Coaching, Weight Loss

7 Outdoor Workouts To Melt Fat And Build Muscle

7 Outdoor Workouts to Melt Fat

Let’s face it, when the nice summer weather rolls around, the thought of being stuck inside the gym isn’t all that appealing! What if I told you how to get a great workout that can melt off the fat and pump-up those muscles — all while enjoying the summer sunshine? Grab your water bottle, a bit of sunscreen and get ready to take on the fun challenge of these 7 outdoor workouts.

1. The Park/Playground Workout

Parks and playgrounds offer the perfect setting for outdoor workouts with plenty of space to move and lots of equipment to “play” on. Picnic tables, park benches, swings, monkey bars and slides are all fair game when it comes to making a park or playground your outdoor gym.

Complete the following circuit for the listed number of reps with little to no rest between exercises.

Rest 1-2 minutes after you complete a full circuit.
Complete 3 full circuits.

  1. Bench Push-Ups: 10-12 reps
    (Place hands on bench in an incline position or, to increase the difficulty, place feet on bench and perform decline push-ups)
    Bench Decline Push-up

    Bench Decline Push-up

    Outdoor Workouts: Bench Incline Push-up

    Bench Incline Push-up

  2. Bodyweight Squats: 12-15 reps
    Bodyweight Squats

    Bodyweight Squats

  3. Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows: 10-12 reps
    (playground equipment comes in handy for these)
    Inverted Row

    Inverted Row

    Inverted Row, Second Position

    Inverted Row, Second Position

  4. Bench Jumps: 10-12 reps
    Outdoor Workouts: Bench Jump

    Bench Jump

  5. Bench Tricep Dips: 10-12 reps
    Bench Tricep Dip

    Bench Tricep Dip

  6. Bulgarian Split Squats: 10-12 each leg
    (Place back leg on a park bench so you are in a split stance position and squat down so back knee drops toward the ground)
    Bulgarian Split Squat

    Bulgarian Split Squat

2. Hill Sprints

If the thought of doing all-out sprints is a bit intimidating, a smart way to ease your body back into sprinting is by doing hill sprints. The inclined surface actually puts your body in a much safer position by not allowing you to go at max speed, which can often result in strained/pulled hamstrings. Hill sprints offer a great lower body workout by emphasizing the low back, glutes, hamstrings and calves, while also providing a surprising challenge to the upper body (shoulders, arms, chest) by having to use the arms to help propel yourself up the hill. And don’t forget the fat-melting benefits of this high intensity interval exercise as it will get your heart rate up and give your metabolism a boost!

Beginner Hill Sprints Workout (shoot for 2x/week on non-consecutive days)

Weeks 1 & 2
5 sprints of 10 yards/rest 45 seconds between each
3 sprints of 20 yards/rest 60 seconds between each
Weeks 3 & 4
5 sprints of 10 yards/rest 30 seconds between each
5 sprints of 20 yards/rest 60 seconds between each
2 sprints of 30 yards/rest 60 seconds between each
Weeks 5 & 6
5 sprints of 10 yards/rest 20 seconds between each
4 sprints of 20 yards/rest 45 seconds between each
3 sprints of 30 yards/rest 60 seconds between each
1 set of 40 yards

Outdoor Workouts: Hill Sprints

Hill Sprints

3. Stairs

Much like hill sprints above, stairs provide an equipment-free outdoor workout option that is sure to challenge any level of fitness. A nice set of stairs can typically be found at your local high school or college stadium or in most urban environments.

Stadium Stairs Workout:

Intensity will vary depending on the size of the staircase.

  1. Sprint or Walk every other step for 10 reps (20 total stairs)
    Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds
  2. Sprint every step for 20 total steps
    Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds
  3. Bunny Hop (feet about shoulder width apart) every step for 10 steps
    Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds
  4. Rest 1 minute and repeat the above

4. Sand Workouts

The next time you’re at the beach, consider getting in a quick sand workout before you jump in the water to cool off! Sand provides a challenging “unstable” surface that is easy on the joints but very effective in working the muscles of the feet, calves, things, hamstrings and glutes. Don’t have access to a beach? No worries….head over to your nearest sand volleyball court and be ready to work!

