8 Best Outdoor Exercises that Help Build Muscle

outdoor exercises

Strength training is essential for a powerful and healthy body. Unfortunately, six in 10 Americans do not partake in muscle-building exercises.

Increasing your muscle mass improves bone density to reduce your risk of osteoarthritis and fractures. It enables your joints to stay flexible and prevents weight gain.

If you’re looking for a way to build muscle, head outside. Outdoor exercises allow you to gain muscle through different techniques. Plus, they provide a great excuse to get your daily dose of fresh air.

Let’s explore all of the different ways you can build muscle in your own backyard.

1. Playground Workouts

You don’t need fancy equipment for building muscle. In fact, your local playground will suffice.

Parks and playgrounds provide ample space for exercising. Turn picnic tables, swing sets, monkey bars, and park benches into a personal outdoor gym.

Below are a few examples of playground-approved workouts. Try to complete 10 to 12 reps per set. 

Bench Push-Ups

Place your hands on the edge of a park bench, creating an incline position with your body. Push up and down.

Increase the difficulty by placing your feet on the bench and doing reverse push-ups. 

Playground Pull-Ups

Use the playground’s monkey bars as a pull-up bar. Position yourself under the bars. Pull your body up, working your shoulders, upper back, core, and chest.

Park Pench Tricep Dips

Work the back of your arms. Place your palms on the end of the park bench or picnic table.

Keep your legs bent with your feet sticking up. Lift your body up and down, working the triceps.

2. Hill Sprints

Turn your backyard into the best gym in the neighborhood. Running is an excellent way to reduce stress, boost athletic performance, and build strong muscles in the lower body.

For strength, stick to short and sweet running. Long-distance aerobic workouts increase muscle protein breakdown and prevent muscle growth.

Instead, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as hill sprints. HIIT workouts increase muscle fibers and grow muscles.

Sprinting burns calories and shed fat, and adding an inclined surface takes the workout up a notch. The hills are safe for HIIT training because the incline prevents you from maxing out and getting injured. 

HIIT training should never be done two days in a row. Try to incorporate it one to two times into your weekly workout schedule.

Start with sets of three to five hill sprints, with a 45 to 60-second rest in between. As you become stronger, increase your reps while decreasing rest time.

Hill sprints work the lower body muscles. They target the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back. As you propel yourself up the hill, you also work the shoulders, arms, and chest.

3. Water Workouts

Water is one of the best places for a full-body workout. Plus, heading to a pool, lake, or ocean with a group makes it easy to exercise with friends.


Swimming keeps your heart rate up, and the low-impact movements do not stress your bones and joints. It’s an excellent way to build endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

Doing laps tones muscles. Nearly all of your muscles are used, making swimming a powerful full-body exercise. Swimmers are known to have toned, lean, and muscular bodies.

In addition to building muscle, heading to the water is relaxing. It’s a great place to de-stress. Swimming lengthens muscles to enhance healing, flexibility, and range of motion.


Just because you’re sitting down, doesn’t mean it’s not a workout. Kayaking builds strength in your core, chest, biceps, triceps, upper back, and shoulders. One hour out on the water in a kayak burns over 350 calories.

Kayaking is easy on the knees, making it a low-risk workout. It’s one of the best activities for regulating your heart rate, building muscle mass, and eliminating fat.


Stand up paddleboarding leads to muscular arms, legs, back, shoulders, and core. The motion engages major muscle groups to build strength and tone your body.

Standing on a paddleboard activates small muscles in the feet and lower legs. The motion can treat chronic conditions, like plantar fasciitis. Stand up paddleboarding increases joint support and enhances balance.

Most importantly, paddleboarding gives you a chance to enjoy nature while still getting in a powerful workout. Rowing through the water can be euphoric, giving paddlers a feeling similar to a “runners high.” Plus, on a sunny day, paddleboarding is the ideal way to get a hefty dose of vitamin D.

4. Sand Exercises

If you’ve got a nearby beach or sandpit, turn it into an outdoor gym.

