In a time when gyms across the country have shuttered their doors, Maillard Howell, co-owner of Dean CrossFit and founder of The Beta Way, wants you to think of your street as your very own obstacle course. “You actually have a lot at your disposal if you just step out onto your block and tell me what you see,” says Howell. Steps? A park bench? A hill? Bam: You’ve got the perfect venue for easy outdoor workouts.
Since quarantine started, Howell has been repurposing his Brooklyn block for cardio and strength training sessions that give him the same (or, okay—similarly) satisfying, sweaty workouts he would have access to in his CrossFit gym. He wants you to feel empowered to do the same. “It doesn’t require any equipment. Or, if you have a kettlebell or a dumbbell even better —just take the dumbbell out and stash it in any planter you see,” says Howell. Then grab it—and enlist it in your city block workout
Once you get the knack of designing a workout sandwiched between two stop signs, you can do a week or even a month’s worth of exercise regimens that never look quite the same. Below, Howell’s offering up five to get you going. (No gym props required!)
5 easy outdoor workouts that take advantage of your city block
1. 25-minute legs and arms
Your triceps, quads, glutes, and hamstrings will be straight-up on fire after this workout.
Walking lunges: Lunge to the end of the block and back. Add dumbbells or a kettlebell if you have the option.
AMRAP tricep dips: Find a park bench, stoop, or another elevated surface. Sit on the ground and place your hands on the outside of the bench with your legs extended out straight. Drop your hips, bending your elbows as you do so. Restraighten your elbows to come back up. Repeat as many reps as possible until you can no longer continue.
Complete six sets of these two movements, resting for 90 seconds between each set.
2. 40-minute cardio-strength mashup
Running and full-body strengthening moves come together for this sweaty—but quick—workout.
20 split squats with elevated back leg: Using your elevated surface, place your back foot up and lunge the other foot forward. Straighten both legs, then bend the front one. Complete 20 reps on both sides.
20 push-ups: Begin in plank position. Slowly lower your body toward the ground, engaging your core. Straighten your arms and scoop in your core to lift back up to plank. You can also perform these with your hands on the bench for a beginner version.
Run down the block: Run down the block and back.
Complete five sets of these two movements, resting between 90 seconds and three minutes after each set.
3. 20-minute full-body burnout
Push-ups: Complete as many as you can (either elevated on a bench or not) until you get to 100 reps. When you need to break, do the following two workouts.
12 Cossack squats: Begin standing with your legs about three feet apart. Pour your weight into the right leg, bending the right knee entirely until your left toes come off the floor and your right thigh is flush against your right calf. Repeat on the opposite side for a total of 24 reps.
12 Step ups: Find your bench. Step one foot onto the bench at a time. Then step down. Repeat a total of 24 times, alternating which foot steps up first.
Go back to your push-ups until you reach 100.
4. 5-minute “Oh, my legs!”
Run down the block
Lunge back down the block
Repeat two times for a quick, lunchtime sweat snack—or increase the workout to five or six reps for something a little longer. No breaks!
5. 30-minute AMRAP
5 air squats: Bring your feet hips-width distance apart. Drop your hips down toward the ground, keeping your back straight. Restraighten your legs and squeeze your glutes in.
10 jump squats: From your squat position, drop your hips down toward the ground, keeping your back straight. Restraighten your legs, squeeze your glutes in, and jump straight up. Land back into squat position.
Run to the end of the block and back
Repeat as many times as you can in 30 minutes, taking breaks whenever needed.
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