in: Fitness, Health & Fitness

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

The Playground Workout [VIDEO]

Spring is in full swing and the weather is finally warming up nicely. So instead of going from one air-conditioned, fluorescent-lighted box (work), to another (the gym), why not take your workout outside?

When you get creative, and, well, think outside the box, you can get a great, intense, completely free bout of exercise from your surroundings. If you head into the woods, tree branches and rocks can become your new equipment and weights. But even a more developed piece of landscape offers a whole host of opportunities: the playground.

Your probably haven’t been to a playground in years, unless it was to watch your tyke have a good time. But the great variety of equipment on a playground can also be of use to a grown man who’s looking for a free and fun workout.

Below I’ve put together a strength and conditioning workout where the only equipment you need can be found at your local playground. This workout isn’t for the beginner — it’s pretty intense. But if you want to get back the kind of energy you had as a kid, you’ve got to work out hard and get in shape!

The Playground Workout: Exercises

A couple notes before we begin:

  • It’s best to use a playground at times kids aren’t likely to be around — earlier in the morning and later in the evening. Sadly these days, the mere sight of a grown man on a playground automatically makes people suspicious. Having a mustache probably doesn’t help.
  • Before you begin these exercises, perform a 10 minute warm-up, such as jumping jacks, plyometrics, or jogging.

Bench Jumps (8-10 reps)

Vintage man jumping on the bench.

Pull-Ups (as many as you can do)

Vintage man pullups illustration.

Pistol Squat w/ Swing (8-10 reps each leg)

Vintage men doing pistol squats.

A nice segue into unassisted pistol squats.

Incline Push-Ups (8-10 reps)

Vintage man doing Push incline exercise on the bench.

Lateral Leap (8-10 reps)

Vintage man doing exercise Lateral Leap.

Inverted Row (8-10 reps)

Vintage men doing inverted row exercise.

Bulgarian Split-Squat (8-10 reps per leg)

Vintage man doing Bulgarian split squat exercise.

Decline Push-Ups (8-10 reps)

Vintage man doing decline push ups exercise.

Dips (8-10 reps)

Vintage men doing dips exercise on the bench.

Monkey Bars (once across)

Vintage men doing monkey bars exercise.

Monkey bars are a lot harder than I remember them being as a kid.

Ab Roll-Out (as many as you can do)

Vintage men doing ab roll out exercise.


Vintage men doing ab roll Out exercise.

Fully extend.

Sprints  (one set of 10 40-yard dashes at completion of workout)

Vintage man running in the ground.

The Playground Workout: Summary 

  • Bench Jumps (8-10 reps)
  • Pull-Ups (as many as you can do)
  • Pistol Squat (8-10 reps)
  • Push-Ups (8-10 reps)
  • Lateral Leap (8-10 reps)
  • Inverted Row (8-10 reps)
  • Bulgarian Split-Squat (8-10 reps per leg)
  • Decline Push-Ups (8-10 reps)
  • Dips (8-10 reps)
  • Monkey Bars (once across)
  • Ab Roll-Out (as many as you can do)

Complete this circuit of exercises 3X. No resting in between the exercises. Rest 60-90 seconds between each circuit. Once you have completed 3 circuits, finish the workout with:

  • Sprints (1 set of 10 40-yard dashes). Rest as you walk back to the starting line and then immediately take off on the next one.

This workout will take you 30-40 minutes to complete (including warm-up). Have fun!

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