Sand is a challenging surface that works large groups of muscles. Various sand workouts tone the hamstrings, glutes, feet, and calves. The soft foundation provides extra stability to decrease your risk of muscle strain.

Head to the sand to knock out curtsey lunges, squat jumps, calve raises, and bear crawls.

Even moderate jogging through the sand is challenging enough to build muscle in your lower body. You will burn 1.6 times as many calories moving through sand compared to flat surfaces.

5. Road Cycling

Cycling is a safe and enjoyable low-impact exercise. Hop on a bike and let the road dictate your workout.

As you pedal, natural inclines create resistance. That means not only will you burn plenty of fat during your cycle session, but you’ll also build lean muscle in your glutes, hamstring, quads, and calves.

Regular road cycling leaves your legs looking toned as well as provides other full-body benefits. Cycling leads to improved lung and heart health. The workout decreases cancer risks and enhances sleep quality.

6. Jump Roping

Channel your elementary school days with some old-fashion jump roping. Jump around your driveway, in your backyard, or on any flat surface you can find.

Jumping rope burns calories and builds muscular strength. It targets the deltoids, calves, hamstrings, core, and quads.

Not only does jumping rope help you get stronger, but it also is an excellent option for cardio. The repetitive nature boosts balance, spatial awareness, reflexes, and agility.

7. Outdoor Yoga

Grab a blanket or towel and head outside for an outdoor yoga session. From the park to the beach to your backyard, yoga allows you to build muscle while enjoying some fresh air.

Yoga uses bodyweight to enhance muscular strength. Yoga can tone the core, shoulders, glutes, and back. The exercises slowly build long and lean muscles.

Some of the most effective yoga positions for strength building include:

  • Chair pose
  • Boat pose
  • Four-limbed staff pose
  • Locust Pose
  • Side plank

In addition to toning your body, yoga has many other benefits.

Regular yoga leads to weight loss, protects your body from injuries, and improves digestion. It increases flexibility, circulation, and athletic performance. Yoga promotes calmness and relaxation, especially when surrounded by nature.

8. Backyard Leg Challenges

You can strengthen your leg muscles at your own home. The grass is soft and acts as a giant exercise mat, which can help your legs feel stable as work your lower body.

Backyard Alternating Reverse Lunges

Lunges build athletic quads, hamstrings, and buttocks. They require control, balance, and proper technique. Even if you only use bodyweight, lunges create toned lower body muscles.

Put your feet together and take a big step backward with one leg. Drop your hips to the ground until they form a 90-degree angle.

Pause for a moment before rising. Alternate your legs until you work each side evenly.

Backyard Jump Squats

Squats target the hamstrings, buttocks, calves, and glutes. They trigger hormone production that enables muscle growth. Squats also burn fat and improve balance.

Use your lawn to bang out a few sets of squats. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until you are parallel with the ground.

Jump, using your arms to help push your body up. As you land, bend your knees and sink back into a squat position. If you have the room, you can do moving squat jumps all over your lawn.

Backyard Glute Bridges

Glute bridges engage the lower back, glutes, hips, buttocks, and core. You can do glute exercises every day without overworking your muscles.

To do a glute bridge, lay on a soft patch of grass. If you’re uncomfortable, put a towel down.

Once you’re on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms facing up.

Raise your hips slowly. Your knees, hips, and shoulders should create a straight line. Squeeze your glutes and keep your abdominal muscles tight. 

Hold the bridge for a moment before releasing.

Combine Outdoor Exercises With Lab-Grade Supplements

From playground workouts to yoga on the beach, there are a variety of outdoor exercises guaranteed to build lean and athletic muscles.

To boost your health, combine outdoor strength exercises with lab-grade supplements.  From vitamin B12 to MCT oil, there are plenty of nutrients designed to stimulate muscle growth.

Shop our selection of high-quality supplements. We’ve got the dietary additions your body needs to reach its potential.

Exercise, Muscle Growth, Outdoors

These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

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