Ditch the Gym for the Playground

During the summer turn a day at the park into a challenging and free workout

Text by Tamara Podry | Photography by Jim Wells

Put your gym membership on hold and get a killer workout while the kids play! Tamara Podry, Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and co-owner of Anchor Fitness has developed a routine that will give you a full body blast. It’s fast, effective and it’ll leave you feeling energized and ready for more. Every parent at the park will be asking you where you learned these moves!

If you’ve ever used a TRX Suspension Trainer before, you know that it’s a great tool that provides an extremely effective and challenging workout. If you’ve never used one before, don’t worry, after trying this workout you’ll understand just how the suspension trainer improves muscle coordination, strength (especially in your core) and cardiorespiratory endurance. Tamara uses the TRX regularly with her clients and in her personal fitness pursuits. But, if you’re not ready to buy your own for $150+, try this playground workout for similar results.

Equipment Needed: water and possibly a yoga mat depending on what surface is under the swing After a thorough warm up, which may include:

• Walking/Jogging 5 mins
• Swing Supported Squats
• Arm Circles, Ankle Circles
• Mountain Climbers
• Forward Bend, Roll up with Shoulder Roll (repeat 2-3 times)

(All exercises should be done 10-15 times on each side, going 2-4 times through the circuit) Reach under the swing and pull it up to chest height, with your palms open on the seat, elbows bent (like you’re at the top of a bicep curl). Position your feet under the swing and your body in a plank leaning away from the swing. (the further under the swing you anchor your feet the more challenging the move). Spread your feet so they are just wider than hip width and toes slightly pointed out.

Squat down, sitting back with your weight in your heels, as low as you can while keeping your back straight and chest up.

Press through your heels to come up to a standing position, then extend your hands overhead in a straight path until fully extended. Keep tension on the swing throughout the motion. Pause and return to start

Forearm Roll Out

Stand a large step behind where the swing is when it is at rest. Bend your knees and position your forearms on the seat with palms pressed together.

While keeping your feet planted, allow the swing to “roll out” as far as you can while staying in control (go slow at first). Contract your abs and lats (the back muscle below your armpits) to pull the swing back to the starting position

Single Arm Chest Press

Put one hand on the top of the swing, press into it and bring it up to chest level. Where you anchor your feet will depend on the amount of resistance you can handle – start with your feet positioned a big step past the bottom resting point of the swing, with your feet wide.

Allow the arm with the hand in the swing to bend to a 90 degree angle – like a push up on one side. Do this slowly while maintaining a strong core and plank body position. Press the arm straight, returning to start position

Single Leg Squat

Stand a few feet away from the resting position of the swing and place one foot in the swing. Turn your body so you are facing to the side of the swing and your foot is laying on it’s inner side in the swing with your leg fully extended.

Squat on the standing leg, sitting back like you’re going to sit in a chair, with your weight in your heels and back straight. Go as low as you can, trying to bend the knee to a 90 degree angle. Press up to the starting position *optional: add a small jump at the top

Pistol Squat

Reach under the swing and grab hold of it. Walk back until it is fully extended. Hold the swing in the crook of your bent arms.

Position one foot in the center line of the swing and extend the other foot out in front of you. Begin to squat on the standing leg, slowly going down as far as you can while staying in control. Don’t go too far, or you won’t be able to get back up! Sit back again, like you’re sitting in a chair, weight in your heels, knees tracking over your foot.

When you’ve reached the bottom of your range of motion, press back up to start position using the glutes and quads to drive the movement.


Place one foot in the swing, position both hands on the ground and then raise your other foot and place in the swing as well (this can be a little tricky, but with practice it gets much easier) Arms and legs are fully extended. You should now be in a plank position with hands under shoulders and your body making a straight line from feet to head. Hold for 20-60 secs.

Take one foot out and then the other *progression – start in a plank and bring knees to chest then back to plank, while staying in control and keeping the core strong.

If you enjoyed this workout, and you want more – contact Anchor Fitness today! If this workout seems intimidating or you’re not comfortable doing it on your own – set up your fitness assessment today and we will design a program personalized for you! Don’t waste your summer on the treadmill, let us help you take your fitness outdoors. Anchor Fitness also offers seasonal outdoor classes such as yoga, stand up paddle boarding, triathlon preparation and a HIIT class inspired by the popular obstacle course races. Check out their website and get signed up today!