Finding the time to workout is a huge challenge for most moms. Time for working out often comes at the expense of much needed down time- either when the children are sleeping or during your precious evening hours after work. What if instead of sacrificing this personal time, you could squeeze in a workout while also hanging out with the family? Our solution: The Playground Workout.
We’ve compiled our 10 favorite strength exercises and a few bonus cardio moves that can be done while the kids are playing or even alongside your older children. Why not lace up your sneakers and join in for a family sweat session?
Listed below are several moves that you can do either alone or with your child. If you’re a trained athlete or just starting out, there is something here for everyone.
Try doing a set of 10 repetitions for each move before taking a break. Repeat each circuit 2-3 times!
- Find a park bench or step and try jumping up with both feet. Make sure you step down carefully one foot at a time before jumping again. This move can wear out your legs fast!
This move targets your core and arms. Remember to engage your core by pulling your abdomen toward your spine.
- Find either two bars about shoulder distance apart or a single bar that runs parallel to the ground for your plank station. Extend your arms out in front of you, shoulder distance apart, holding a plank position for up to 60 seconds.
Dips target your triceps and shoulders. Be sure to keep your core engaged and aligned throughout the movement.
- Find a step or use the bottom of a slide as a dip station. Place your hands on the edge of the surface you choose and lower yourself slowly down and back up. Try to dip as low as a 90 degree angle at the elbows before pushing back up.
This move targets your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Remember to keep your core engaged.
- Find a pole or sturdy vertical surface to lean against and slide down until you are in a squat position. Try to hold this move for up to 60 seconds. For more of a challenge, hold one leg out in front of you at a time, alternating legs every 10 seconds.
Push-ups on an incline target your arms and remove the pressure off your abdominal muscles. This allows you to do more repetitions with better form.
- Find either two bars about shoulder distance apart or a single bar that runs parallel to the ground for your push-up station. Try lowering yourself down slowly for 2 counts and back up for 1 count. For an extra challenge, lower yourself down even slower, up to 4 counts, before pushing back up.
This move targets your quadriceps, glutes, and even your core as you push off your back leg while moving forward.
- Standing at one end of the playground, feet shoulder width apart, step forward with one leg. Bend both knees so that your front knee is at a 90 degree angle in front of you. Push off your front leg, bringing your back leg back to the starting position. Continue with the opposite leg, alternating until you reach either the opposite end of the playground or complete a circle around the play equipment.
Feel like you could use more of a challenge? Include a few of these more difficult moves for a full-body strength circuit.
Pull-ups target your shoulders, back, and arms.
- If you are new to pull-ups, try jumping up to the top of the move and lowering down slowly. Once you gain more strength, you can try jumping up less and less until you are able to do one full movement on your own.
Swingset decline plank:
Planks on a decline target your core and arms. Using the swing forces your core to work harder in order to stabilize the movement.
- While kneeling with your hands and knees on the ground in front of a swing, reach back with each foot, placing them on the swing behind you. Walk out with your hands until you are in a comfortable plank position (hands placed squarely under each shoulder). Hold this position for up to 60 seconds.
Swingset Decline Push-ups:
Push-ups on a decline target your core, arms, and chest. Using the swing forces your core to work harder in order to stabilize the movement.
- While kneeling with your hands and knees on the ground in front of a swing, reach back with each foot, placing them on the swing behind you. Walk out with your hands until you are in a comfortable plank position (hands placed squarely under each shoulder or slightly wider than shoulder position). Slowly lower your body down for 2 counts and back up for 1 count.
Climbing across the monkey bars requires arm, core strength, and coordination!
- You’ll probably have to keep your knees bent in order to hang from the bars, but try climbing across with your hands just as you did as a kid. You may be surprised with how challenging this really is!
Do you feel like no workout is complete without some cardio? Feel free to mix in any of these heart-pumping moves in between circuits for a full-body burn:
Try building up to doing this workout 3-4 times a week. You can alternate the moves for an upper or lower body burn if you need more of a break. Earn extra credit by walking to the park or parking a few blocks away if you have to drive. Let us know in the comments if you give the workout a try and feel free to suggest a few of your own bonus moves!
Looking for some at home post-baby body workouts? Check out our other articles on getting in shape here:
Best at Home Work Outs to get you in Shape in 2014
Hip & Leg Strengthening
Arm & Shoulder Toning
Photo credits: Katherine