Many of us found lockdown challenging in different ways, including keeping fit at times when gyms were closed and we were asked to stay within our own homes and gardens as much as possible.
Back in May 2020 we published our guide to setting up an outdoor gym in your garden. But for those of you who found working out at home a tempting and convenient prospect for the long term, here’s our complete guide to setting up an indoor and outdoor garden gym.
You might not want to use all the ideas in this guide – you might have more indoor space, or more outdoor space, or you might be working in a relatively small area overall.
But hopefully some of the suggestions will inspire you to create an exercise area in your garden, whether it’s out in the open or inside a shed or other garden building.
Here’s our quick start guide to your own outdoor gym routine, including simple exercises all beginners can try with no equipment needed – just the resistance of your body weight.
You don’t need any equipment to start working out in your garden, ideally just a healthy, good quality lawn. Body weight exercises use your own body to provide resistance for your muscles. By completing repetitions (or ‘reps’) you can start to build muscle mass and gain strength.
Some examples of body weight exercises you can do in the garden include:
There are plenty of video tutorials for all of the above, and you can film yourself from
the side and front to check your posture, if you’re a beginner to any of these exercises.
It’s good to incorporate rows into your routine if possible, and you don’t need much equipment to be able to do this – a low bar, pair of rings or wall-mounted pull handles can all work.
Rows involve leaning back with your body weight supported by your arms, and pulling yourself towards the rings or bar until your torso is further forwards than your elbows.
If you only install one piece of outdoor gym equipment,
consider handles, rings or a low monkey bar, so that you can progress to rows as part of your intermediate routine.
Progressions take the basic exercises listed above (and others) and introduce variations that make them harder, for example:
· Performing the exercise on a downward incline
· Adding extra weights (e.g. barbells, dumbbells etc)
· Holding a stress position for longer (e.g. planking)
Your routine will depend on what equipment you have available, which muscle groups you want to target, and how experienced you are at your preferred exercises.
A high monkey bar for pull-ups and/or parallel bars for dips are both good additions to your outdoor gym. They can be used for a wide range of other exercises, and don’t take up too much of your valuable outside space.
If you have kids or you find it hard to stick to a strict workout routine, consider using games and sports as a way to exercise in your garden instead.
You can lay turf for an instant play area for football, tennis (or swingball, in smaller gardens) or just a space to play catch with the kids.
Or get some basic equipment e.g. football goals, basketball hoops and other garden sports gear that you can pack away when it’s not in use, and you can add some activity to your leisure time without leaving the boundary of your own property. To make sport in your garden as enjoyable as possible be sure to use a quality turf supplier for your lawn and refer to our new turf care guide to help keep it pristine condition.
Exercising outdoors is all well and good when the conditions are right, but what about on a rainy day, or in a heatwave? If you don’t have a suitable space in your home to dedicate to your gym routine, an indoor garden gym is an excellent alternative.
A garden gym doesn’t need to be a special structure – an open shed can provide plenty of s
pace and doesn’t have to break the bank.
You might even decide to build your own garden gym. As a ‘temporary’ structure, there are quite relaxed planning rules around this, and it’s a good way to maximise your use of space with a custom-built outbuilding.
step two: kit out
Install some basic equipment similar to that recommended for your outdoor exercises – or use mobile equipment that you can bring indoors when you want.
Some good starting gear includes:
Work with the space you have available. Try to avoid buying too much equipment – you want your outbuilding to feel like a gym, not a storage unit, and you need room to work out in too.
Finally, as your confidence and capabilities grow, you can start to think about buying a bigger piece of equipment, such as a good-quality treadmill, cross trainer or exercise bike.
Try to maintain some balance between arms, legs, core muscles and so on, so you’re giving your body a thorough workout and not favouring one muscle group too much over the others.
Build your routine and try new exercises now and then to keep things fresh, and remember to take rest days so your muscles have chance to heal – you’ll get better results in the long term.
Indoor and outdoor gyms both have their benefits. Some equipment needs to be stored inside, but exercising in the open air feels more natural and refreshing.
By following the suggestions in this guide, you can turf an area of your garden for play, add some simple equipment for outdoor exercises and, if you want, build a shed to use as an indoor garden gym.
Why choose only one option? Even in a small garden, you can have it all, and get fit at the same time!
For more information on how to achieve the perfect lawn in your garden please get in touch today.