You probably have a go-to bodyweight circuit you can bust out in cramped quarters, but what do you do when you’re staring down a wide open field with nothing but space? The lack of constraints can be overwhelming, but having a football field, soccer pitch, or giant backyard all to yourself is an opportunity to get in a dynamic, full-body workout that revs your heart rate and works your muscles.
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For a change, trade your gym and its four walls for green grass, open air, and these seven exercises.
The inch worm is a dynamic stretch you’ll feel in your hamstrings, but it also strengthens the core and shoulders. Stand with your feet together and bend over at the waist, placing the hands on the ground in front of the feet (if you need to, bend the knees slightly). Walk the hands forward and past the shoulders until you’re in an extended plank position. With the hands planted and the legs straight, slowly walk the feet forward with small steps. Once the feet reach the hands, repeat the movement. To warm up, do three sets of five back-to-back inch worms.
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Lateral Rolls with Push-Ups
Rolling on level ground taxes the core muscles, and adding a push-up works the chest and arms. Lie on your back with both arms stretched overhead. This is a core exercise, so, without using your hands, roll yourself onto your stomach. Next, bring the hands under the shoulders and, keeping the elbows in toward the body, push up into a plank position. Lower to the ground and use the left hand to flip onto your back. Repeat, accumulating 12 reps on each side.
Crab Walk with Triceps Dips
On its own, this gym-class throwback smokes the shoulders, arms, core, and glutes in a matter of seconds. And incorporating a dip specifically targets the triceps by using your own body weight for resistance. Get into a reverse tabletop position so that you’re facing upward with your hands and feet on the ground. Lift your hips, engage your butt, and take two steps forward with your hands and feet. Pause and bend your elbows, lowering your butt in a controlled manner. Use the triceps to return to a reverse tabletop position. Travel forward 25 feet, alternating between two steps and one dip, then reverse the motion and walk backward to your original starting point. Repeat 2-4 more times.
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Weighted lunges build bigger leg muscles. But so can unweighted walking lunges if you do a football field’s worth of them. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right foot and bend both knees, keeping the chest up and the shoulders back. Your front knee should be directly over your ankle and in line with your second and third toes, while the back knee should hover just above the ground. As you drive through the right heel, step the left foot forward and bend both knees, maintaining an upright position and the proper alignment of the front knee directly above the ankle. Try finishing your workout with 200 yards (one length of a football field and back) of walking lunges for time.
Long Jumps with Air Squats
Plyometric training goes beyond the wooden box. The long jump, a track-and-field staple, is a great way to get in your reactive training without lugging equipment or heading for the bleachers. Mixing in air squats trains your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. Start with the feet hip-width apart and the knees slightly bent in a quarter squat. Push off the balls of the feet, swing your arms forward, and jump as far as you can, landing with soft knees. Widen your stance to shoulder-width and do three quick air squats: Bring the butt back, bend the knees, lower the hips to below knee-level, and drive through the feet to return to a standing position. Bring the feet hip-width apart and repeat. Do 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps.
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SAQ (Speed, Agility, and Quickness) Drill
Speed, agility, and quickness can make or break a pro athlete’s career, but SAQ drills are also helpful to casual athletes who want to navigate a craggy trail run or survive a competitive game of pick-up soccer. Pick two points that are roughly 10 yards apart. To complete one round, move as fast as you can between these two points using these seven phases:
- Sprint from point A to point B.
- Backpedal (run backward) to point A.
- Side shuffle to point B.
- Side shuffle to point A.
- Carioca (“grapevine,” or side step, crossing alternating feet in front of each other) to point B.
- Carioca to point A.
- Sprint to point B.
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Complete three rounds, attempting to improve upon your best time.
Some studies show that, when it comes to improving cardiorespiratory health and losing weight, short bursts of super intense exercise can be just as effective as longer periods of aerobic exercise. Try switching up your cardio routine by trading a steady run for a few all-out sprints. A regulation football field is ideal, as it’s just a little under 100 meters long. Pick a starting point that’s a few meters from the end zone. Use your first sprint as a warm-up, running at about 70 percent of your fastest pace. For your second attempt, ramp up the intensity to 85 percent of your maximum effort. For rounds 3-8, run as fast as you can, attempting to improve upon your best time. Between sprints, allow three minutes for recovery.