Dynabands: around £2 per band when bought in bulk
These are brilliant for getting great shape-change results, are very cost effective and don’t weigh anything, so perfect for carrying around. You can get different strengths, although tightening any type of band makes the resistance harder, so one type is usually fine whatever your ability. Upper-body resistance work includes tricep kick backs, tricep overhead presses, chest presses and bicep curls. Tie the bands around your legs and step side-to-side or do squat side/rear leg raises for lower-body combinations, or combine upper- and lower-body work by using two bands for the ultimate body blast (ask a fitness professional at your gym to guide you through these).
Hula hoops: around £4 each
This is a fun piece of equipment that can be used for a number of other training principles as well as toning the waist, for which it is popular. Jump through, run to, weave in and out of, or to use in circuits. You can also do some great pair resistance work if you have a partner.
Skipping ropes: around £5 each
The ultimate killer cardio equipment that is portable, cheap and very effective and there areat least 30 different ways to jump rope. It’s perfect for adding a different cardio dimension to your workout. Do be careful if you have a weak pelvic floor (i.e., just had a baby) – if you are training outside and aren’t near toilets, you may want to avoid this one.
Cones, ladders and hurdles: around £20 for all three
One of my favourite combinations is doing cardio-conditioning relay combos, setting up two different types side-by-side. For example, if you’re in teams, team one does high knees over the rungs of the ladder, then side-to-side gallops to one cone, turn and side to side gallops to the next cone, jogging to the next cone before sprinting back to the finish. The other team jumps over two sets of hurdles, jogs to one cone, sprints to the next, jogs back to the first cone then sprints back to the start.
Boxing pads and gloves: around £15 per set
If you can partner up (one of you holding the gloves, the other holding the pads) you can then try different combinations – again you might like to get advice on this from a gym instructor. Killer drills, such as speed ball punching, sit up and punch, and repeater roundhouse kicks, are a great way to challenge yourself and get results, and boost fitness. Combining this with skipping is always a winner.
ViPR: around £130
ViPR™ integrates movement and strength, and combines a functional workout with fitness agility. With over 9,000 exercises ready to use, you can incorporate these with some simple outdoor workouts.
TRX Suspension Trainer: £200 for a basic version
The TRX® Suspension Trainer is easy to set up, weighs only 2lbs and provides hundreds of different exercises that can improve fitness in strength, flexibility, balance and mobility. You can set it up to a tree or lamp post so it’s very versatile and comes with instructions and workout ideas.
Your own body: free
The bigger outdoor workout brands in the UK don’t use any equipment at all. This is because there are still thousands of workout combinations you can do with your own bodyweight,and you have no equipment costs. You don’t need a car to transport kit for these types of workouts, and there are no limits to what you can do with an open space and a creative mind.
Check out equipment at FitPro Shop www.fitproshop.com
This feature was first printed in the August/September 2011 issue of Fitpro magazine.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Fitness Professionals Ltd or Virtual Magazine. Consult a qualified health or fitness professional before making changes to your diet or exercise.