Spring has sprung! Warm weather is in our grasps, and we're all itching to get outside and start enjoying the demise of the polar vortex and the rise in temperatures. Many of us are starting to go outside to run, walk, or bike and enjoy the fresh air with our exercise. However, everyone still needs strength training in their routine. You don’t always need the gym to build up your muscle, as body weight workouts can be just as effective when getting a full body workout in. The following is a list of exercises that can be completed on your run, walks, or bike rides past the river or downtown La Crosse using what is around you. Try incorporating some of these exercises into your next outdoor cardio session!
Elevated Push-ups with a park bench
Push-ups work your chest, triceps, core, and shoulders. Elevating your feet will make the push-ups more challenging and activate more muscles.
To modify if you're still progressing on your push up, reverse the exercise and elevate your upper body as shown in the second picture.
Triceps Dips with a park bench
Triceps dips will not only work your triceps but also your shoulders and forearms. To make this more challenging, lift one leg and perform the dip with one leg raised.
Lunges are a great workout for the legs, core, and glutes. To make these lunges more challenging, lunge uphill making each step against a little more resistance or do not step feet back together at the top of the lunge to challenge your balance and stability.
Tree Wall Sits
Wall sits (tree sits) work your thighs, calves and lower abs. To make it more challenging, march one foot up at a time. Keep your back pressed on the tree and keep your knees at a 90 degree angle.
This exercise will target your legs, core, glutes, and work on your balance as you step with one foot at a time to the bench and stabilize with one leg working at a time. For a modified step-up, simply place your foot down on the bench and do not raise your knee like shown in the photo.
You can choose to do normal squats with legs hip width apart, or you can make your stance wider to perform a sumo squat, which will emphasize the inner thigh muscles along with your glutes.
Choose points in your walk that you will designate for each of these exercises, working in one to three sets of 12-15 repetitions of each exercise. It's best to alternate between upper body and lower body exercises to keep one from fatiguing quicker but this is a personal preference. Incorporating this with your outdoor cardio makes a great mix for a full body workout!