The 30-Minute Park Workout

The 30-Minute Park Workout

In many cities throughout the country, the weather is perfect in the month of May.  Fortunately, in Arizona, there is an abundance of parks and recreation areas spread out with beautiful grass that invites physical activity.  The next time you feel the urge to exercise, consider using your nearby park or outdoor recreation area for your workout.

One of the best reasons to use a park for a workout is the beautiful scenery.  Humans were intended to exercise outdoors, just as the cavemen when they hunted and gathered, so every once in a while, you should scurry outdoors to exercise.

Another great element about working outdoors is that you do not need to pay gym fees or purchase any gym equipment. All of your outdoor exercises can easily be completed with a green spot outside with just your body weight. 

The following are exercises you should try doing in the park the next time you feel like exercising.

The 30 Minute Park Workout

Complete the following exercises in order to complete the outdoor park workout.  Rest should be minimal between exercises unless it is prescribed.  If you need to rest due to fatigue, consider at least 30 seconds to allow your muscles to effectively recover.

  • 50 Yard Jog. Most park areas are large enough to allow for this length of a jog.  While 50 yards is not very much, it is a great way to warm the muscles up prior to your activity.  Start with a 50 yard jog and back to make this a total of 100 yards.
  • Tree Plank. Immediately following your warm-up jog, find the nearest tree with a large trunk and position your body into a plank position with your feet flat on the tree trunk as in this picture.  Start out with about 60 seconds of the tree plank.
  • Squat Jumps. This is a pretty intense exercise.  Start out by lowering into a squat position, then explode upwards and finish by jumping.  Upon landing, lower into a squat and repeat.  Start out with about 10 squat jumps and be careful of your form at all times during this exercise.
  • Push-Ups. Perform as many as possible in 60 seconds and plan to lower the body so that the elbows bend less than 90 degrees (military style).
  • Side Plank. Complete this from your forearms.  One arm stays up while the other arm goes up to the sky.  Hold the side plank for 60 seconds and switch to the other side before moving to the next exercise.
  • 50 Yard Full Sprint. Sprint as fast as you can to the 50 yard marker area from before.  Rest 30 seconds following your sprint.
  • Bicycle Crunches. Lying flat on the ground, twist the trunk in a bicycle crunch for a total of maximum reps.  Keep a strong abdominal area during this and really focus on the trunk twisting portion.
  • 50 Yard Backward Run. This will work the entire hamstring and posterior portion of your legs [2].  Aim to run as fast as possible, being very cautious as to what may be behind you and being careful not to fall down.
  • Rest for a full 60 seconds and repeat the same exercises with a little more intensity for two more sets.

Other Exercises You Can Throw Into the Mix

If you get bored of this routine, you can add and switch the exercises to keep yourself engaged. Here are a few additional exercises you can include in your park workout.

Park Bench Push-Ups

You can use the park’s infrastructure to your advantage in this exercise. Place your hands on a park bench and lower your body on them to perform push-ups. Remember to keep your shoulders above your hands and elbows close to your body. Try to keep your body in a straight line to strengthen your core.

Wall Sits

Wall sits are a simple yet very effective exercise. Place your back against a tree trunk or a wall and lower yourself on your legs to keep them at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for a minute. You can add some glutes or thigh squeezes for a better effect.


To do this exercise, step on a bench with your right leg and then your left leg. Then step off a bench with your right leg first and then the left. Do a few reps of the whole exercise, starting the next one with your left leg.


Place your one leg on a bench and bend it. Then tap your other leg on a bench and put it back on the floor. Perform this exercise on one leg for 50 seconds. It’s an excellent exercise to build muscle in your legs.

After you’re done with one side, switch legs and repeat.

Tree Squeeze

If you want to focus on your legs’ strength, tree squeeze is an excellent activity to perform. Sit in front of a tree and place your feet above the ground on the two sides of a tree trunk. Squeeze a trunk for about 30 seconds. This exercise is great for your thighs and lower abs.


In contrast, pull-ups are great for building muscles in your arms and upper body. You can use monkey bars or a pull-up bar in your local park to perform this exercise safely. Hang from a pull-up bar with your knees slightly bent and pull yourself up until your chin is higher than your hands.

Perform 10 reps of the exercise. You can split it into two rounds if you’re a beginner.

Step Up Lunge

This is the more advanced version of tap-ups. You should step up with your right leg onto a bench and lift up the left knee, pulling it towards your chest. As you step back with your left leg, put your right leg back as well, leading it into a deep backwards lunge. Perform this exercise on each side 5 to 10 times.

Park Workout FAQs

Why is it good to exercise in the park?

There are a few good reasons why exercising outside can be beneficial. For one, you get the change of scenery, which keeps your mind stimulated and motivated. You get to breathe fresh air and be in the sun, which is good for your body.

Being surrounded by the greenery makes you more relaxed, and exercising in the park is free. You can take your family or friends with you and turn the workout into a bonding experience as well.

Are park gyms effective?

Absolutely! The equipment available to use in many parks is sufficient to perform many exercises, and if you’re using proper techniques, you can receive optimal results.

Even without any special infrastructure, you can use what is around you, like benches and trees (of course, while being careful not to destroy anything in the process), to exercise effectively.

Why is working out outside harder?

Working out in a park might be more challenging than in a gym because of the changing conditions. Weather, inclines, bumps, obstacles, other people, and animals can slow you down, make you work harder and force you to be more careful and mindful of others around you.

Your Challenge

When the weather is beautiful, and you want to be outdoors in the morning time, consider working your body in a park. You can turn this into a family routine one or two times per week to help encourage physical activity for everyone. 

In addition, adding the element of outdoors to mix it with gym time is a great way to help prevent gym burnout, and it will help keep the workouts fresh and new.



About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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