A fun circuit workout you can do in your backyard or outdoor space
If your home workout is starting to feel like a grind, maybe it’s time to shake things up and try something different. Taking your workout outside is a breath of fresh air, in every sense!
Get energized with this simple circuit workout you can do in your backyard, outside your apartment or condo building, or in any outdoor space. All of these exercises are beginner-friendly, and great for kids to join in, too.
No equipment is needed except a chair. Grab one from the garage or patio, and let’s get started!
Only move through the range of motion that feels right for your body, and go at your own pace. Always check with a qualified professional if you have any concerns about what exercises are appropriate for you.
How to do this workout
- Make a “course” by creating a big square or rectangle with three household objects and a chair. Or, simply use the perimeter of your outdoor space or building as the course.
- Put on your favorite workout music.
- Walk or run a lap.
- Stop at the chair and do exercise #1.
- Walk or run a lap.
- Stop at the chair and do exercise #2. Then walk or run a lap.
- Repeat with each of the remaining exercises.
- For each exercise, do as many reps as you would like. If a beginner, you might start with 8-12 reps each. More experienced exercisers could complete as many reps as you can; or do it for a timed amount, such as one minute.
- Complete as many rounds as you can.
Print out this list of the exercises, and keep it on the chair so you know what to do each round. I like to keep mine in a clear page protector so it stays put.
Keep a water bottle at your chair, and stay hydrated while you work out.
Use caution if exercising in hot weather. Read: How to exercise safely in the heat
Walk or run a lap between each exercise
Complete one lap, then stop at the chair and do an exercise. Walk or run a lap in between each exercise. To add variety, I like to alternate laps in the opposite direction after each exercise.
Lap 1: Sit-stand
Stand in front of the chair. Keeping arms extended in front and chest lifted, sit down then stand up. Repeat. Focus on using your abdominal and leg strength. Don’t allow knees to cave inward.
Lap 2: Alternating front lunges
Take a big step forward, bending your knee, striking with the heel first. Your back knee drops down. Push up with your front foot, returning to feet together. Then do with the other leg. Continue with alternating lunges. Make it a compound movement by adding a bicep curl with both arms as you lunge.
In the lunge position, your front knee should be directly over your ankle. Keep your head and chest high, and spine neutral. Evenly distribute your weight across your front foot. Hold onto the chair if needed.
Lap 3: Side leg lifts
Hold onto the back of the chair. Lift your left leg to the side, with a flexed foot, toes facing front. Come up on the toes of your right leg a little as you lift and swing your left leg. Complete reps; then repeat on the right leg.
Lap 4: Squat and reach
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and squat down. Tighten your gluteus muscles (buttocks) as you rise up. As you rise reach arms straight above head. Hold onto the back of the chair as you squat, if needed.
Avoid extending your knees beyond your toes. Keep your body weight on your heels and push your hips back as you lower your body. Keep your spine in a neutral position, and your head and chest lifted. Lower to the point that you can still maintain proper form. There’s no need to sink deeper than your body’s natural range of motion, which is unique to each individual.
Lap 5: Arm circles
With extended arms, circle back beginning with small circles and increasing to as big as you can. Then do forward circles.
Lap 6: Reach overhead, touch waist, touch feet
With feet a little more than shoulder width apart, reach high overhead, then touch your waist, then hinge forward from your hips and touch your feet (or knees). Avoid slouching over.
Lap 7: Straight arms clap front, clap overhead
With feet a little more than shoulder width apart and chest lifted, extend arms straight out to the side. Bring arms in front to palms touching; extend to the side; then bring arms overhead to palms touching; extend to the side. Arms should remain straight throughout the movement.
Lap 8: Squat and punch
With a wide stance, maintain a squat. Keeping lower body stationary, punch in front diagonally with alternating arms.
Lap 9: Reach for the sky
Reach your arms up one at a time, reaching as high as you can. This is a simple stretching movement that feels so good!
Lap 10: Windmills
With legs in a wide stance, extend arms straight out at side. Bring left hand to right foot (or knee); rise; then repeat with other hand/foot. Repeat, alternating.
After lap 10, repeat circuit from the top, as many times as desired.
Make it your own
This circuit workout is very flexible. The exercises shown are suggestions to get you started. You can make it more or less challenging by substituting your favorite exercises, or by doing a different number of laps. Be creative and have some fun with it. Just get out there and keep moving!