Playground exercises

Playground exercises

Access to a jump rope and a playground with monkey bars is necessary to complete this routine. This is also a good workout to do with a partner, as some exercises might require assistance.

  • Jump Rope: A rope of optimal length should reach your armpits when standing on its center. With hands at hip-level and thumbs pointing out, begin rotating the rope and jump with both legs simultaneously as it approaches your feet. If you do not have a jump rope, refer to traditional jumping jacks instead. Jump for either 30 seconds or 1 minute straight for 3 sets to warm up.
  • Monkey Bars: Depending on the height of the monkey bars, begin with feet either on the ground or on an attached ladder. Holding one bar with one hand and the next bar with the other hand, control your momentum while swinging from one bar to the next. If you find this difficult, bend your knees and have a friend support your feet while you move from one bar to the next. This will challenge your grip strength, coordination, and core stability. Assuming there are about 10 bars, complete between 4 and 6 lengths with rest in-between.
  • Incline Pushups: Use the ladder from the monkey bars or another bar between knee and chest height. While holding the bar firmly, obtain a pushup-ready position. Hands should be below your shoulders, legs should be straight and hips neutral, so that your backside forms a straight line. Perform pushups by bending your arms and bringing your chest towards the bar. Once your chest either touches or comes within an inch of the bar, press against the bar to bring your body back to the original position. This builds muscle in your chest, triceps, and shoulders. Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions. Note that the higher the bar/greater the incline, the easier the pushups will be. Choose a bar height suitable for your strength level.
  • Supine Rows: These can be done with a single bar at roughly hip height. Hang underneath the bar with legs straight and heels on the ground. The position will look opposite to the incline pushup, in that you are under the bar as opposed to above the bar. Keep your hips extended to maintain a straight line with your body throughout the movement. With an underhand grip, so that your palms face your head, pull your body up until your chest either touches or comes within an inch of the bar. Lower your body in a controlled manner and repeat. If this is too difficult, bend your knees and have your feet flat on the ground. If a single bar at hip height is not available, refer to chin-ups on monkey bars with a friend holding your feet to assist if necessary. This will test your back, biceps, glutes, and overall core stability. Perform 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions.
  • Hanging Leg Raises: Hang on to monkey bars with each hand and keep your arms straight as you bend your knees and raise them towards your elbows. Avoid momentum to isolate the muscles. This means no swinging! Too easy? Keep your legs straight and bring your feet towards your hands, but be careful! Too hard? Perform reverse crunches on the ground instead. Do so by lying on your back, holding a bar behind your head, and using your abdominal muscles to bend and pull your knees towards your chest. This exercise targets your abdomen and, once again, involves grip strength if you choose the hanging variation. Perform 3 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.

— Frankie R., Lipscomb University