Summertime is almost here and the most common train of thought amongst us gym goers is, "I gotta get in shape for the beach," and again most of us are slogging it out in the weight room of our high school or university, or at our local gym trying to get that illustrious "Beach Body".
I certainly have noticed myself that over the years we spend so much time in the gym, getting into shape and staying in shape over the summer that we actually forget to go out there and enjoy the summer months, or we simply do not have time between getting in workouts and actually working, some of us actually have jobs and still have to hit the gym. Sad I know!
For this particular reason, I tend to steer people away from the gym during this time of the year, and try and get them to train outside in the great outdoors. There are umpteen activities to choose from such as: mountain biking, roller blading, jogging, walking, tag football, touch rugby, soccer, volleyball ... I could go on here forever, but to be honest I'm starting to get a little bored already.
I need a workout, a REAL workout! I want to feel the pump ... the rush! I want unbridled vascularity! I want everyone on the beach to turn and imagine at least two of the seven deadly sins - Envy and Lust. Come on, anyone who doesn't want to be in shape and turn the heads of the opposite sex has an issue.
So, where the heck is the training I hear you say? I'm getting to it, hold your horses. Now remember I am advocating the whole great outdoors thing, getting in some fresh air and sun, and avoiding the air-conditioned vastness of your local fitness center. This particular workout is a no nonsense, take no prisoners, weight-free workout.
Weight-free? Did we just read that right? Yes, weight-free. Let me explain. This workout is going to be done in a circuit training fashion. It is fast-paced and muscle straining beyond belief. We stick to my old favorites, the compound exercises.
Here is an example of what I am talking about:
- Back: Pullups
- Chest: Push Ups
- Biceps: Chinups
- Triceps: Dips
- Abs: Crunches
- Legs: Walking Lunges
- Shoulders: Headstand Push Ups
Hopefully that has given you a clearer picture of this particular beach-body workout. The great thing about this workout is that most regional parks, beaches, running spots all have the necessary amenities to make this program viable.
There are chinning bars, parallel bars, benches, etc. All of which can be utilized to get you the best beach body around, even if it is only the beach you made for your little brother out of his sand box and paddling pool in your backyard.
So let's get to it and see how this program is actually going to look. First and foremost, ensure that you are in good health and have gotten the all clear from your doctor.
Warm up with a light 5-minute jog around the park/beach that you are using and follow up with some light stretching. The circuit is going to be centered on achieving a set number of repetitions per exercise; the number today is 15 (I feel like the count from Sesame Street).
Back: Pullups - 15 Reps
- An overhand grip should be used here, and hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width. On the "pull up" phase of the movement the emphasis should be focused on contracting the lats.
Pull up fast, and then on the negative phase lower the body down slowly, maximizing the amount of muscle fibers recruited.
Abs: Hanging Leg Raises - 15 Reps
- Again hanging from the chin bar with the hands slightly wider than the shoulders. Keeping the feet together tense the abdominals, focus on drawing the belly button towards the spine raise the knees until the thighs are parallel to the ground.
Return to the start position slowly under control so as to avoid a swinging motion. Advanced trainers can keep the knees extended throughout this movement.
Legs: Plie Squats - 15 Reps
- Standing with legs straddled and feet pointing away from the body, hold a weight between the thighs (a medicine ball is ideal) and squat down until thighs are parallel to the ground. As you return to the standing position drive forward with the glutes.
Shoulders: Bodyweight Shoulder Press - 15 Reps
- This exercise is for advanced trainers. You will need to find a wall or tree if you do not have a training partner. The starting position is like a handstand.
Lower yourself toward the ground until the head is approximately one inch above the ground before pressing out to an elbows-locked position. This is one rep. Alternatively an exercise band can be used and one can perform standing shoulder press.
Abs: Crunches - 15 Reps
- While lying on the ground with the knees bent up toward the torso begin to raise the shoulder blades off the ground, tensing the abdominals maximally before returning to the start position.
Legs: Step Ups - 15 Reps
- Using a park bench, step up onto the bench using a left/right-right/left alternation. As you step, ensure that the abdominals are kept tight; focus on trying to draw the belly button towards the spine.
Biceps: Chinups - 15 Reps
- With an underhand grip, place the hands narrower than shoulder width (approximately six inches apart). The concentric phase of the movement, the pull-up, should be fast.
Pause at the top for a second before slowly returning the start position. Swinging of the legs should be avoided.
Triceps: Bench Dips - 15 Reps
- Using the park bench for support, lean back using the hands for support. Keeping the stomach tight and the back erect, dip down until you feel a good stretch in the triceps before extending upwards until triceps are fully flexed.
Legs: Walking Lunges - 15 Reps
- Pick a nice stretch in the park or beach that will allow you to get at least 30 long paces. Start with the hands on the hips and walk out into the lunge.
As you push up off of the forward leg, raise the rear leg and flex the glutes before bringing it forward in one smooth movement into the next lunge. Repeat on each leg until all reps are completed.
There should be minimal rest between exercises, and rest for only 30 seconds between circuits. This workout is designed to stimulate the muscles to create a solid toned look, while simultaneously burning fat - cardio and resistance training in one workout. It doesn't get any better than that!
So what are you waiting for, get on the sunscreen and shades, give the gym a miss and head for your local park or beach to get your workout on. The great outdoors is the ultimate gym, it's open 24/7, and best of all, it's totally free!