Daily Resolutions Tip of the Day: This week, skip the serious New Year gym crowds and take your workout to the playground for a fun, old school sweat session created by Without Walls. By using a swing and a slide as your fitness props, you’ll rediscover that feeling of playful boundlessness from childhood. Suit up for good times ahead!
A January fitness observation: Just as your favorite studios are filling up with more gym-goers than ever (who all seem to want the exact same weights you reach for), your vitamin D levels are seriously dipping. The solution? Suit up, and take your strength-training workout out of the gym and onto the playground.
Not only is it a fun, Instagram-worthy workout setting, there are benefits to getting outside—even in winter, says Brynn Jinnett, the whipsmart founder of Refine Method in New York City.
A playground is full of fitness props, which Jinnett’s a big fan of—her studios are filled with kettlebells and pulleys. And she especially loves the concept of using a playground swing as a TRX (just wait until the toddlers have had their turn).
“Suspension training is my go-to for outdoor training because it delivers the resistance of a set of weights without the need for heavy equipment—just grab your swing and go,” she says.
As for the kiddie playground slide? Well, that’s just a bench already set up on an incline for your ab work.
To get your heart-pounding along with a sense of play, Without Walls, which is all about fresh ways to get fit, and activewear to look good doing it, created this Playground Challenge. It features fun, familiar equipment—so no jockeying for a spot at the gym. Here are three strength-building moves to try this week. Vitamin D and endorphin rush, included.
1. Lateral Squat Jumps (3 sets of 10 on each side)
Stand perpendicular to the swing and stick your right leg out to the side and into the swing. Now, keeping your weight on you left heel and your chest up, lower into a squat. Want more cardio? Instead of returning to standing, explode through your leg and jump into the air, landing as lightly as you can and immediately lower back into a squat. Repeat 10 times, before switching to the left leg. “The seat offers a bit more stability than a TRX for exercises on one leg, which is a great way for beginners to get comfortable with suspended lower body exercises,” explains Jinnett.
2. Slide Ab Extensions (3 sets of 15)
Doing this exercise on a flat surface is tough enough, even with gravity holding you in position like a teeter-totter. But on a decline, you have to work even harder to fight against it. Balance on your tailbone on the slide, using your hands to stay in position (or you’ll just slide to the bottom, weee!). Keeping your back flat, bring your knees to your chest and then extend outward, tapping your heels to the slide, then bringing your knees right back into your chest. Jinnett recommends some grippy gloves for this one. “You want your heart rate elevated and your muscles challenged,” she adds.
3. Pike-Ups (3 sets of 12-15)
Start in plank position, wrists under your shoulders, your body straight as an arrow. Place the tops of your feet on the swing or just use your toes, whatever feels like it will keep you on the swing. Keeping your shoulders over you wrists and your legs straight, pike at the waist and raise your hips as high as you can, trying to draw your knees to your nose. Slowly lower your hips back to plank to complete the rep. These should be slow and controlled, not done for speed.
“Suspension training is great because its self-limiting, meaning its harder to do the exercise wrong. You have to squeeze your abs or you’ll fall over! When you’re training outside without mirrors, this is also a great form check,” Jinnett adds.