Slide push-ups
Credit: Josie Boulding

Slide push-ups

At the bottom of the slide, get into a push-up position with your hands on the end of the slide, shoulders directly above your hands, and feet in the gravel. Drop into a push-up. Explode up, lifting your hands off the slide. Land with your hands on the slide’s rails with arms fully extended ready to do another push-up. Drop into a push-up from this position and, again exploding up, land with your hands on the bottom of the slide in the starting position. Repeat for three sets of five.
Sliders
Credit: Josie Boulding

Sliders

This is St. Jules’s favourite playground exercise. The trick is to find a slide that has a bar above the top of it. If you find one, sit down at the top of the slide as though you’re about to go down, with the bar in front of you. Grab the bar with palms facing your face and elbows bent. Without letting go of the bar, slide downwards until your arms are extended. Now pull yourself back up combining a chin-up, bicep curl and finally an ab crunch, so you end up sitting back at the top of the slide. Repeat for three sets of five.
Standing jumps
Credit: Josie Boulding

Standing jumps

Find a knee-high bench or platform. Stand in front of it with feet shoulder-width apart. Hop onto the bench with both feet. Use your arms in a forward swinging motion to help drive you up. Pause and then jump back down into the gravel. Do three sets of 10.
Monkey bar chin-ups
Credit: Josie Boulding

Monkey bar chin-ups

On the monkey bars, grab a bar with both hands. Tuck your feet back and lift your body until your chin is in line with the bar, hold for a second and then slowly lower to straight arms. Try different hand positions (palms in, palms out, sideways and closer together). Repeat for three sets of five. (If you can’t do all five, try resting your feet on a bar to take some of the weight off.)
Monkey bar traverse
Credit: Josie Boulding

Monkey bar traverse

Traverse the monkey bars by swinging from arm to arm (Tarzan yell optional). Going across and back counts as once. Repeat three times.
Spring toy step-up and lunge
Credit: Josie Boulding

Spring toy step-up and lunge

Put your left leg onto a spring-mounted toy and step up. Pause for two seconds without putting your right foot on the spring. (Try staring at one spot to help gain your balance.) Now step down with your right and then step down and back with your left. Drop into a telemark lunge with the right foot forward. Stand up and step back onto the spring toy with your left foot again. Repeat for 15 and then switch to stepping up and back with your right leg. Do three sets per leg.
Dips
Credit: Josie Boulding

Dips

Somewhere on almost every playground is a set of parallel bars about a shoulder width apart. Hold one with each hand and lift your feet. From a straight arm position, lower your body until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Push back into the starting position. Repeat three sets of five.
Reverse push-ups
Credit: Josie Boulding

Reverse push-ups

Find a bar or flat surface that is about waist height off the ground. Tuck your feet underneath it and hold onto the bar with both hands, a little more than shoulder-width apart and your hands in line with your nipples. Straighten your body into a plank and pull your body up to the bar. Try and touch your chest to the bar while keeping your head in line with your spine. Repeat three sets of five.
Sprints
Credit: Josie Boulding

Sprints

From one end of the playground, sprint to the other end and back. Rest for 30 seconds. Do two sets of five intervals.
Swing figure eights

Swing figure eights

Run a figure eight pattern around two swings facing the same way at all times. (You’ll be running backwards part of the time.) Run the figure eight repeatedly for one minute, rest for one minute. Do five one-minute intervals.
Playground
Credit: Tim Pierce

Playground

Chances are that a lot of people were in better shape when they were 10 and spent every recess hanging from their arms or running around the field. Which is why Mark St. Jules, a top multi-sport trainer in Black Creek, B.C., is a long-time proponent of the playground as gym. Not only can you get a full body workout, but hey—it’s free and you’re outdoors. Each playground is going to be different, so use these exercise suggestions as a guide and then get creative. Start with a five-minute jog or bike ride for a warm up and end with another five-minute cool down. Here are some of St. Jules’s favourite playground exercises.
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