Goodbye, indoor workouts. Hello, strength, cardio, and sunshine!

By Mallory Creveling
May 14, 2021
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Exercising outdoors is like recess—it's freeing and just plain fun. Take advantage of those good feels with this low-equipment workout designed to be done outside, where you have room to jump rope and a bench handy—as you'll often find in parks, on boardwalks, and in playgrounds.

This routine from Francine Delgado-Lugo, CPT, cofounder of Lugo Form Fitness Brooklyn in New York City, combines strength and cardio through a mix of up-and-down, front-to-back, and side-to-side movements that will get your heart pumping and your muscles burning out, so you improve endurance.

Remember: Maintaining strong form and focusing on breathing are always important, but enjoy yourself as you sweat, says Delgado-Lugo. "For me, fitness is about moving well, building confidence, and working toward being the best version of yourself." And this workout will help you achieve just that.

Grab a timer and head outside. Delgado-Lugo suggests the Tabata option (bursts of 40 seconds of work with 20 seconds of rest) on the SmartWOD Timer app. You can also use a stopwatch or keep an eye on your phone's clock. Once your work and rest intervals are set, you're ready to get started. Get your favorite pump-up playlist going, and jump right into the workout. The one thing that would make it even better? Persuade a few friends to join you, too! 

Do each exercise for 40 seconds, completing as many reps as possible. Rest 20 seconds between exercises. Repeat for 3 rounds. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each round.

Jump rope

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

Stand with feet together and a jump rope handle in each hand with the rope behind your heels. Keep elbows at your waist, and use your wrists to swing the rope over your head. Jump double-footed over it, and repeat. Keep knees soft and weight on the balls of your feet. Pay attention to your breath as you go.

Squat

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

(A) Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out. (B) Keeping your chest up and abs engaged, send hips down and back into a squat as you bring arms up to shoulder height. Push feet into the floor to stand up. Repeat. 

Bench dip

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

Start seated on the bench. (A) Place hands behind you, outside of hips, scoot forward, and walk feet out with toes pointed upward. If you're new to dips, keep knees bent; if you want a challenge, straighten legs. Keep butt close to bench and chest lifted. (B) Bend elbows, squeezing shoulder blades back, and lower body a few inches toward the ground. Shoulders should not roll forward as you lower; if they do, don't go as low. Use triceps to press back up and straighten arms. Repeat.

Alternating side lunge with overhead reach

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

(A) Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold folded jump rope with hands shoulder-width apart, pulling it out to create tension. (B) Step out wide with right foot. With left leg straight and spine flat, send hips back and bend right knee. At the same time, reach arms up, pulling shoulder blades back and down, keeping tension on the rope. Push off right foot to stand up again, bringing arms down in front of you. Repeat on left side. Continue alternating. 

Push-up with cross-body knee tuck

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

(A) With hands on top of the bench, walk feet back into a plank pose, shoulders over wrists, chest over bench. Maintain tension, squeezing glutes, quads, and shoulder blades down and back. Bend elbows, and lower body to bench. Keep elbows by ribs. (B) Push back up. Exhale and bring one knee to opposite elbow. Step it back to plank. Repeat combo on opposite side, doing one push-up and one knee tuck per side.

Alternating step-up 

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

Face the bench, standing with feet hip-width apart. (A) Step your entire left foot on top of the bench, shifting weight slightly forward over left foot and hinging at the hips. (B) Drive through left foot to stand on top of the bench fully, with shoulders over hips and tapping right foot on bench. Bend left knee, and lower back down with control. Repeat with right foot; continue alternating. 

Hip thrust 

hip-thrusts
Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

Sit on the ground, back facing the bench, with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. (A) Lift your butt slightly off the ground, with your upper back against the bench and the edge of the bench lining up with the bottom of your shoulder blades. Place hands on hips. (B) With feet planted, scoop your pelvis and squeeze glutes to extend hips toward the sky—avoid lifting with lower back. Knees and ankles should be in one line; same for hips and shoulders. Lower yourself with control, butt coming back toward the ground and bench. Repeat. 

V sit 

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Credit: ANTHONY CUNANAN

Sit on top of bench, placing hands by hips and holding onto the sides of the bench. (A) Lift legs, keeping knees bent, engaging abs and leaning torso back slightly, keeping feet about the same level as hips. (B) Inhale and extend legs straight out, leaning torso back a bit more. Exhale to bring knees back in and chest back up. Repeat. To make this more challenging, let go of the bench and hold arms straight out in front of you. 

This article originally appeared in the  June 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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