The sultry days of summer have sauntered in, which means it's the perfect time to crank up the internal furnace with an outdoor workout at your local park. Here are eight classic exercises that are guaranteed to tone and tighten from neck to ankles, so slather on some natural bug spray (especially if you're in Singapore), lace up your kicks, and get ready to retrieve that minidress from the back of the closet!
PARALLEL BAR (or LOW BAR) PULL-UPS: targets the back, shoulders, arms and chest
Begin on a low bar or parallel bar with your knees bent, heels planted into the ground. This will provide added support. As you progress and are able to do 15-20 low bar pull-ups with bent knees, extend your legs straight, as shown.
The Parallel Bar Pull-Up is a precursor to the standard Dead Hang Pull-Up. Make perfecting your pull-up a goal this summer and learn how to become a lean, mean pull-up queen!
2 to 3 sets, 10-12 reps each
TRICEP DIPS: targets the triceps, chest and shoulders
Find an anchored bench or other stable, raised surface. With your back close to the surface, extend your legs outward and hold onto the surface with hands shoulder width apart. Slowly inhale and lower your body toward the ground by bending the elbows. Use your triceps to bring your body up again.
2 to 3 sets, 12-15 reps
DECLINE PUSH-UPS: targets the chest, arms and core
Note: Do not attempt a decline push-up until you have mastered regular push-ups on your toes!
Place your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart, and extend your legs, elevating your feet on a bench, curb or other raised surface. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body to the ground slowly, keeping your neck in neutral, then return to your original position. As an alternative to the decline push-up, a regular push-up on the knees or toes will do the trick.
3 sets, 12-15 reps
PARALLEL BAR DIPS: targets the muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps.
One of my favorite exercises, muscles targeted during the parallel bar dip will depend on how much you angle your body forward. A more upright position will hit the arms, while angling forward will force your shoulders and chest to do more work.
Stand between a set of parallel bars and place your hands on the bars. Take a small jump, keeping your arms straight, and bend your knees, crossing your ankles over one another. Flex the elbow and lower your body until your arms are at about 90 degrees (the lower you go, the more work you will have to do!) Then, extend the elbow and push yourself back up to the original position.
3 sets, 10-12 reps
POLE SQUATS: targets your glutes, quadriceps, and calves
Find a pole or wall and stand approximately six inches away from it, feet shoulder width apart. Sitting back into your heels with your core braced and your chest upright, slowly lower your butt, tracing the wall or pole, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure that your knees don't roll over your toes!
Learn more about proper squatting technique!
3 sets, 20 reps
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS: targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves
Extend one leg back and place top of foot or toes on a bench or chair. Jump the other foot out and squat by bending the knee and hip of the front leg until the back knee is close to the ground. Be sure to keep your core tight and back straight; front knee should never roll over the toe. Return to starting position and repeat.
2-3 sets, 15-20 reps each leg
Bench Step-Ups: targets the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core and calves.
Place one foot on a bench, chair or metal box. Step on the raised surface by extending the hip and the knee of your right leg, using the heel to lift your body up. Once upright and stable, bring the knee of the opposite leg up toward your chest. Step down and inhale, then return to the original position and repeat.
3 sets, 15-20 reps each side
BOX JUMPS: targets the core, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, arms.
Find a secure and dry raised surface. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, about a forearm's length away from the surface (box or bench). When preparing to jump, drop into a quarter squat, extend your hips, swing your arms and push through your feet, propelling yourself onto the surface. Land softly and quietly like a cheetah- be kind to those knees!
3 sets, 20 reps
Burn, baby, burn! You'll definitely turn up the heat with this routine, but be sure not to forget the sunblock, water and bug spray before you head outdoors. Let me know how it goes!
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