Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Back Yard

Plyometric workouts have become a staple in my work out schedule. During the summer, Ben and I would use the playground at the local school for workouts. Here, we had quick access to a lawn, several steps and low pillars, monkey bars (and other bars ), uneven surfaces, a basketball court, and four square lines. The options were endless. The lawn is a great place for speed drills, any ab work requiring a soft surface, burpee jump variations, walking lunges, and a number of other things. The steps and pillars are great for any type of jumping activity including single and double leg forward and side jumps (jumping from a step into a soft surface on one leg is a very bad idea… I promise), incline and decline push-ups, decline lunges, and more abdominal work. On the bars, you can do abs and pull ups and the uneven surfaces make for a great place to do single leg balance work. The basketball court is awesome for running lines to work on speed and agility and the four square lines are great for single leg hopping activities.

Well, it is October and school is in session, so no more using the school for our work outs. Short of getting in the car and driving to a park, this has forced us to get real creative with our back yard. A lot of the same activities can still be done, with some modifications. For example, we now use the bricks in the patio for our single leg hopping activities and the fire pit as a forward jump location (maybe we should try it with a fire in it… I might jump a little higher). We also use a basketball for a number of the abdominal activities. Extra bricks that have not been used for landscaping make great obstacles for jumping.

My favorite addition since moving plyos into the back yard is the thera band. As a physical therapist, you always have a number of these on hand from conferences and such. Last week, Ben and I decided to try our own variation of running while pulling a tire. Let me tell you, trying to run down a side walk with a thera band around your waist that is being held firmly by your husband (who is heavier than you are- albeit not by much anymore- way to go Ben!) is hard work! Being the thera band holder while trying to resist Ben’s strength was also a great work out. Needless to say, I am really excited about the endless possibilities, but really think we should get a tire and strap go even out the weight thing a little.

There are disadvantages…ok, maybe just some down sides… to doing plyos in the back yard. I am sure the neighbors think we are freakish (especially when you pair that with us getting up at stupid o’clock to run). The dog also really likes to try to help us out when we do plyos, and although this is really sweet, he really just ends up getting in the way and accidentally kicked. The opportunities are endless, however, and you save time by not having to go anywhere! The best workouts in the back yard happen to be those that come together as Ben and I each fire off different activities and are then followed by incredibly sore abs and gluts.

So, if you are ever bored and are looking for a new type of work out, the options in your back yard may be just as endless!

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