Taking Advantage of Your Location : At Last - Some Real Outdoor Space

A great place to train.

In this series Blaine and I will be looking at just some of the ways to take advantage of your location when it comes to working out. No matter what your idea of 'working out' is, there are several things you can do right where you are.

To kick things off, I'll be taking a peek at something which many of us can put to good use - a bit of outdoor space.

In 2005 I moved from Glasgow, Scotland to Sydney, Australia. I've done a fair bit of travelling over the years, so the logistics of shifting from one place to another weren't much of a problem (aside from the paperwork at customs, but that's another story).

What did stand out, however, was the big difference in the way I worked out. This consisted of :

Through this experience I noted many things (including the fact that it would've been cheaper, quicker and easier to sell everything first and buy it again in Sydney). Today, however, I'll just be looking at one of them - the things you can do with a yard.

How big is the yard?

When I first arrived in Sydney, I stayed at my parents' house whilst looking for something a little more permanent. The house sits on a 1/4 acre block, which was pretty typical here at the time it was built (early 1970s).

This is roughly broken up into thirds, with a third each for front, house and back yards. Easily enough for a bit of football, a game of cricket and a dip in the kidney-shaped swimming pool. It's a great set-up.

Time for some serious outdoor workouts

This space immediately lends itself to outdoor training. This has included :

Plenty of kettlebell training : although there's no real reason why kettlebell training can't be performed indoors, the ceiling height here means it's definitely an outdoor pursuit. Especially when it comes to kettlebell snatches.

Rob O'BrienNB : I haven't yet tried this, but the idea of kettlebell training in the pool is definitely on the cards. Once summer really gets underway, of course.

Sandbag work : again, this could be done indoors. However, there's always the feeling that one of these days a sandbag will burst, and, well, I'd rather be outside when it does.

Farmers' walks : I usually perform these with heavily-laden dumbbells, although I'm tempted to construct something a little more like this. The hardest part? Carrying them back into the house following a dumbbell Inman Mile. Love it.

George F. JowettOdd objects : no matter how hard you try, there's no way to drop something like an anvil without making a dent in the ground. I'd rather have a hole in the dirt than broken floorboards.

I also like lifting things that are already outside, such as the various stones, bags and machinery around the yard. Good fun.

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NB : For a complete list of everything we use and recommend, swing by the reviews area. And of course the Straight to the Bar Store. It's all in there.

To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.

What else can you do?

If you've got a yard and would love to use it more in your training regime, here are a few more things you can do.

Install playground equipment : Now, I'm not talking about swings and slides here (as much fun as they are). Take a look at this gear from Outdoor Fitness, the Traveling Rings at Muscle Beach and Kris's very own forest gym. There are some superb ideas there.

Build a sandpit : There are many, many things you can do with a sandpit. Sand makes a great 'drop zone' for all manner of heavy stuff, as it'll deaden the noise and prevent holes in the lawn. Also try throwing things - dumbbells or kettlebells - into it from a distance, shotput-style.

Build a pegboard or climbing wall : Climbing is one of my favourite ways to train - especially outdoors. If you're DIY-inclined, build your own pegboard or climbing wall. Feeling courageous? Knock up a Campus board.

Try a little rope work : Got a long, thin yard? Drag the thick rope outside, and get it moving. If you're not quite sure what I mean by 'get it moving', try the exercise in this video by Anthony DiLuglio.

Vertical space only? Loop the rope over a high tree branch and start climbing. Excellent exercise.

Push cars, tow sleds : If you have enough space, try pushing the car around the yard. Alternately, hook yourself up to a weighted sled and go for a brisk walk. Good stuff.

These are just some of the many things you can do when it comes to training in a decent-sized yard. Of course there are many, many more. Experiment.

Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Google+, Facebook; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

Like this? Check out :

Setting Up A Home Gym.

Ready to get started? Great.

70 of the Best : 7 Years of Straight to the Bar.

This site - Straight to the Bar - has been around for an incredible 7 years (the first post was on Jan 17th, 2004), and to say I'm grateful is a gross understatement.

Thank you.

DIY Equipment Ideas.

Stuck for ideas? Try these.

The Home Gym 2007.

Wonderful place to train.

Blast from the Past : Kettlebells.

What kettlebells are, where to get them and how to put them to work.

Things Which Deserve More Attention : Forearm Training.

This month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore - Things which deserve more attention - continues with a look at one of my favourite areas of training, the forearms.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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