Sand Workout

  1. Walking Lunges: 8-10 each leg
  2. Bear Crawl: 15-20 yards
  3. Squat Jumps: 10-12
  4. Lateral Shuffles: 5 quick shuffles to your right/5 quick shuffles to your left for 2 consecutive sets

Perform 3 rounds of the above before doing the following finisher:

Sand Shuttle Run: Place a marker at 5, 10 and 15 yards. Sprint to the 5 yard mark and back, 10 yard mark and back, 15 yard mark and back. Rest 30 seconds and perform for 5 total rounds

5. Jumping Rope

Who said jumping rope is for kids? A jump rope is an inexpensive fitness tool that you can do just about anywhere and provides an awesome cardiovascular workout that burns a load of calories. In fact, jumping rope at around 120 revolutions/minute for 10 minutes can burn more calories than 30 minutes of jogging!

Every Minute on The Minute Jump Rope Workout:

  • Set your watch or your phone to the stopwatch setting and press start
  • Perform 100 revolutions of basic, quick jumps (keep feet together and stay on the balls of the feet)
  • When you finish, you have the remainder of that first minute off to recover
  • At the top of the next minute, perform another 100 revolutions
  • Continue for 10 total round (10 minutes)

6. Medicine Ball Workouts

Medicine balls are a versatile workout tool that you can easily incorporate into your outdoor workouts. They come in a wide variety of sizes and can be held, pushed, slammed, thrown, and rolled – making them ideal for a total body workout.

Total Body Medicine Ball Workout:

  1. Medicine Ball Lunges (hold ball at chest level): 8-10 reps each leg
    Medicine Ball Lunge

    Medicine Ball Lunge

  2. Medicine Ball Push-Ups w/ Pass: 10-12 reps
    (Place your right hand on the med ball and your left hand on the floor in a push-up position. Perform a push-up and then roll the ball toward your left hand, place the left and on top, perform a push-up, roll it back to the right hand, etc.)
    Push-up with Medicine Ball

    Push-up with Medicine Ball

  3. Wood Chops: 12-15 reps
    (Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders and reach the ball overhead before chopping down between the legs. Quickly return back to a nice and tall starting position. Be sure to bend at the legs when chopping.)
    Medicine Ball Wood Chop

    Medicine Ball Wood Chop

  4. 10:00/2:00 Shoulder Press: 12-20 reps
    (Start with med ball at chest level and then reach it out overhead to the left – 10:00 position. Return the ball to the chest and repeat on the right side – 2:00 position.)
    Medicine Ball 10-2 Shoulder Reach

    Medicine Ball 10-2 Shoulder Reach

  5. Cradle Squats: 12-15 Reps
    (Hug the med ball into the chest and perform a deep squat)
    Medicine Ball Cradle Squat

    Medicine Ball Cradle Squat

  6. Medicine Ball Slams: 10-12 reps
    (Like the wood chop above, but you’ll slam the med ball into the floor between the feet before picking it up and continuing on with your reps. CAUTION: Non-bounce med balls work best for this one so it doesn’t rebound and hit you in the face!)
    Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat for a total of 3 rounds
    Medicine Ball Slam

    Medicine Ball Slam

7. Kettlebells

Like medicine balls, kettlebells come in many sizes and can easily be taken outside as part of a great workout that will strengthen your upper body, lower body, core and cardio system.

Kettlebell Swings & Squats:

10 swings
1 goblet squat
15 swings
2 goblet squats
25 swings
3 goblet squats
50 swings
Rest 1 minute and repeat for a total of 3-4 rounds

CAUTION: Be sure you have proper form on any kettlebell exercises … I highly recommend working with an experienced coach or trainer for anyone new to kettlebells.
As you can see from the above outdoor workout options, being away from the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout in. Take advantage of playgrounds, hills and parks in your area, and get the whole family involved! To help track your workouts while outside, I also suggest utilizing a fitness tracking tool like the ViaFit – a simple and effective way to making sure you’re getting the most out of all your workouts!


About the writer: Ken Grall is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and owns and operates an Edge Fitness in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Ken.

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