The London parks are some of the best in the world. We are fortunate enough living in NW London to have Primrose Hill, Regents Park and Hampstead Heath right on our doorstep. The beauty of these three parks just mentioned is that they are all very different so you can train with a lot of variety targeting different muscles and energy systems. Primrose Hill is great for hill sprints, Regents Park is good for speed work as it’s so flat and the Heath is amazing for a bit of cross country running. I see people running and exercising outdoors all the time and I know the PGPT team all love to be outside and train both themselves and our clients in these amazing park spaces.
Below I list some simple yet effective exercises to do in a park.
Using a Bench or Swings
- Step ups – stepping up onto a high park bench, 15 reps on each leg will really get those quads and glutes firing and raise your heart rate
- Tricep dips – face away from the bench, place your hands on the edge of the bench and bend your elbows lowering your body towards the floor. Remember to keep those elbows facing back and away from you for maximum tricep engagement
- Explosive jumps – bend the knees and jump up onto the bench. Repeat 12 times and feel the burn in those quads
- Press-ups – these can be down with hands on the bench to make it easier and with feet on the bench and hands on the floor for those who find this too easy. Aim for 10-15 reps or keep going until your arms and chest are fatigued
- Pull-ups – Find the monkey bars and away you go. Start with a close reverse grip as this will be your strongest position then see if you can pull yourself up from a straight arm position until your arm is flexed. If you can manage 10 reps you are doing extremely well.
Use the open space
- Walking lunges – take a big step forwards and lower the back knee towards the floor ensuring you keep your chest up and your front toe ahead of your knee. Tip: raise your arms on each lunch or hold your arms out to the side and face your palms forward to ensure your shoulders are back. Drive from the trailing leg and repeat 10 times on each alternating leg. To get back to your starting potion…
- Sprint – look up and raise those knees and run at your top speed driving with the arms
- Hill sprints – If you can find a hill there’s nothing better for heart rate and fat burn than some hill sprints. As above, but complete 5 sprints using the walk down as your resting recovery
Try this HIIT style workout once or twice a week along with a jog (steady state heart rate) at least once a week for a great workout to complement your gym sessions. Use an app to map your run (Runkeeper & MapMyRun both are fine) so that you know how far you have been and can track your progress and speed. Each week try to improve on wither time or distance. This will keep you motivated.
Exercising does not have to involve a gym. Gardens and parks can have just as much impact. The key is to try and do as many prime movements that we do in day to day life. Pushing, pulling, squatting, twisting, lunging and bending along with different forms of cardio as mentioned above. Get outside while you still can and give the above circuits a try. You will feel more energised and hopefully you will have benefited from a good dose of Vitamin D which can help with your immune system, bone strength and regulation of insulin levels.
Whether you’re looking to stay active and strong during pregnancy, tone up, or lose weight, Nikki has the tools and dedication you need to achieve your goals.