There’s something about an outdoor workout. The sun on your skin, a slight breeze, no ceiling – just infinity above you. Without walls, it feels like your energy has been uncaged. Outdoor workouts are the best part of summer.
The ability to get jacked anywhere is also a huge benefit of having a home gym. Especially if you have a garage gym, it’s easy to take the Farmer’s Carry Handles or barbell onto the driveway, grass, or nearby park and mix up your workout in a different environment. Most of your home gym gear can be easily moved into the sunshine, except maybe your fully loaded power rack and functional trainer/cable machine.
Looking for some summer sweat inspo? Here are eight of our favorite ways to plan an epic outdoor workout. Sunscreen not included (but recommended).
1. PULL SLED
Frighten and/or entertain your neighbors when they see you playing sled dog through the community park with a Pull Sled. This sled is inexpensive, compact, and lightweight (only 29lbs), so it’s easy to store during actual sled dog season – but the benefits are vast. Sled pulls are a great, full-body functional training exercise for people of all ages and abilities. Build strength and improve your endurance and conditioning at the same time.
Reverse sled pulls (walking backward) are especially key to building strong knees. Just ask the well-respected “Knees Over Toes Guy,” who agrees sled pulls are one of the best ways to build up your knees. They’re easy to learn and adjust, too. Just add or remove weight on the uprights.
Sandbags are a natural outdoor workout. They’re great for functional training (as well as a Strongman staple) and super versatile.
Use them for almost anything you’d use a barbell for: lunges, deadlifts, squats, snatches, clean and presses, shoulder presses, good mornings, high pulls, pullovers – as well as things you could do with a dumbbell (but couldn’t use a barbell for) such as burpee snatches, Russian twists, step-ups, wood chops, and hammer curls.
And use them for things you couldn’t use either for, such as sandbag tosses, sandbag sprints/hikes, and sandbag getups (like a Turkish getup but with a sandbag).
Kettlebells are small, easy to move, and versatile, making them an excellent tool for a workout in the park. They pack a ton of benefits in a small package: improved grip, core strength, balance, flexibility, strength training, and coordination.
They can make for great compound exercises and provide a cardio workout at the same time as they build muscles.
Kettlebells are best known for their swings and Turkish getups, but you can also use them for a clean and press, squat, deadlift, single-leg Romanian deadlift, thruster, triceps extension, single arm row – just about anything you can use a dumbbell for, and more.
Here’s a quick video on how to properly do a kettlebell swing. Hint: Use your hips.
4. WEIGHT PLATES
Even if you don’t have a kettlebell or any dumbbells and you don’t want to haul a whole barbell to fields around the world (a la Clay Cooper), you can still make the most of a weight plate or two.
Any plates will do, although the built-in holes around Equalizers make great handles for exercises like lunges, shrugs, and farmer’s carries.
That being said, if you do want to take your deadlifts to a scenic location, it’s not too hard to pull a dumbbell and some plates outside on your driveway – or better yet, the grass. You don’t want to crack the cement (ugh, speaking from experience).
Dumbbells are a given for an outdoor workout, and REP offers a variety of options to choose from: adjustable, urethane, hex, rubber coated, ergo.
The hex dumbbells have a hexagon-shaped head that prevents them from rolling, so you can balance on them during plank-rows and weighted burpees. Plus, they won’t roll away into the street. REP offers several different types of hex dumbbells.
One type, the Rubber Hex Dumbbells, are made with a rubber that's easy on your floors (or the sidewalks). Even the handles are rubber, which means no need to warm up cold, steel handles on a chilly morning.
The Ergo Hex Dumbbells have center knurled handles for maximum grip. The regular Hex Dumbbells are a combo of the two: rubber coated ends with chrome, knurled handles.
Or Adjustable Dumbbells are ideal for home gyms that don't have enough space for a full rack of weights.
6. MEDICINE BALL
Take a med ball for a ride and build explosive movements, core strength, and coordination. Practice wall balls on the side of the garage. Medicine ball cleans, throws, and partner workouts are fun, too.
Note: A Medicine Ball is not a slam ball; it’s not designed to be slammed on the street. But a slam ball does make another dope outdoor workout. REP’s Slam Balls are weighted and super durable, with a double-thick shell and reinforced air valve designed to withstand thousands of slams. Just make sure you don’t blast it against sharp rocks. A smooth, clean surface is your friend.
7. PLYO BOX
Sure, you could do your jumps, step-ups, and (everyone’s favorite) Bulgarian split squats onto a park bench, picnic bench, or playground equipment. But a Plyo Box is specially designed to stay in place and absorb your jumps.
And if you miss, you’ll be glad if your shins meet a soft plyo box. No scraping, bruising, and bumps. The foam helps absorb the impact, and thick, grippy vinyl is textured to reduce slipping of both your feet and the box on the floor – unlike a hot, metal park bench.
8. OXYLUS YOKE
The Oxylus Yoke is the outdoor workout for the summer of 2022, and for good reason. First, unless you have a pretty large home gym, you’ll want to take this bad boy outside anyway for yoke runs.
You can carry it like a yoke (Strongman style), but also use it as a squat rack, sled, and deadlift carry. And it’s compatible with a ton of attachments, including the dip, landmine, utility horn, spotter arms, leg rollers, and J-cups. It’s surprisingly versatile.
Time to level up your summer.