Workout plan: A free outdoor routine to complete at a park

Take your fitness regime to the great outdoors (well, your local patch of grass) with this workout plan designed by an NYC Parks trainer.

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Bleacher routine

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Start by running up one side of a staircase, then go carefully (especially if it’s raining) and slowly (to limit the impact on your knees) down the other. Repeat that sequence ten times.

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Sit on a bench as if watching a game and grip the front of the ledge with both hands. Lean back a little and raise your knees to your chest, then lower them. Repeat 15 to 30 times. Beginners should aim for between 10 and 20 repetitions.

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Lie down so your back is resting on the bench and grab the sides at a point just above your head. Keeping your knees straight and legs together, bring your feet up to the 12 o’clock position, then lower them back down to the bench. Repeat 15 to 30 times, or 10 to 20 times if you’re just starting out.


Step-ups and jump-ups

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Locate a flat, elevated surface where the highest point is just lower than your knee and can support you jumping on it. Lift your right knee up, plant your right foot on the platform, shift your weight to that right leg, bring up your left leg and plant it on the surface, step back to the ground with your right foot, and follow with your left. That’s a step-up. Do between three and five sets of 20 to 25. To work your abs, throw your hands in the air as you step up (like a football ref: “The field goal is good!”).

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

To perform a jump-up, bring both feet up to the platform at the same time. Then turn around so you’re facing the way you’re jumping, and jump down, bending your knees as you land so they can absorb the shock. Repeat ten times, take a breather, then try again, performing two to three reps in total.


Sit-ups and push-ups

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Put your yoga mat in front of a rail you can hook your feet under, or use one of the park system’s lounge-chair-like metal seats designed for push-ups and sit-ups (a list of locations with fitness equipment can be found at nycgovparks.org/facilities/fitnessequipment). Do 15 to 20 sit-ups, never letting your back touch the ground on the way down, then break for 30 seconds. Repeat this until you’ve completed five sets.

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Then try five sets of 15 to 20 push-ups, with 30-second breaks in between. Keep your arms shoulder width apart, make sure to bend at the elbows, keep your head up and your back straight.


Stairs and hills

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Find the biggest hill in the park and walk to the top. Jog down, touch the bottom of the hill with your hand, and run as hard as you can back to the top. Repeat this a total of three to six times.

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Shape Up NYC Fitness Trainer Ryan Treasure

Find a set of stairs in the park. As with the hill, Treasure suggests “going down slow, coming up fast,” while pumping your arms for momentum. You should reach the summit of a ten-step staircase six to ten times. If you can’t find stairs, do another set of hill run-ups—or vice versa.



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