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Spring Workouts: Think Outside the Gym

Spring’s here, our hibernation ends. The morning walk to the car no longer requires a teeth-chattering shimmy; birds and leaves are popping up on trees, and snow makes a swift, and appreciated, exit.

After three months of an indoor-bound, Vitamin D-less existence, it’s time to break through the front door and get some sun on our backs. It’s time for a spring outdoor workout.

Minimal Equipment, Maximal Production

We can’t transport heavy gym artillery off-site, so maximal strength work isn’t our goal. We can, however, train power, movement and recovery—the keys to better performance—with minimal equipment and a bit of creativity.

Snag a moderate weight dumbbell or kettlebell. Moderate, of course, is relative—choose a bell you can goblet squat for a difficult set of twenty. By difficult I mean the last few reps are a grind that challenges your fortitude. You’ll also need a lighter bell, one you squat for an easy set of twenty. Load those bad boys in your car and find a playground with monkey bars.

The Workout

We’ll follow a simple circuit that alternates upper-body and lower-body exercises. This alternating set-up trains the whole body while limiting fatigue. Our spring workout is restorative and refreshing.

Outdoor Workout Chart


If your playground has platform landings or stairs, use these for your box jumps. If it’s devoid of both, vertical jumps suffice. No matter which jumping variation you’re doing, reset between reps and achieve maximal height on each jump. Land softly to absorb each jump’s force.

Pull-ups start in a dead, arms fully extended hang and end with the chin above the bar. Each rep is done explosively. Feel the need to get leg English involved? Cut the reps. The goal is quality, not quantity. There’s no shame in cutting volume in favor of good execution. In fact, it’s a noble training move.

(Note: If you can’t do pull-ups, rows on a suspension trainer like a TRX or JungleGym are a fine substitution.)

New to kettlebell swings or the Turkish get up? Type Pavel Tsatsouline or StrongFirst into the YouTube search bar and follow the tutorials. Pavel, and his people at StrongFirst, offer the best kettlebell instruction in the world. However, if you’ve never done Turkish get ups before, it’s a wise move to learn them sans bell before adding weight.

To complete the kettlebell, or dumbbell jumps, hold your chosen implement between your legs and leave the ground violently. Reset between each jump to achieve maximal height.

Two thirty-second tests of will and focus called isometrics finish our circuit. These tissue restoring and strength improving non-movements are held in the bottom position of each respective exercise. The push-up his held an inch or two from the ground with straight-line body and the shoulder blades held stiffly in position. Hold the squat in the deepest position that allows the knees driven outward and the low back in a neutral, non-rounded/non-arched position.

The When and Why

Physique- and strength-minded folks need the barbell’s heavy loads to make bodily alterations. But taxing, physique-altering training bouts require yin to match their yang.

Our outdoor workout, then, mirrors the spring season—it is the restoration each serious strength athlete needs. The powerful movements stimulate the nervous system to enhance recovery; the nearly full rest between sets ensures a low energy cost. The sets column denotes five to seven circuits—this prescription isn’t absolute. If your performance declines, or you start to feel tired, stop immediately.  Training outside adds a distinct psychological benefit: you don’t have to be a rat in a cage!

Use this outdoor workout on off-days, especially the day after a substantial strength or hypertrophy session or a couple times per week. A mid-week restoration, after two hard training days, works well. An end of the week session, on Saturday or Sunday, drives recovery and prepares the body for the following week’s training rigors.

Supplement Suggestions

[Editor’s Note: Spring is a time of restoration, and it’s also a good time to reflect on the Big Picture. For bodybuilders, that means overall wellness. There’s nothing like a lingering spring cold (or the onset of pollen-related allergies) for undermining your regimen at precisely the time you should be getting ready to “go big” for summer.

We’ve said it a million times and we’ll say it again. Take your vitamins! Your body requires the whole spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant factors to function at peak capacity, and you’ll find those essential catalysts in a top-notch daily multiple like ProSource’s Super MegaMax. Formulated specifically for the hard-charging athlete, Super MegaMax covers all the bases with optimum potencies of bioactive B-Power energy factors, an excellent Vitamin E isomer blend, superior joint-health compounds, a full spectrum of minerals for support of muscle contraction and hydration support, and much more.

And while we’re on the subject of restoration, ProSource’s Super Detox/Ultra Cleanse stack is a comprehensive detoxification and purification system that helps to detoxify major organs, while also cleansing the colon, removing waste build-up, and maximizing nutrient uptake. Try it, and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel!]

Spring Restoration

Winter’s over, it’s time to revitalize. Get outside on your off-days and put this circuit to good use. Jump hard and high, recover between sets and limit fatigue. Restore, repair and prepare for a year ripe with personal records.

Read more about Super MegaMax.

Read more about the Super Detox / Ultra Cleanse Stack.

Use as directed with a sensible nutrition and exercise program. Read and follow all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.