Playground Workouts

A pick-up game of basketball, jumping rope or pull-ups on the monkey bars...

Taking the kids to the playground just took on a whole new meaning! Doing a playground workout lets you be imaginative and have fun.

Not everything on this page is strictly a cardiovascular workout but by combining exercises, you can create a circuit workout.

Jump Rope

A simple workout that can be done anywhere...not just the playground!

  • First - jump rope is probably not a good idea if you have trouble handling high-impact exercises. The constant jumping can be rough if you're not used to it.
  • Second - you need a rope. The type of rope (plastic, beaded or cloth) is up to you but make sure its the right length.

                          - step on the middle of the rope with one foot

                          - pull the handles taught

                          - the handles should reach to between your arm pit and the top of your shoulder

  • Third - have fun with it! It doesn't have to be complicated...just 10-15 minutes of steady jumping and you'll burn calories and work up a serious sweat.

If you want to change things up or get creative, here's a quick jump rope workout.

15 minute workout - complete the circuit twice 

  • 2 minutes: Single Jump - jump with both feet and jump once per turn of the rope
  • 30 seconds: Figure-8 Turns - no jumping, this is a rest interval. Bring rope handles together with both hands and turn the rope from side to side alternating hip to shoulder
  • 2 minutes: Skip Jump - jump with one foot, alternating feet with each turn of the rope
  • 30 seconds: Figure-8 Turns
  • 1 minute: Jumping-Jack Jumps - land with feet wider than hip width. On the next jump, land with feet together. Repeat.
  • 1 Minute: Single Jump
  • 30 seconds: Figure-8 Turns

Hula Hoop

Hooping is a new fitness craze that can be so much fun!

If you haven't hooped since elementary school it might take a few tries to get the hang of it but stick with it. Hooping is a great cardio workout with almost no impact. If you're just starting out, larger, heavier hoops are generally easier to use.

  • If you set the hoop vertically on the ground in front of you, it should come up to between your waist and chest.

Getting started:

Hold the hoop horizontally at your waist with it touching your back. Give the hoop a forceful spin in whatever direction you prefer.

Everyone has a preferred direction for hooping but its a good idea to try hooping in both directions to promote balance and stability.

Keep the hoop going by pushing your hips forward each time the hoop spins across your stomach. Rock your body weight back and forth in a steady rhythm. Remember to keep your arms above the hoop!

Weighted hula hoops can add value to your workout. A weighted hoop moves a little slower making it easier to keep it going for longer. Experiment with different weights and sizes to see what works for you.

For a good playground workout, practice hooping for a certain number of minutes or rotations and try to better your time or score.

Once you're comfortable keeping the hoop going, try incorporating some other moves.

  • walking while hooping
  • turning in a tight circle while hooping
  • spinning the hoop higher or lower on your body or on your arms/hands
  • moving the hoop around while maintaing the spin

Circuit Workout

Most parks have some type of children's play equipment that includes monkey bars or something similar or at least a bench. This is enough to get a fun workout!

Be respectful if you're working out during a busy time of day...parents will probably think you're crazy and kids won't like you using the equipment. After is for them.

That said, play around, have fun and have a great workout.

A circuit is an efficient way to get a complete workout. The following is a list of some exercises you can include to make up an easy playground workout. Complete 10-12 reps of each or choose just a few. Do 1 minute of cardio (jump rope, hula hoop, running in place, etc.) in between each set and repeat the whole circuit 3 times.

  • Bench Step-Ups (forward) - Stand facing the bench and step onto the bench seat with one foot. Push through your heel and stand up onto the bench. Step back down and repeat with the opposite foot. (If your shoes are dirty, be sure to wipe the bench when you're done.)
  • Bench Step-Ups (sideways) - Stand along side a bench with your left side facing the bench. Step onto the bench seat with your left foot. Push through your heel and lift yourself so you're balanced on your left foot on the bench. Lower back down and repeat. Once the set is complete, turn around and repeat on the right side.
  • Lunges - Start in a standing position with hands on your hips. Step a big step forward and lower your body so the knee of your back leg almost touches the ground. Keep the knee of your front leg at 90 degrees. Push back up to a standing position and step forward with the other foot and repeat.
  • Angled Push-Ups - These can be done on a bench back or bench seat depending on how much of a challange you want. Begin with arms positioned on bench back slightly wider than shoulder width and your feet far enough behind you to create a straight line with your body from your shoulders to your heels. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself to the bench back until your chest almost touches, then slowly push up. Repeat.
  • Bench Dips - Begin by sitting on a bench and place your hands on the edge of the bench with fingers curled around the edge. Your hands should be close to your body. Walk your feet out in front of you and scoot your butt off the bench so your supported by your arms. Lower your body until your elbows are bent 90 degrees and push back up to a straight-arm position. Repeat.
  • Pull ups or Rows - If the playground has a bar high enough to do pullups then grab the bar with palms facing you or facing away, whichever you prefer. Start with arms straight (you may have to lift your feet off the ground for this). Pull yourself up until your chin comes level with or above the bar. Lower slowly and repeat. If there is not a bar high enough to do pullups, you can try bodyweight rows. Grab a bar slightly wider than shoulder width and walk your feet under the bar and out in front of you. Rest your heels on the ground so you are hanging under the bar with arms straight down and body in straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping your body in a straight line, pull your chest up towards the bar. Lower and repeat.
  • Hanging Knee Tucks - This should be done on a bar high enough to allow your body to hang almost straight. Grab the bar with palms facing away from you and let your arms hang straight. Using your abdominal muscles, lift your knees and tuck them towards your chest. Hold for 3 seconds, lower and repeat.