Barry's Park or Backyard Workout - Rancho La Puerta
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Barry’s Park or Backyard Workout

As our co-founder, Deborah Szekely says, “movement is life.” Getting your heart pumping and using your muscles can simultaneously keep your immune system strong and elevate your mood. Many of us quarantine at home, and our regular fitness practices are not available as an option. We must keep moving.

This workout is a quick routine you can do in your backyard or at a nearby park or outdoor space. All you need is your body; no equipment is necessary. Push-ups and pull-ups target all the large muscles of the upper body. In contrast, most cardio exercises target the lower body muscles and cardiovascular system. Keep it simple, and you can repeat the sequence up to four times, or as time permits.

I would suggest doing each exercise for a minute. This workout alternates cardio and muscle exercises. There are ten exercises, so it will take a little over ten minutes to complete one round; a 30-minute workout would be three rounds.

Start with (at minimum) a five-minute walk, circling the arms and getting the blood moving through the body.

step ups


These can be done on a park bench or even a step or large rock. Make sure to put your entire foot on the bench, keep your knee in line with your foot, and alternate the lead leg every five to ten steps.

push ups


Using a bench provides an excellent modified way to do a push-up. A good basic push-up maintains a 90-degree angle in your elbow joint. Your wrist should always be directly under your elbow, and don’t completely lock out your elbow as you extend to the up position. If you get tired, try holding a static position.

Jumping Jacks 

Jumping jacks are an effective old school exercise that we have all done in PE classes. There are many ways to modify this exercise; for example, limit the range of motion by using no arms or one leg at a time limit.


A plank is basically holding a push-up on your elbows. Pull your abdominals in tight, contracting your leg and glute muscles, and engaging your upper back. Keep your shoulder blades from collapsing toward one another. A modification would be to drop to your knees. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine from head to tailbone during the entire hold.

High Knee Runs

This is as simple as running in place and lifting your knees as high as you can with each step to elevate heart rate and increase intensity.

Assisted Pull-ups

Full pull-ups are one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises. You can do this exercise on any bar, railing, or low hanging branch. A modified version works the same muscles while having a percentage of your body weight supported on the ground makes the exercise more accessible. The more you bend your knees, the more you can use your legs to assist the upper body in completing it. I start with my legs straight and then bend them as my upper body fatigues.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers provide an excellent cardio workout that targets several of your major muscle groups. You can increase or decrease the intensity with the speed and range of motion you select. To increase the intensity, bring your knee to almost touching your elbow as quickly as you can or go slower with less range of motion to decrease intensity.

Triceps dip

Place your hands on the edge of the bench, making sure to keep your shoulder and elbow joints stacks over one another.  The further you take your feet from the bench, the more challenging the exercise will be because your legs will assist less.  Pay attention to keep your shoulders pressed down away from the ears while being cautious not to roll your shoulder excessively forward when you dip. Dip down to about a 90-degree angle in the elbow joint and then lift yourself back to the starting position.

Bridge Thrusts

This exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings. Start on your back with knees bent and your heels about six inches from your butt. In one motion, lift your pelvis off the ground while contracting your glutes and hamstrings. Complete as many as you can in one minute without overextending your low back.

Side Plank 

Side planks are an alternate version of the traditional plank and help target the obliques. It’s important to keep your elbow directly under the shoulder and your neck long. A modified version would be to kick-stand the bottom knee. Note to switch sides at 30-seconds to work both sides of the body.

Final Cardio

Select one of the cardio exercises we already did that you liked, or makeup one of your own like traveling lunges or jumping rope without a rope.

Barry Shingle is the Director of Guest Relations and Programming. He looks forward to welcoming you to The Ranch when we reopen. See more fitness tips and exercises.