Why not kick start your weekend by getting active outside and follow our Garden Workouts for some fun ways to burn extra calories, whilst toning your muscles and getting you fit as well. Have fun with your partner or family in this light-hearted interactive workout that is filled with challenging and interesting exercises that will leave you breathless and will put the color back in your cheeks on a cold winters’ day.
Before you venture outside into the cold why not begin with a Tag Team Stair Climb (see below). This is a great warm up exercise that will get your heart beating faster and help prepare your muscles for the garden workouts below.
1. Tag Team Stair Climb
This is a great warm up fitness drill before going outside in the cold.
- Begin at the bottom of the stairs and initially climb the stairs one-at-a-time at a comfortable pace, to the top before returning back down and then resting whilst your partner goes.
- When your partner/kids have taken their go, repeat the stair climb but at a slightly faster
- Continue these stair intervals increasing your pace and after 3-5 climbs, maybe introduce climbing 2 stairs with every step, to really work your legs and backside.
- Try and achieve between 5 and 10 stair climbs before heading into the garden for the full workout.
2. Piggy-Back Races
This is a great interactive interval workout for you and your partner, working your legs, heart and lungs.
- Jump or climb onto your partners back and hang on so that your partner can carry you across the garden for 10 yards and back again.
- Then on returning, swap places and repeat.
- If your partner is a bit on the heavy side make sure they are careful when climbing ‘on-board’ and only aim to cover 5-10 yards total distance.
- This is great fun and a fantastic calorie burner, working not only your heart and lungs but also your legs and bottom as well.
3. Partner Squats
This is very challenging but is a great leg and backside toner.
- Stand facing your partner and hold hands with your partner bracing themselves so you can lean back slightly, with your partner taking some of your weight.
- Raise your right foot off the floor to take your weight onto your left leg whilst still holding your partners’ hands.
- From this position bend your left leg to squat down on this leg maintaining your balance before extending your leg to return to the start position.
- Aim to achieve 8-12 single-leg squats on your left leg before swapping legs and repeating on your right.
- After completing your set, take your partners weight so they can lean back slightly and complete their set, before repeating again.
4. Dynamic Push-Up
If you have mastered normal push-ups, try this modification using a stability ball.
- Begin on your knees, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart with the stability ball under your right hand. (If you don’t have a stability ball a small football would be fine).
- Keeping your torso rigid and abdominal braced bend both your arms to lower your chest towards the ground, pausing briefly as it reaches about 6 inches from the ground.
- Then extend your arms, pushing against the ground to return to the start position.
- In this position roll the stability ball underneath you towards your left hand, placing your right hand onto the ground and then lifting your left arm to place your left hand on the stability ball.
- From this position, lower your chest to the floor as before and then push yourself back to the extended position, this time rolling the stability ball back across to your right hand and repeat the sequence of push-ups for 15-20 in total.
- To intensify this drill, try performing the push ups with straight legs, balancing on your hands and feet.
- You can also make this exercise interactive by rolling the ball across to your partner after each repetition, allowing you to rest or even maintain the start position working your core muscles without moving, until your partner rolls the ball back and you perform another push up using your other hand on the ball.
5. Wheelbarrow Races
This is a tough one to do properly but is an excellent workout for your upper body and core muscles.
- Start in the push up position with your legs behind you and feet together.
- Your body should remain perfectly rigid throughout.
- Your partner would then lift your legs off the floor holding your ankles.
- This might be enough for most people, but to make this harder try and walk forwards on your hands over 3-10 yards keeping your body and legs straight.
- Make sure you tense your abdominal throughout and don’t let your back sag at any stage
6. Partner Row
A great back and arm exercise for both of you to enjoy.
- Stand facing your partner holding an old towel in your right hands’.
- Ensure you both have a balanced stance as you will be pulling against each other.
- For this exercise to work well you have to co-ordinate your pulling and work with each other.
- Holding onto the towel, pull your right elbow back to bring your right hand to your chest with your partner providing the resistance, by pulling on the towel, yet still allowing you to perform the exercise.
- Your partner should provide enough resistance for you to struggle but manage to pull the towel so that your right hand can just reach your rib cage, then you should provide the resistance as your partner pulls the towel with their right arm, bringing their right hand towards their ribs.
- Repeat this ‘resisted see-saw’ technique for 15-20 repetitions using your right arm, before swapping hands and repeating, holding the towel in your left hands.
- If your partner is much stronger than you, then structure the exercise so that you pull with both arms, yet they only use one.
Skipping is a fantastic exercise for your fitness, agility and co-ordination.
- Keep your knees bent when you land and try not to jump too high with each jump.
- You might find it easier with a double bounce between each turn of the rope but gradually try and build up to single bounces between each jump.
- If you are not used to skipping aim for 20–45 seconds followed by a similar recovery.
- As you progress and your technique improves try practicing some tricks and stunts with the rope like ‘crossovers’ and ‘double-turns’.
- Try and build up to one minute skipping, then take a minutes rest while your partner skips.
- Alternately why not create a superset by skipping for a minute while your partner performs the Garden Bench Dips and then you swap exercises for another minute and then repeat.
8. Garden Bench Dips
Probably the best exercise to target those Bingo Wings.
- Move yourself onto the edge of a garden bench or low wall so that you are supporting your weight on your arms with your fingers forwards and your legs outstretched and slightly bent.
- Lower yourself to the floor by bending the elbows to 90? and then extend to return to the start position.
- To make this harder you can rest your legs on some bricks or an upturned bucket or even a ball.
- Alternately, to make this easier, bend your legs more and move your feet closer towards you.
9. Escape Drill
This one is tough but a great way to challenge your fitness.
- Tuck a resistance tube (or a 2 meter piece of cord), loosely into your shorts or T-shirt and have your partner do the same.
- This is a ‘marking’ drill whereby you have to try and stay as close to your partner as possible, while they have to get away from you.
- They are not allowed to turn and simply run, rather by moving side-to-side or backwards and with rapid direction changes to ‘escape’ from you, whilst facing each other throughout.
- If your partner can get more than 2 meters away the resistance tube or cord will be stretched and will pop out of your shorts.
- When this happens, swap over so that you are the person trying to escape with your partner trying to stay close to you.
10. Stability Ball Reaction
This is a fun way to challenge your core strength, balance and reactions.
- Stand on one leg with your abdominal braced and both knees slightly bent, holding a stability ball and facing your partner.
- Throw the stability ball to your partner without losing your balance.
- Your partner should catch the stability ball (whilst also standing on one leg), absorbing its force, and then throw the ball back with force so that when you catch it you struggle to maintain your balance.
- Ensure that throughout the drill and especially on the throwing and catching aspects that your abdominal are fully braced and your legs are both slightly bent yet remain standing on one leg throughout.
- Repeat for 30 seconds to 1 minute before resting briefly and repeating on your other leg (your partner should also change their balancing leg at this point).
- It is important to keep your upper torso and legs relatively still to really challenge your proprioceptive balance and dynamic core stability.
These are the 10 best outdoor garden workouts that you can do build muscles and burn fat. If you have some more suggestions, please do let us know by leaving your feedback in comments.