This 4-Move Circuit Is Perfect for a Backyard Workout

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Grab a resistance band and a mat and take your next full-body workout to the backyard (or a local park) for some fresh air.
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Burpees feel like they shake the entire living room. With every jump squat there's a risk of knocking a glass off a table or a book off the shelf. Lower-impact exercises, like yoga or stretching, are easy enough to do in all settings, but let's face it: Most of our homes just aren't built for high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Just a few steps away lies your HIIT heaven: the backyard. Not only will your pricey interior decor stay safe, you'll also benefit personally: Outdoor exercise — especially if you're surrounded by greenery or near water — can reduce stress, lessen mental fatigue and improve mood and self-esteem, according to a 2013 review in Extreme Physiology and Medicine.

When you're ready to break a backyard sweat, try this four-move circuit from Plankk Studio trainer Massy Arias. (Just remember to prep your skin with some SPF!) Aim for two to three rounds for a quick workout you can do anywhere.

1. Banded Curl Into Single-Leg Row

  1. With one foot, step on the middle of a longer resistance band and stagger your feet with neutral hips.
  2. Grab the band with a neutral grip, retracting your shoulders and curling the band toward them.
  3. As you lower the band, contract your triceps.
  4. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your arms straight and close to your thighs.
  5. Keep your hips and spine neutral with a slight bend in your stationary leg.
  6. Once your body is parallel to the ground, row the ends of the band so that your wrists are close to your rib cage.
  7. Release your arms and lower your leg back to the start.

Reps: 6 to 8 on each side

2. Push-Up to Single-Leg Downward-Facing Dog With Knee Drive

  1. Start in a high plank with a neutral spine, arms a little more than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower into a push-up, chest hovering right above the ground.
  3. Press back up to a high plank.
  4. Shift your weight back in to a three-legged Downward Facing Dog by pressing into your palms and bringing your hips up toward the ceiling. At the same time, bring your right leg as high as you can without rotating your hips.
  5. Shift your weight forward to return to a plank and tuck your knee into your chest.
  6. Straighten your leg and repeat.

Reps: 6 to 8 on each side

Tip

It's OK if you can't extend your leg very high during this exercise. Build your balance and flexibility gradually and keep your back safe and flat throughout the movement.

3. Step Down to Step Up

  1. Stand sideways on a bench or other stable platform with your left foot at the edge.
  2. Plant your right leg and lower your left foot slowly to the ground, hinging forward at your hips.
  3. Tap your left foot to the ground, then press through your right heel to use your glutes and hamstrings to lift your left leg back up.
  4. Focus on keeping your right foot planted with most of the weight in your heel as you lift your left leg up toward your chest, stopping when your knee forms a 90-degree angle.

Reps: 6 to 8 on each side

4. Mini Band Side Shuffle

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  1. Place a mini band (resistance loop) an inch above your knees or ankle.
  2. Squat down slightly and take a wide step to the right with your right foot.
  3. Step your left foot over to where your right foot was to begin with.
  4. As your left foot comes down, move your right foot further to the right, following with your left foot.

Reps: 12 shuffles to each side

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