The Ultimate Camping Trip Workout Routine

Camping: A chance to connect with nature, test your limits, explore this beautiful earth, and enjoy a kick-butt workout! What better way to greet the day than to jump on some logs, play with some rocks, and get down and dirty with nature?

Harnessing the beauty of the environment around you, you’re guaranteed to feel a surge of motivation. The greens, blues, and browns of the outside environment provide a more brilliant backdrop than the grays and blacks of the gym. Using the natural materials around you will provide a unique challenge as you try to grip, balance, and move. You'll get dirty, but who cares? The trees, rivers, and stones don't stare at you disapprovingly. The mountains and flowers don't judge how sweaty you are, or how much dirt is on your face. Feel the earth under you, the stones in your hands. Smell the fresh air, and listen to the silent noise of the wilderness as you perform this cardio and strength routine and turn the outdoors into your gym.

The Workout

Perform each exercise back-to-back without rest between exercises. Make sure you have access to a sturdy log and several rocks of different sizes and weights. Go lighter with the rocks than you would with dumbbells since rocks don't have easy-to-grip handles (you don't want to drop a rock on your foot!). You'll perform higher reps per exercise with the lighter weight, maximizing the cardiovascular workout while still enjoying a killer strength session. Perform one to three rounds, and don't forget to warm up before you start your routine. Try going for a short hike near your campsite. 

  • Step ups with leg extensions, 15 reps per leg
  • Squats, 25 reps
  • Farmers walk with pushups, 6 rounds with 5 pushups finishing each round
  • Biceps curls, 20 reps
  • Squat jumps, 20 reps
  • Triceps overhead extension, 20 reps
  • Double squat log jumps, 10 reps
  • Rows, 20 reps
  • Squat rock slams, 20 reps
  • Chest press, 20 reps
  • Oblique rock abs, 20 reps per side

1
Step Ups With Back Leg Extensions

Step Up Leg Extension
Danielle Press

If you have a large, thick, steady log around your campsite, turn it into a step platform. Step-ups with a back leg extension will get your heart racing and your legs and butt burning. The rounded shape of the log will challenge your balance, forcing your core to tighten, and your stabilizing leg to fully engage.

Step onto the log with your right leg, pressing through your heel to lift your body to stand atop the log. Instead of placing your left foot on top of the log, engage your left glute and extend your leg behind you. Step back to the ground, starting with your left foot and following with your right. Complete 15 reps on the right leg before you switch to the left.  

Safety tip: Prior to performing the exercise, ensure the log is stable and won’t roll during the exercise.

2
Squats

Rock Squats
Danielle Press

Bodyweight workouts are common when you're traveling, given that dumbbells are too burdensome to lug around. However, camp life and the abundance of nature lying around you can provide the perfect strength training equipment. Add a camp challenge by picking up a large stone before you perform your squats. Squats are an amazing exercise, a power-packed and versatile move that can be performed virtually anywhere. The ability to add weight will bring variation to your squats and your travel workout regimen.

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, hugging the rock to your chest. Press your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your glutes toward the ground. When your knees bend slightly more than 90-degrees, press through your heels and return to standing. 

3
Farmer's Walk With Pushups

Farmers Walk and Pushups
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No kettlebells? No problem! Explore the area around you and find two rocks, as similar in weight and size as possible. Ideally, the rocks will be flat, providing more comfort during the pushups that follow the farmer's walk.

Holding a rock in each hand, walk about 100 meters. You can alter the distance to match your skill level or the availability of space. Expect your forearms to strain as you try to maintain a steady grip on the smooth rocks. The landscape also provides a challenge. Performed on sand, over rocks, or grass, the ground will keep you guessing with obstacles and shifting surfaces.

Upon completion of the farmer's walk, throw the rocks down to the ground, quickly performing five pushups with your hands on the smooth stone. Let your sweat drip and let the environment around you guide each step and each rep.

After you've completed your five pushups, immediately pick up the rocks and perform the next round of the exercise, this time walking back to your starting position before doing the next five pushups. Continue for six total rounds. 

4
Biceps Curls

Biceps Curl
Danielle Press

Using the rocks or logs found around your camp, you can perform a variety of different bicep curls. Using mother nature’s dumbbell set, you can work with a single, larger rock, or two smaller ones. The perfect accessory to your camp workout, use the rocks to perform bicep curls, hammer curls, in and out curls, or concentration curls. Your forearms will also be tested as they grip the wider rocks.

