or backward).
Photo: Getty Images
Balancing Split Squat
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Challenge your core, glutes, and thighs with this spin on an elevated split squat.
How to do it: Stand on the beam (or line) with right foot in front of left, arms extended to sides at shoulder height. Shift weight onto right leg, lifting left heel. Bend knees, sitting back into hips. Extend legs and step forward with left foot. Repeat to the end of the beam, turn around, and continue, moving back to starting position.
Photo: Getty Images
60-Second Cardio Burst: Skip to My Lou
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Kids unknowingly are getting in killer plyometric work that's great for shaping legs when skipping, especially on grass or sand—so follow suit!
How to do it: Skip around the perimeter of the park or playground for 60 seconds.
RELATED: 60 Seconds to a Slimmer Body
Bench Dip and Kick
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Be ready to bare arms any time with this multi-tasking bench dip and kick move that sculpts the triceps while kicking in the core and thigh muscles too.
How to do it: Sit on the edge of a bench with knees bent 90 degrees, hands beside hips lifting butt up, keeping hips close to the edge of the bench. Lift right foot slightly off the ground. Bend elbows to 90 degrees, lowering hips toward the ground and drawing right knee in closer to chest. Extend arms as right leg extends out into a front kick. Do 10 reps, then switch sides to complete set.
60-Second Cardio Burst: Sprints
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High-intensity interval training can happen anywhere, and these outdoor sprints are perfect for amping up your calorie burn and agility skills.
How to do it: Find two pieces of equipment (for example, the monkey bars and swings) that are approximately six yards apart. Sprint as fast as possible from the first piece of equipment to the second, then immediately sprint back. Repeat as many times as possible. (If necessary, end before 60 seconds are up and rest for the remaining time or longer if you need more time.)
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Monkey bars are no joke! This playground staple may have been designed for play, but it’s the ideal piece of equipment to work on building the upper body and back strength needed to perfect a pull-up.
How to do it: Grab onto the first set of rungs and move down the bars, alternating one arm at a time on each rung (if the bars are kid-height, bend knees to lift legs completely off the ground). Move down and back as many times in a row as possible. (Make it harder by maintaining a half chin-up position as you go.)
RELATED: 8 Easier Alternatives to Pull-Ups
Photo: Getty Images
60-Second Cardio Burst: Side Shuffle Switch
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Changing up the direction of your movement with this lateral shuffle not only works the muscles in the inner thighs and core, it also builds coordination and speed to help you rock a few of your favorite summer activities such as tennis and volleyball.
How to do it: Stand with feet together, arms by sides. "Shuffle" to the right by taking three quick steps to the side (right, left, right), and then lift left knee up, right knee bent, swinging right arm forward. Immediately reverse the shuffle (left, right, left), landing with right knee up, left knee bent, swinging right arm forward. Continue, alternating directions. (This move is fast and should keep a steady rhythm—try counting "One, two, three" to help you stay quick and agile as you move from side to side.)
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Slides with ladders can boost agility and coordination while working the glutes, core, arms, and shoulders. (Skip this if there are kids waiting to use it.)
How to do it: Climb up and down the ladder as quickly as possible (if the slide is tall enough, try doubling your steps) 5 times.