With cooler weather, we can exercise outside a little more often without worrying about being eaten alive by bugs, or being steam cooked in the 95-degree weather. I occasionally take a trip to Hagerstown City Park or the North Hagerstown School Mike Callas Stadium for some great outdoor workouts. I'm going to share with you some of my favorite fitness tools to get out of the gym, and into some fun in the great outdoors.
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Tool No. 1 — The TRX Suspension System (www.trxtraining.com)
The TRX Suspension Training System is an increasingly popular tool for the fitness industry. It is basically a long, adjustable strap with specially designed handles to hold, or foot suspension. I consider it to be one of the best fitness products ever invented. It's versatility and portability make it ideal for outdoor workouts, as transitions between exercises are pretty seamless. Wrap the hook end around a tree, a goal post, a basketball hoop pole or even a fence, and you have a workout anywhere.
Tool No. 2 — medicine ball (www.performbetter.com)
I've discussed the use of medicine balls in previous columns. Medicine balls are great for outdoor training, especially on an open football or soccer field. Throw and catch with a friend, or if you don't have any friends, perform any number of throws and tosses then walk or run after them. Repeat this for about 5 minutes at a time and you'll become a believer. There is a wide variety of medballs to choose from, so grab a few and have fun.
Tool No. 3 — Battling Ropes System (www.powerropes.com)
When I got my set of 50-foot "battling ropes," I quickly came to realize why there is such a buzz about this popular fitness tool. The drills seem simple, but after just 30 seconds of "rope waves" I felt like I had just run a 40-yard dash. These ropes come in 50- and 100-foot sizes with different widths for your level of strength. You can just throw it in the trunk, take it to the park and get to work. It's so simple, it's brilliant.
These tools used alone, or together as a monster circuit, are super portable, so they are top picks for outdoor workouts. They can help build awesome functional strength to keep you prepared for all manners of spring and summer activities. They cost a fraction of what a home gym does. Give them a try, and get ready to get in the shape of your life.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, and FTNS Radio show host. Visit his blog www.hometeamfitnessblog.com.