The Playground Workout:
How to work out even if your gym is closed.


Today, my gym was closed but I really wanted to exercise. So I improvised and created The Playground Workout. Find yourself with no gym? Use this article for motivation and come up with something creative of your own.

Right now I’m in the middle of a home renovation. For those who’ve done a major renovation, you know what it’s like. You rely heavily on the good graces and eternal patience of friends and family members.

Yep, you rely on their couches too.

So right now, I’m relying on the patience, good graces, and couches of some friends and family in the town of Tillsonburg Ontario.

Never heard of Tillsonburg? Well, it’s a small town, just south of London, that used to be known for its tobacco crop.

In fact, Stompin Tom Connors, a legendary Canadian singer born in St John New Brunswick, put Tillsonburg on the map with a song about picking tobacco in the town.

Hey Tom, You ever been to Tillsonburg?
Tillsonburg? My back still aches when I hear that word.

While, a way down Southern Ontario
I never had a nickle or a dime to show
A fella beeped up in an automobile
He said “You’ll want to work in the Tobacco field’s of”

Tillsonburg (echo: Tillsonburg)
My back still aches when I hear that word

Yep, it’s a cheesy song. But whenever anyone hears where I’m now living, you can bet they sing it. Yipee!

And while Tillsonburg is a town known for tobacco, let me tell you what Tillsonburg is not known for — fitness. Gyms open here…and then close…all the time.

In fact, right now, Tillsonburg has only one gym. It’s a good gym. In fact, I love training there. But the hours, well, they’re negotiable.

In other words, it’s open when the owner wants to open it and closed when he wants to kick off for the day.

So last Friday, I popped over to the gym at 8pm to hit a workout. And yes, it was closed. I guess my back wasn’t going to ache this day…not from deadlifting in Tillsonburg anyway.

Yet after a few minutes of cursing the town of Tillsonburg (echo: Tillsonburg), I pulled myself together and came up with a plan. I didn’t want to miss my workout. So I was going to have to make due.

Then I had an idea…I drove on over to a local playground. And the Playground Workout was born.

The Playground Workout intro

Why the playground workout? Here’s my intro.

The Playground Workout – What is it?

What I’m about to do at this playground.

The Playground Workout – Warm-up

The following 5 exercises made up my warm-up. I did them in circuit fashion, performing 2 circuits of about 30 seconds of each exercise.

Prisoner Squats

Front Arm Circles

Back Arm Circles

Arm Cross Over

Walking Lunges

The Playground Workout – Exercises

After the warm-up, I did the following 12 exercises.

I supersetted exercises 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8, 9 and 10, & 11 and 12 by going back and forth between each pairing, doing about 10-15 reps per set.

I did each pairing 3 times before moving on to the next.

Exercise 1 – Reverse Push-Ups

Exercise 2 – Rope Push-Ups

Exercise 3 – Pull-Ups

Exercise 4 – Chest Flyes

Exercise 5 – Triceps Press

Exercise 6 – Biceps Curls

Exercise 7 – 1 Leg Squat

Exercise 8 – 1 Leg Deadlift

Exercise 9 – Jumps

Exercise 10 – Dips

Exercise 11 – Leg Raise

Exercise 12 – Rear Delt Flyes (View A)

Exercise 12 – Rear Delt Flyes (View B)


The playground workout has ended. Will you be the next to try the playground workout?


Sets, reps, etc.

In the workout outline above, I mention the number of supersets, reps, etc. that I did during this workout.

However, keep this in mind. This isn’t a magical combination. Rather, it’s just how I decided to do this improvised workout on this given day.

You could do it exactly like I did, you could do the entire thing in straight sets (Exercise 1 x 3, Exercise 2 x 3, etc.), you could do it in circuit fashion (Exercise 1, Exercise 2, etc. x 3), or you could do it backwards while balancing a BCAA drink on your head.

The key is to just get out there, work the body, and work it with intensity.


The entire Playground Workout was done with a grade school jungle gym, a park bench, and a pair of “Blast Straps” from Elite FTS – and the whole thing was done a few years back.

However, truth is, if I were to do it over again, I’d use a TRX Suspension System. It’s a lot more versatile. Click here to learn a bit more about the TRX system.

Eat, move, and live… better.©

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