Summer Workouts


What better way to enjoy the summer than to get outside with family and friends and take advantage of the sun in an active way? It’s warm enough to get out of the gym and into the fresh air. There are many easy ways to incorporate fitness into your summer days, whether it’s finding a tough workout to do without overheating, or trying to add a workout component to things you are already doing with others. Out of the gym usually means out of equipment, but here are a few good exercise ideas that incorporate a typical park or outdoor environment.

1. Plyometric Circuits

Instead of lifting heavy, focus on moving fast! Plyometric exercises are focused on explosive bursts of energy (think maximum force in a short amount of time). The goal of these type of movements is to improve power, combining increases to both speed and strength.

Try the following exercises, going through them a total of 3 times for a full workout:

  • Squat jumps (10 reps)

Start in an athletic position.  Swing arms back and bend knees slightly.  Explode (jump) upwards from the hips, bring knees up and toes up, and land gently back down on the ground with knees bent.

  • Plyo push-ups (10 reps)

Facing downward, keep your body in a straight line with your hands and feet contacting the ground. Lower your body by bending your elbows.  Push yourself back up quickly and forcefully to push yourself off the ground. Be sure to keep your arms close to your body to minimize shoulder wear.

  • Sit ups (15 reps)

Lay on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat.  Cross arms to chest and sit up quickly (1 second), bringing your arms to your knees. Lower your upper body back down to the ground slowly for a 3 second count.

  • Skaters (8 reps each)

Start on your left foot. Swing the right foot behind you and use the momentum to jump to the right and land only on your right foot. Repeat to the other side.

  • Mountain Climbers (15 reps each)

Start in the plank position. Alternate moving each knee to chest, keeping the body in a straight line.

  • Scissor Lunges (8 reps each)

Start with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you, both bent and in the lunge position. Explode upwards and switch leg positions to land with the opposite foot now in front and behind. Repeat.

  • Burpees (10 reps)

From a standing position, put your hands on the ground a few inches in front of your feet. Kick your legs back into the plank position and then replace them back next to your hands. Come up into a jump and repeat.

2. Park Bench Workout

If you are walking the dog or taking a leisurely stroll through a local park, try to add some exercises that can be done on a park bench or table. These require no equipment other than an elevated surface and yourself.

Try the following exercises, going through them a total of 3 times for a full workout:

  • Step Ups (10 reps each)

Start with the bench in front of you.  Step up with one leg while maintaining good posture. Step down with the same leg and switch.

  • Touch Squats (10 reps)

Stand with your feet hip distance apart in front of the bench with the bench about a foot behind your back. Slowly squat backwards, keeping your weight on your heels, until your seat touches the bench. Return to standing without resting on the bench.

  • Bench Jumps (10 reps)

Stand facing the bench. Swing arms back and bend knees slightly.  Explode (jump) upwards from the hips, bring knees up and toes up, and land gently on the bench with knees bent. Repeat.

  • Single Leg Squat (8 reps each)

Start facing away from the bench with one leg in front of you and the other behind you with your toe on the bench. Slowly squat and return to standing. Repeat each side.

  • Push-ups (10 reps)

Start with your hands on the bench and your feet extended out away from the bench so that you are in a plank position. Push yourself up and down. This should be easier at this angle.

  • Dips (10 reps)

Sit on the bench facing away from it with your hands on the bench on either side of you. Scoot yourself forward, while leaving your hands on the bench. This should create clearance for you to bend your arms and push yourself up and down, dipping your body.

3. Interval Run with Strength Stops

Running in the summer heat can be overwhelming at times. Instead, break up your run into intervals with stops in the shade for water breaks and strength exercises. Try running for either a half a mile or a timed 5 minutes, then stop and do an exercise set or 2 exercises, 3 times each.

An example of exercise sets could be:

  • 30 sec Plank + 10 back extensions
  • 10 mountain climbers + 10 lunges (each side)
  • 10 squat jumps + 10 calf raises
  • 10 burpees + 10 bicycles (each side)

4. Bicycling

A fun activity to do with others, especially if they are visiting from out of town and want to peruse around, is bicycling. Take a ride through the local park or neighborhood to catch up and cool off in the bike breeze. A lot of local markets are open and selling fresh goods in the summer months. Try biking to a farmer’s market or local festival to take advantage of the nice weather and exclusive summer activities

5. Get in the Water

Finally, a fool-proof way to exercise in the hottest days of summer is to get in the water! Whether you kayak, paddleboard, or swim, it’s a good way to have fun while getting some exercise into your routine. Sure, bodies of water are fun, but they can also be a great workout! Try practicing some strokes for distance or even incorporate gym exercises simply using the water as resistance instead of weights.

Visit our fitness tool in the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. program for more exercises with pictures and videos, complete workouts, and fitness tips:

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