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5 Playground Exercises for Parents (and Kids at Heart)

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Remember when you were a kid, and you'd spend countless hours swinging, sliding, pushing, hanging and climbing at the park or playground? You didn't realize it then, but you weren't just playingyou were also getting some pretty amazing exercise.

Life may not be as carefree as it was back then, but you don't have to be a kid to turn workouts into child's play. We asked trainer Tamara from The Workout Mama  for her favorite exercises to do at the playground. You won't need any fancy equipment and because many of these are compound moves (working more than one muscle group at a time), you can quickly get in a full-body workout and still enjoy some play time afterward.


Muscles Worked: Shoulders, trapezoids, lats
Beginner: 10 Reps
Intermediate: 15 Reps
Advanced: 20 Reps
  1. Hold onto low monkey bars, parallel bars or any piece of playground equipment. To increase the difficulty of the exercise, walk your feet forward and come onto your heels with your toes pointing upward.
  2. Elbows should be pulled in close to your sides and your chest should be very close to the frame.
  3. Slowly extend your arms as you keep your body in a straight line. Pause at the bottom of the movement and use your arms to return to a starting position.

Image and exercise courtesy of Tamara at The Workout Mama


Muscles Worked: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Core
Beginner: 10 Reps
Intermediate: 15 Reps
Advanced: 20 Reps

(If you're not working out with your children, you can always push an empty swing or squat near another piece of playground equipment for balance.)
  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, with your hands in front of you as you push your baby in a swing.
  2. Sit back and down as though you’re lowering yourself into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing straight ahead as your upper body bends forward a bit. Lower down so your thighs are as close as parallel to the ground as possible, with your knees over your ankles.
  3. Press your weight back into your heels. Return to starting position and repeat.
Image and exercise courtesy of Tamara at The Workout Mama

Swing Pike

Muscles Worked: Shoulders, Chest, Core
Beginner: 5 Reps
Intermediate: 10 Reps
Advanced: 15 Reps
  1. Place both legs on a swing just above the ankles and come to a plank position.
  2. While pressing down with your legs, pull your core in and lift your hips.
  3. Work on stacking your hips over your shoulders and take your gaze toward the swing. (This is tough, so don’t worry if you can’t do it the first time!)

Image and exercise courtesy of Tamara at The Workout Mama

Swing Single Leg Squats

Muscles Worked: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Beginner: 6 Reps (Each Leg)
Intermediate: 8-10 Reps (Each Leg)
Advanced: 12 Reps (Each Leg)
  1. Place one foot on top of a swing and hop the other foot forward.
  2. Bend the standing leg, trying to get your thigh parallel to the ground. Make sure the knee is over the ankle and not past the toes.
  3. Return to standing and repeat.

Image and exercise courtesy of Tamara at The Workout Mama

Jumping Pull Ups

Muscles Worked: Core, Shoulders, Lats, Biceps
Beginner: 1-2 Reps
Intermediate: 5 Reps
Advanced: 10 Reps
  1. Position yourself directly below the bar. Make sure that you can reach the pull up bar from a standing position.
  2. Using an underhand grip, grab the bar. When you’re sure you have a good hold on it, slowly pull yourself up. If you’re not ready for a full pullup, it’s okay to slowly progress to being able to pull yourself all the way up. 
  3. Just as with regular pull ups, you must put your chin over the top of the bar. The difference is that you’re using your legs to jump up with each rep and propel your body to that top position.
  4. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.

Image and exercise courtesy of Tamara at The Workout Mama

Would you consider doing any of these workouts at your local playground? Have you ever done any of these workouts before?