Work Out at Home

Create the Perfect Backyard Gym

Use the gear in your garage or backyard to craft an intense total body circuit that will keep you in top shape all spring and summer long

Sidewalk Chalk

Trainers agree that the key to an effective outdoor workout—versus futzing around in the backyard—is setting up a circuit. Use chalk to write a list on the driveway or sidewalk of the exercises you will perform and how long or how many reps you will spend at each station. Here are a few suggestions for how to structure your workout.

16-Station Circuit
Kelli Calabrese, CSCS, a clinical exercise physiologist and author of Feminine, Firm & Fit, suggests this heavily varied routine: Set up a circuit of 16 different exercises. Spend 45 seconds at each station, then rest for 15 seconds before moving to the next. Repeat for a total of 3 circuits. For a greater challenge, perform the circuit for a total of 4 times, or sprint around the perimeter of your property or jump rope for 2 minutes between each station.

The PPT Rule
PPT stands for push something, pull something, and tote something, and it’s one of the techniques Brandon Richey, CSCS, owner of Brandon Richey Fitness in Buford, GA, uses to help his clients craft nine-drill outdoor circuits. How it’s done: Perform three exercises from each category. “Pull” moves include kettlebell drags or kettlebell swings (more on these later). Examples of “push” exercises are pushups or wheelbarrow runs. “Tote” moves are things like the farmer’s walk or an overhead kettlebell press.

Body Weight Blend Circuit
David Jack, a performance coach and director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, MA, suggests alternating body weight exercises with moves that require a fitness object. Spend 20 to 30 seconds at each station, rest and recover for another 20 to 30 seconds, then move on to the next exercise.“Set it up how you want to work out, and remember that form is always a critical factor,” says Jack. “Just go out and have some fun with it, feel the sun, get your toes in the grass, and have a blast.”

Manual Labor Circuit
Jack also suggests that if you have yard work to tackle, turn it into a workout. Create a circuit of timed intervals for each task on your to-do list. For example, remove as many weeds as you can for 2 minutes, then rake vigorously for 30 seconds, then load a wheelbarrow and book it to your drop-off point, then restart the circuit. Bonus points if your spring cleanup includes moving rocks.

VIDEO: Get your spring break body at home.