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The world is your gym

Stair runs with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Think you need to join a gym to get in shape? Think again. Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson demonstrates the park workout that will get you ripped.

You don’t need to spend money on expensive gym membership or exercise classes to get in shape. Take a trip to your local park and you’ll find everything you need for a full body workout – all it takes is a slice of imagination.

The following workout is demonstrated by Corporal Lydia Hilson, 26, who has been in the Army for nine years. Currently based at the Army Training Centre in Pirbright, Cpl Hilson oversees fitness sessions with new recruits, so knows just what is needed to get in shape fast.

Here, she does a circuit designed to work muscles in the upper and lower body, as well as deliver a solid hit of core and cardio work to help develop your overall fitness. Each drill is designed to make use of your own body mass, so there’s no need for weights. Get outdoors and see how many circuits you can complete.

The circuit

Cpl Hilson recommends building up the time spent on each drill to a target of one minute per exercise, one after the other. Repeat three times with a minute’s rest between each circuit for a 30-minute workout. Rather than going for as many reps as possible, focus on achieving good form: teaching your body to be efficient is key to building all-round strength. Once you get the hang of the workout, extend the period of exercise for each drill or throw in an extra circuit.

Box jump

Box jump with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Hamstrings, cardio
Stand in front of a bench, feet shoulder-width apart. Bending your knees slightly, jump up on to the bench, powering through your hips and hamstrings. Keep your feet balanced and back straight as you land, with your arms elevated in front of you for stability. Step down before repeating.

Tricep Dip and Kick

Tricep dips Box jump with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Triceps, pectorals, core
Sit in front of a bench with your legs straight and hands on the surface behind. Push up until your arms are fully extended, then lower your body and kick one leg straight up before pushing back up. Switch your kicking leg each rep.

Split Squat

Split squat with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Glutes, quads
Standing half a stride in front of a bench, reach one foot back and place it on top of the bench. Bend your standing leg as if you were squatting, allowing the back knee to touch the ground, before returning to the standing position. Switch your standing leg every five reps.

Hoop pull-up

Hoop pull up with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Traps, lats and triceps
Take hold of a set of parallel hoops and find a comfortable grip. Heave your body upwards so that your chin is level with the hoops you  are gripping. Maintain control throughout each rep, keeping your torso still and core engaged for good form.

Stair run

Stair runs with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Cardio, legs
Choose your stairs – the fitter you are the more you can run up – and simply run up and down them for the full minute. Concentrate on form, accentuating your knee lift for full hip mobility and working the arms so that your hands come up level to your chin.

Glute Bridge

Glute bridges with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Glutes, core, hamstrings
Lie on your back with your feet resting on a raised step and knees at around 90 degrees. Lift your hips off the floor, keeping your back straight, and hold for a few seconds. Lower your hips back down to the ground, keeping the core engaged, to complete the rep.

Inverted row

Inverted rows outdoors with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Shoulders, biceps, forearms, pectorals
Lie on the floor underneath a bike rack or secure railing. Place your hands on the bar above with an overhand grip. Keeping your legs straight, pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar. Hold for a second before lowering yourself down.

Step up

Step ups outdoors with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Calves, quads, hamstrings
Facing a set of stairs, step up, lifting the heel of your standing leg so you go up on tiptoes. Raise the opposite knee until your thigh is horizontal while driving the opposite arm to maintain balance. Alternate legs every rep.

Elevated press-up

Elevated press up on a swing outdoors in a playground with Army PTI Corporal Lydia Hilson

Pectorals, core
Get in the press-up position with your feet resting on a swing. Perform a press-up, keeping your core engaged throughout the rep. Make it an atomic press-up by bringing your knees to your chest between reps.