There are a number of great outdoor activities available to anyone looking to get in shape, lose body fat, and improve overall health. Running, hiking, biking, swimming, or even just taking a walk in your neighborhood or a local park are some of the most convenient options.
As for strength-training, calisthenics are always available, but your exercises are pretty much limited to bodyweight squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and other traditional movements. All great exercises, but not very conducive to getting significantly stronger and adding muscle.
For this goal, the most effective, versatile, and convenient option for outdoor workouts is a set of resistance bands. They’re portable, inexpensive, and more practical than a suspension trainer like TRX. Best of all, bands offer a challenging strength-training session anywhere you go, anytime.
Here’s everything you need to take your gym with you on any hiking or camping excursion, vacation, or just a quick trip to your local park or beach.
Resistance Bands: Portable and Effective
You can’t take a set of dumbbells or a barbell with you on a hike or road trip, but a set of resistance bands will easily fit into any backpack, large or small. Not only do bands roll or fold up easily — they’re also very lightweight. You won’t even notice you packed them!
But don’t let that light weight fool you – bands provide just as much resistance as a heavy set of dumbbells. Elite-level sport athletes, powerlifters, and even bodybuilders rely on resistance bands to enhance performance, gain strength, and sculpt lean muscle. The linear variable resistance inherent to elastic bands makes this possible.
Let’s talk about suspension trainers for a moment, TRX being the most well known brand. Suspension trainers are straps that allow you to do a greater variety of bodyweight exercises than if you had no equipment whatsoever, and they’re are often promoted for outdoor use.
One major problem with this “outdoor accessibility” feature: If you don’t have anything to hang the straps from (a very sturdy tree, a solid beam structure overhead, etc.), they’re essentially worthless. This is why you mostly see TRXs in boutique training studios or as part of extensive home gym systems.
With bands, you don’t need to anchor them to anything to use them. Many band exercises are “non-anchored” – you can simply stand on the bands and do various exercises. Plus, you have far more anchoring options outdoors for bands than you do with a suspension trainer. With the latter, the anchor point needs to be overhead; with bands, the anchor can be as low as ground level.
The Best Equipment for Training Outside
If you’re looking for a high-quality set of resistance bands, Undersun Fitness specializes in bands, as well as digital training programs, that can be done in any outdoor location.
Here’s some of Undersun’s best gear for outdoor workouts:
5-Band Resistance Set, $78.95 – includes five different resistances: extra-light, light, medium, heavy, and extra-heavy, plus an Undersun drawstring backpack if you want to pack extra light instead of hauling a bulky bag. To pack even lighter, Undersun offers a 3-band set (light, medium, heavy) for $69.
Outdoor Anchor, $19.99 – the bands themselves have you more than covered for a great workout, but the Undersun Outdoor Anchor gives you unlimited options for exercise variations. Attach the anchor to a tree, signpost, or any other solid structure to train all muscle groups in multiple planes.
Undersun Hoodie, $39,99 – For the chillier months, pack an Undersun hooded sweatshirt to stay warm before, during, and after your workout. The 50%/50% cotton/polyester blend is both comfortable and durable. If it’s sunny out, throw on a stylish Undersun Logo Snapback hat.
Workout Gloves, $29.99 – These aren’t just for keeping your hands warm. Undersun training gloves also enhance grip and keep your skin from chafing.
How to Train Outdoors with Resistance Bands
With a set of Undersun bands, you have the freedom to do whatever type of outdoor workout you want. If you’re hiking or jogging, stop every so often and bang out a few sets of band exercises to complement your cardio activity with some strength work.
Or, block off 20-30 minutes for a high-intensity, muscle-building band workout anywhere you want – in your backyard, at the beach, at your camping site on a mountain, your choice.
Here’s a great full-body routine utilizing nothing but a set of Undersun resistance bands:
Resistance Band Full-Body Workout
Band Front Squat, 15 reps
Band Chest Press, 12 reps
Band Standing Row, 12 reps
Band Straight-Leg Deadlift, 15 reps
Band Overhead Press, 12 reps
Band Biceps Curl, 12 reps
Band Overhead Triceps Press, 12 reps
Band Crunch, 20 reps
Repeat circuit 3-5 times, resting 1-2 minutes between circuits.