Forget the dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands at your gym. You don’t need any of them—or a gym membership—for your strength-training sessions. In fact, you can get stronger in the exact same place that you love to run: Outside. The great outdoors can supply a hefty number of training tools, if you’re willing to be creative.
But don’t worry: We’ve done the legwork for you. This summer, we’re giving you the definitive guide on how to train with nature, getting you fit with the equipment that the Earth has always provided—in this case, trees, rocks, and hills. Other than that, you don’t need any equipment at all.
The 12 exercises that follow are a buffet of moves that you can use in infinite circuits. For example, you can do a 12-minute burner, picking four exercises and doing them for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, for 3 rounds.
Or you can do 4 moves from one of nature’s training methods, performing each exercise for 3 full minutes. Or you can do every single exercise offered, resting as needed, for a total-body training session. Whatever you choose, these exercise options will get you out of your boring workout rut—and make you sweat like crazy. So take a break from the gym with these 12 equipment-free exercise options.
1. Trees: Flip Out This takes guts. Hang from a slim branch that supports your weight. In succession, pull your knees to your chest and lower them; swing your feet chest-high (legs straight) and lower them; swing your feet to your shoulders. Eventually you’ll flip over the branch like a gymnast. Try to do 5.
Find a downed tree or branch that’s sturdy enough to hold your weight and long enough for your body. Balance on it to do a side plank, your bottom hand beneath your shoulder. Lift your top leg and extend your top arm. Hold the position for 30 seconds; then switch sides.
Find a tree with bark that won’t cut you or rip from the trunk, and reinvent the wall sit. With your back against the tree (as in a wall sit), lower into a squat, your knees at 90 degrees. Then straighten your right leg and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat with your left leg. That’s 1 rep; do 15.
4. Trees: Backward Climb Meet nature’s military press. Start in a pushup position less than a body’s length away from a sturdy tree trunk, facing away. Keeping your chin tucked, walk your hands toward the tree while walking your feet up the trunk. Finish in a handstand position. Walk back down. Aim for 10 reps.
Find two rocks you can grip. Holding one in each hand, assume a pushup position. Do a rep, and as you press up, pull the rocks off the ground. Land with the rocks farther apart. Repeat, landing wider on the next 2 reps; then do 3 pushups to return to the start. Work for 20 to 60 seconds for 3 sets.
Stand with a large rock between your feet. Drop your hips as with a deadlift, and slide your hands under the rock. Push from your heels and stand, curling the rock up and bringing it toward your left shoulder. Repeat, this time toward your right shoulder. Aim for 20 to 30 reps.
7. Boulders: Walk the Walk One of life’s most practical actions is also the most natural workout with a rock. Simply squat and pick up the heaviest boulder you can. Then, holding it in front of you with both hands, walk as far as you can for 30 to 60 seconds. Too easy for you? Walk uphill to feel like the ultimate badass.
8. Boulders: Throw Stones All you need to shock your cardiovascular system is a rock and a hill. At the top of the hill, squat and pick up the rock, raise it overhead, and throw it down the hill. Run after it, squat, then underhand toss it uphill with both arms. Continue with underhand tosses until you’re back to the top.
It’s total-body claw and order—if you make it. The reverse crab walk hits your glutes, quads, back, and triceps. Face away from the hill and sit on your butt, feet flat. Then lift your body off the ground and walk uphill on your hands and feet. Start with 3 or 4 sets of 50-yard crab walks.
Weighted lunges in the gym can’t prepare you for uphill lunges. “The hill creates your resistance,” says Matt Krause, strength and conditioning coach with the New York Yankees. Start by alternating legs as you lunge upward. Progress to right-leg-only lunges for 30 yards; then switch legs.
Running up a hill is one thing (and not easy). But can you walk up a hill backward? That’s a great quad workout. Bonus: You won’t have to worry about wrecking your knees. (Just for fun, kick your playlist into reverse too.) Start with 5 sets of 20 yards. Then work up to 40 yards, then 60.
Source: Mens Health.com