Inside Columbia


The Backyard Bustle: Take Your Full-Body Workout Outside

By Inside Columbia
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Photos by L.G. Patterson

It has been an exceptionally hot summer, but thankfully backyard fun is here again. The first things that come to mind are barbecues, yard games and simply relaxing with friends and family.

But what about workouts? Your backyard can provide the perfect setting for convenient and challenging training. The following eight exercises take advantage of common backyard spaces and provide a full-body workout.

Try to complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

Retaining Wall Pushups 

Muscles worked: Chest, shoulders and triceps.

If traditional pushups are tough, try doing these on a retaining wall or bench. Begin with your hands on an elevated ledge, about shoulder width apart. Lower your chest as close to the ledge as possible and return to extended arms. If you need more of a challenge, perform standard pushups with your hands and feet on the ground.

Retaining Wall Step Ups

Muscles worked: Thighs and glutes.

Using the same retaining wall as your pushups, start by stepping both feet onto the ledge. Return to the ground and be sure to do the same number of reps leading with each leg. Is your retaining wall too tall? A heavy-duty patio chair or bench should work just fine.

Hammock Rows

Muscles worked: Upper back, shoulders and biceps.

Have a hammock hanging in the backyard? Use the webbing straps for this one. If you don’t have a hammock, a quality rope will work too. Wrap the straps around a sturdy tree, just higher than your head. Hold the straps while leaning back at about a 45-degree angle.Pull your body to your hands and return to extended arms.

Mason Stevens

Walking Lunges 

Muscles worked: Thighs and glutes.

Find a long, flat section of grass. Begin stepping forward and bending both knees to about 90 degrees. Keep your posture tall with shoulders stacked over hips. Stand up and bring feet together before stepping forward and repeating with your opposite leg. If walking lunges bother your knees, try reverse lunges: Instead of walking forward, remain stationary and step backward.

Chair Dips

Muscles worked: Triceps, shoulder sand chest.

Place a solid chair behind you. Start with your hands on the edge of the chair, hips and knees bent, your body suspended just off the chair. While keeping your torso upright, bend your elbows and lower your body as far as you can.Return to fully extended arms between each rep. Need a little more challenge? Try to straighten your legs to make the dips tougher.

Chair Bridges 

Muscles worked: Hamstrings and glutes.

Lay down on your back, placing your heels on a chair. Move close enough to the chair so that your knees begin with a 90-degree bend. Lift your hips off the ground. Maintain a straight back and avoid arching your spine as you bridge up. If the back of your legs begins to cramp, ditch the chair and try these with your feet flat on the ground.

Ab Reverse Crunch

Muscles worked: Abdominals.

Do typical crunches bother your back? Try lifting your legs instead of your torso. Lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Lift your legs until your knees are stacked over your hips with knees bent 90 degrees. If these feel easy, try straightening your legs.


Muscles worked: Low back and glutes.

Pool season is coming to an end butt hat doesn’t mean you have to stop swimming. Start this exercise laying on your stomach. Reach your arms and legs out straight. Start by lifting your right arm and left leg. Return both to the ground and repeat by lifting your left arm and right leg. Be sure to avoid arching your back as you lift the arm and leg.

Mason Stevens is owner and exercise physiologist at MET-Fitness in Columbia. He has his bachelor’s innutrition and fitness, and has more than 10 years of experience in sports conditioning, coaching and fitness.

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