10 Bodyweight Exercises for an Outdoor Workout

When the weather's nice, nothing beats getting outside for your physical activity. Not only does it help you change up your environment, but exercising outdoors also comes with many benefits. 

If you usually don't have a lot of space to move around, the great outdoors offers more room to do various exercises that you might not otherwise be able to.

Research shows that exercising outdoors can increase the enjoyment of your workout, help you perceive it to be less intense, and improve mental health. Additionally, spending time outdoors has been shown to increase health and well-being.

You can build strength, power, and cardiovascular endurance with bodyweight exercises outdoors. The open space allows you to perform movements that take up room, including plyometrics. If you can find a stable bench, there are even more options for a fantastic, challenging bodyweight workout.

Be sure to bring plenty of water with you, especially if you are exercising in hot or humid conditions. You might also want to bring a mat or towel to place on the ground or mop up sweat. Wear appropriate sweat-wicking clothing and footwear.


Walking Lunges


Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Take advantage of wide-open spaces with walking lunges. You’ll build strength in your quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hip flexors, as well as improve mobility and functional performance.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  • Step forward with your right leg while keeping your left leg behind you.
  • Bend your knees to lower your body toward the ground keeping your back leg straight.
  • Keep lowering until your right knee is bent at 90-degrees and your back knee is almost touching the ground.
  • Push through your right heel to extend your legs straight. 
  • Lift your back leg and step forward to repeat the movement.
  • Try 20 paces, 10 on each side.

Bodyweight Shoulder Press

The bodyweight shoulder press is deceptively demanding. You will primarily work your shoulders and hit your chest with this exercise. You can perform the movement with your feet on the ground or elevated on a bench for a greater challenge.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Get into a push-up position and walk your feet toward your hands until you are in a downward-facing dog pose.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your shoulders toward the ground.
  • When your head gently touches the floor, push through your hands back to the starting position.
  • Try 10 to 15 repetitions.

Bench Triceps Dips

Tricep Dip

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Find a sturdy park bench to work your triceps and shoulders with dips. Bend your knees to make this exercise easier. Extend your legs, or lift one heel to increase the challenge.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Sit on a bench with your hands beside your hips.
  • Lift yourself onto your hands and slide your hips off the bench.
  • Bend your elbows straight back, keeping them tucked beside your sides.
  • Keep your shoulders back and down and your hips close to the bench.
  • Slide down until your arms are at approximately 90-degrees.
  • Push through your hands to the starting position without locking your elbows.
  • Try 10 to 15 repetitions.

Bench Squats

Chair Squat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For an excellent exercise that targets your legs, glutes, and abs, try a bench squat. The trick is to move slowly, using time under tension to isolate and strengthen your lower body and core.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Stand straight in front of a bench facing away from it, and engage your core.
  • With your feet shoulder width apart, start to hinge your hips backward and bend your knees to squat toward the bench.
  • Touch the chair briefly before pushing through your feet to rise back to a starting position.
  • Try 15 to 20 reps

Bench Jumps

Bench jumps are a strength and cardiovascular exercise that works your legs, glutes, hip flexors, and core. Tailor the jumps to your fitness level by doing them one after another for a huge cardio burn, or jump up, step down, and wait for a few counts before repeating. If you are a complete beginner, you can try step-ups instead, stepping one foot up at a time instead of jumping.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Stand in front of a sturdy, flat bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower yourself toward the ground in a squat.
  • Push through your feet to jump up onto the bench seat with both feet.
  • Land softly, bending your knees.
  • Step down one foot at a time and repeat for 10 jumps.

Decline Push-Ups

Decline Pushups

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Push-ups are a classic and very effective bodyweight movement. Adding a decline using a park bench for your feet will hit your upper chest more as well as your lower chest, triceps, shoulders, and abs. This is a more challenging variation of the push-up. For an easier version, you can switch your hands and feet, performing an incline pushup instead.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Get on the ground and place your hands directly below your shoulders and your feet on top of a sturdy bench. Only the balls of your feet and toes should be touching the bench.
  • With a flat back, bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the ground. 
  • Pause briefly before pushing into the ground to raise yourself back to the starting position, straightening your arms.
  • Repeat for 6 to 8 repetitions.

Front Lunge to Kick

Front Lunge Kick

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For another lunge variation that takes advantage of having more open space, try a front lunge to kick. The kick adds a cardiovascular and balance element that will build strength and stability through your core while targeting your legs, glutes, and hip flexors.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your core engaged. Take a step back with your right leg.
  • Step forward with your right leg and kick into the air, reaching over with your left hand to touch your right toe if you can.
  • Bring your right leg back to the starting position and bend your knees into a lunge. Then, step back to the starting position and repeat.
  • Try 10 repetitions on each side.

Plank Jacks

Plank jacks challenge your core like a regular plank while adding additional challenge and cardiovascular work. To decrease the challenge, try extending one leg out at a time instead of both legs.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Get onto the ground in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders, core braced.
  • Jump your feet out to the sides and then back.
  • Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Plyo Skips

Plyo Skip

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Feel like a kid again while building explosive strength and cardiovascular capacity with power skips. This exercise will strengthen your hamstrings and quads, as well as hitting your core, calves, glutes, and hip flexors.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • While standing, lift your arms and push yourself off the ground lifting your right knee into the air while jumping off the ground with your right knee.
  • Simultaneously swing your left hand up and your right hand back to provide momentum.
  • Land softly on the balls of your feet and immediately perform another skip on the other side.
  • Alternate for 15 to 20 skips.

Lateral Jump Squats

Squat Jumps

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Performing lateral movements is vital for building functional strength. Make use of the outdoor space with side-to-side jump squats. This exercise has a strong cardiovascular element while also strengthening your quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and hinge your hips back, keeping your chest raised and your core engaged.
  • While in a squat, push off the ground to jump to the right.
  • Swing your arms and jump back to the left. 
  • Alternate sides for 20 reps.
3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bélanger M, Gallant F, Doré I, et al. Physical activity mediates the relationship between outdoor time and mental health. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2019;16:101006. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.101006.

  2. Lahart I, Darcy P, Gidlow C, Calogiuri G. The Effects of Green Exercise on Physical and Mental Wellbeing: A Systematic ReviewInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(8):1352. Published 2019 Apr 15. doi:10.3390/ijerph16081352

  3. White MP, Alcock I, Grellier J, et al. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports. 2019;9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3.

By Rachel MacPherson, BA, CPT
Rachel MacPherson is a health writer, certified personal trainer, and exercise nutrition coach based in Montreal.