Building your strength using an outdoor gym

Outdoor gyms are a great place to build full body strength. They vary a lot in terms of the type and number of equipment they have on offer. However, all outdoor gyms provide a number of options for you to work on building your strength.

Whether your local outdoor gym has a wide range of equipment or just a few callisthenics options and a space for bodyweight exercise, you can gradually work on getting stronger.

Check out these strength building principles to live by:

Type of exercise: Resistance training to build strength

Choose resistance based options at your outdoor gym, in order to build strength. Resistance based options require you to push, pull or hold either an external load or your own bodyweight.

Examples of resistance based machines that you might find at your outdoor gym include the leg press, chest press, bench press, seated row, lat pulldown, leg extension and curl and more.

With the more basic outdoor gym setups, you can do resistance based bar exercises such as chin-ups and dips, or a huge number of bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups, sit ups, planks, etc. Exercises that use dumbbells, barbells or exercise bands can also be classified as resistance based exercises.

Frequency of exercise

In order to get stronger, you need to work out regularly and consistently. The good news is that you don’t need to do resistance training every day in order to get stronger. If you do it too often you might even find that you get weaker, since your body needs sufficient rest and recovery to build strength.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends resistance based training covering the major muscle groups on two days per week for the general population. Therefore, two days per week of resistance based exercises at your local outdoor gym can be a great option for building strength.

Gradual progressions to build strength

In order to build strength, you need to plan very small and gradual progressions into your outdoor gym program. Only increase one variable at a time, and increase by the smallest amount possible (e.g. adding one or two extra repetitions when an exercise gets easier).

Choose one of the following variables to increase slightly, in order to build strength:

  • Repetitions
  • Sets
  • Rest (although in this case, you would decrease it, rather than increase)
  • Load
  • Difficulty level

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