|Hawaii Five-O star, Alex O'Loughlin, shares his secrets to living a fit and healthy life in the August Issue of Men's Fitness for sale on newsstands now.|
If you have been cramped in an office cubicle all day, the last place you want to be after work is a stuffy gym jammed with sweaty people waiting for the next available piece of equipment; but, staying in shape is top priority. Fortunately, Men's Fitness
has the solution--head outdoors to the playground. In their August issue (out on newsstands now) Men's Fitness
outlines a no-nonsense workout plan to get you seriously buff while you de-stress in the great outdoors. Below, you will find a few sample exercises taken from their program, which is based on a descending rep scheme. Plus, you'll get the scoop on how Alex O'Loughlin, Hawaii Five-O star and Men's Fitness
cover guy for August, lives a healthy life. Then, additional outdoor body building exercises recommended by Michigan-based personal trainer, Nick Penokie, will be presented.
Sneak Peak into Men's Fitness "The Playground Workout"
has you using your own body weight for strength gains in their program that involves performing variations of pull-ups and dips, among other exercises. For the full workout plan, including the protocol for sets and reps, pick up a copy of their August issue for sale on newsstands now or visit them online at http://www.mensfitness.com/
for other fitness programs and tips.
: Back, Shoulders, Biceps (front of upper arms)
Grab a jungle gym bar or sturdy tree branch with an overhand grip (thumb and fingers should be on the same side of the bar). From a dead-hang, pull your body up while stabilizing your core until your chin is above the bar (avoid swinging your legs). Hold for a one-count and then lower your body in a controlled fashion back to the start position. Note: You can vary the width of your grip from close to wide on the bar to target certain muscles (e.g., a wide-grip pull-up forces your back muscles to do more of the work).
Parallel Bar Hand Walk:
|Personal trainer Nick Penokie performs a wide-grip pull-up on a city park fitness station.|
: Back, Shoulders, Chest, Abdominals (core stabilizers), Biceps (front of upper arms), Forearms
: Grab the first bar with both of your hands using an overhand grip. As you lift both feet into the air, reach for the second bar with one hand, allowing your body to swing forward. Continue swinging from bar to bar, alternating your hands until you reach the end of the row.
|Keeping your knees bent while you swing your body forward will prevent your feet from dragging on the ground. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
The benefits of outdoor exercise are multitude. Outdoor activities can clear your mind, increase your cardiovascular endurance and enhance your muscular strength. Best of all, the natural world provides you with free exercise equipment, such as sturdy tree branches, stumps and large rocks. Hawaii Five-O star, Alex O'Loughlin, couldn't agree more according to his interview with Men's Fitness
. "I much prefer being in the canyons or the hills or the ocean--being outside and using the resistance of the earth and gravity and my own body weight," he tells the magazine. In addition to regular exercise, O'Loughlin follows a healthy diet that includes drinking a lot of water (about two gallons per day) and eating foods that provide a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. To learn more about O'Loughlin's healthy lifestyle tips, visit http://www.mensfitness.com/lifestyle/entertainment/alex-oloughlin
If you need a change of pace from the indoor workout grind, consider visiting your local park. In addition to playground equipment, many parks and recreation areas have fitness stations along their trails. Below are five outdoor fitness station exercises recommended by personal trainer Nick Penokie to bulk you up.
Hanging Knee Raise:
: Abdominals (arm muscles are used as stabilizers)
: Grasp the rungs of the monkey bars with your palms facing each other (the distance between your arms is dependant upon your height--the taller you are, the wider the distance). Contract your abdominal muscles to raise your knees to a 90 degree angle to your body. Hold for a one-count and then slowly lower your knees back to the starting position. This exercise should be performed in a slow, controlled fashion for maximum benefit. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
|The focus should be on contracting your abdominal muscles to raise and lower your knees during this exercise. Avoid using your upper body for momentum. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
Hanging Leg Raise:
: Abdominals (arm muscles are used as stabilizers)
: Grasp the rungs of the monkey bars with your palms facing each other (the distance between your arms is dependant upon your height--the taller you are, the wider the distance). While keeping your legs straight and feet together, contract your abdominal muscles to raise your legs until they are perpendicular to your body. Hold for a one-count and then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. This exercise should be performed in a slow, controlled fashion for maximum benefit. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Feet-Elevated Inverted Row:
|The focus should be on contracting your abdominal muscles to raise and lower your legs. Avoid using your upper body to provide momentum. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
: Upper back and Back of the Shoulders (the abdominals, lower back, hamstrings, glutes, and upper arm muscles work as stabilizers)
: Grasp a rung of the monkey bars with an overhand grip. Lift and swing your legs up to a rung at a distance that allows your legs to be straight with the balls of your feet resting on the rung. In the starting position, your arms should be straight and your head below your feet. While stabilizing your core and keeping your legs straight, raise your chest to the bar. Hold for a one-count and then lower your body to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Note: Do to the difficulty of this exercise, beginners should not attempt. For safety, advanced lifters should perform with a second person acting as a spotter.
|In the start position of the feet-elevated inverted row, your head should be below your feet. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
|Avoid arching your back while performing inverted rows. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
Muscles Worked: Triceps (back of upper arms)
Technique: Place your hands closely behind you on a bar or bench and extend your legs out in front of you with your heels on the ground. Keeping your body close to the bar behind you, lower your body while you bend your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground (note: your elbows should not be higher than your shoulders). Hold for a one-count and then slowly extend your arms back to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
|To prevent injury, keep your body close to the bar or bench behind you. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
|To avoid injury, do not allow your elbows to go higher than your shoulders when performing this exercise. (In photo: Nick Penokie) |
Muscles Worked: Chest, Front of the Shoulders and Triceps (back of upper arms)
Technique: Start by elevating your feet on a bench or bar with your hands on the ground approximately shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Slowly lower your chest toward the ground and then press your body back up to the starting position. Avoid snapping your elbows as you return to the start position. Perform 2 sets of maximum repetitions.
|Keep your back straight while performing decline push-ups. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
|Avoid raising or lowering your buttocks when performing this exercise. (In photo: Nick Penokie)|
The important thing to remember is that you do not need expensive gym equipment to get a good workout. Using your own body weight can build your muscles just as effectively as weight machines and free weights. The best part is, you can perform body weight exercises virtually anywhere, including the playground.
Labels: Alex O'Loughlin, Alex O'Loughlin workout, decline push-ups, dips, Hawaii Five- O, inverted row, MEN's Fitness, Nick Penokie, outdoor exercise, outdoor fitness, playground exercises, pull-ups