When performing a biceps curl, remember to keep your elbows fixed to your sides as you pull the rock toward your shoulders. Avoid leaning your body forward or backward to provide momentum for the exercise. 

5
Squat Jumps

Squat Jumps
Danielle Press

Add some intense cardio to your routine with squat jumps. Use the uneven surface of a natural environment to push yourself harder than on even terrain. When given the opportunity to perform this exercise on sand, you'll require the strength of your entire body. The slipping and shifting surface keeps you constantly guessing. 

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Squat down, pressing your hips back before bending your knees, dropping your glutes behind you toward the sand. From the lowest position of the squat, explosively press through your feet as you spring up into the air, jumping as high as you comfortably can. Land on the balls of your feet, your knees and hips slightly bent to absorb impact. Immediately lower yourself into the next squat. 

Safety note: If you feel uncomfortable performing the jumping portion of this exercise due to joint pain or low back problems, skip the actual jump. Instead, still press forcefully through your feet as you extend your legs, but instead of jumping, just rise up onto your toes as you stand, as if performing a calf raise. You should also learn to land a jump with good form.

6
Triceps Overhead Extensions

Triceps Extension
Danielle Press

Once more calling on the rocks, perform 20 reps of triceps overhead extensions. Use this time to catch your breath, but remain focused. Slowly perform each rep, engaging your triceps and your core. Remember to keep your upper arms steady and close to your ears, hinging the rock behind your head from your elbows.

7
Double Squat Log Jumps

Log Jump
Danielle Press

Now that you’ve caught your breath, it’s time to lose it again.

Stand on one side of a log and perform two consecutive air squats—you can perform full squats or half squats, depending on your comfort level. As soon as you complete the second squat, explode into a tuck jump as you propel yourself up and over the log. Remember to land on the balls of your feet, your knees and hips slightly bent to absorb impact.

Performing 10 reps in quick succession will give you the cardio boost you need to torch more calories. These can prove difficult, so if jumping over a log is out of the question, step up onto the log after your squats, stepping down on the opposite side before continuing.

Safety note: Check the terrain on both sides of the log to make sure there aren't loose rocks or divots that could lead to an injury. 

8
Rows

Rock Rows
Danielle Press

Catch your breath as you transition into a weighted bent over row. Grabbing one or two rocks, hinge forward from the hip, keeping your back straight. Allow your arms to hang down from your shoulders. Next, pull the rock toward your chest, drawing your elbows back, keep them close to your body. Focus on pulling your shoulder blades together. Complete the set with strength, endurance, and intention.

9
Squat Rock Slams

Rock Slams with Squat
Danielle Press

If you find yourself camping in a sandy or grassy area, rock slams are a great addition to your camp workout. This exercise works your entire body, from your shoulders to your toes.

Carefully lift a rock over your head (start with one that's lighter in weight and easy to grip), then quickly throw it down to the ground in front of you. Finish the move with a squat as your retrieve the rock from the ground. Perform these quickly for another quick cardio boost. 

Safety note: Only perform rock slams on a soft terrain surface, where the slammed rock won't be likely to break apart when you throw it.

10
Chest Press

Rock Chest Press
Danielle Press

Using rocks as your weights, you can perform many different chest exercises. If you find two rocks of similar weight, you can perform chest flies, a standard chest press, or chest pullovers. Finding a large log can provide a sturdy place to perform the exercise. Challenge yourself with heavier rocks. You can even add leg raises to work your core. Use your imagination and have some fun!

Holding one heavy rock in both hands, or two similarly-weighted rock in each hand, lie back on a sturdy log for support. Press the rock above your chest, extending your arms, then bend your elbows, lowering the rock to your chest. Immediately reverse the movement to press the rock back to the starting position. 

11
Oblique Rock Abs

Oblique Abs
Danielle Press

Finish off your workout with oblique rock abs. Hold a rock against your side before hinging laterally at the hip, grazing the side of your body with the rock as you tip as far as you feel comfortable to one side. Use your obliques to pull your torso back to an upright position. Complete 20 reps before switching sides. Enjoy the process - look around and admire the environment around you. 

There is so much strength in nature, in the rippling waves, the trees that stand tall, and the mountains that move the earth. Get inspired by nature's strength and work your body hard! 

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