15 Swing Set Exercises

As a father, I wanted to write this blog for the parents. It’s so hard to find time to workout in the summer. For most, fitness just takes a back seat during this time. Let’s be honest, you want to be outside. It’s the season of bar-b-que, beer, family vacations, and soaking up the sun. Your kids want and need to be outside too. For these reasons, attendance at health clubs declines significantly over the spring and summer months. So, how does one get a total body workout outside of the gym? Easy, head to the playground, jump on the swing set and try these 15 exercises.

    1. Pistol Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and pointing forward. Hold arms straight out and grasp the swing for stability. Raise the right leg and lower the body while bending the left knee. Drop to a level of chair height, then return to standing. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch to perform on the opposite leg. Progression: Perform with the leg up on the swing’s seat. Pistol squat

2. Prone Plank: Place your elbows on the swing’s seat. Walk your feet back and have your elbows under the shoulders. Engage the core and glutes to maintain a neutral alignment. Your shoulders, hips, and knees should be in alignment. The hips should not sink or rise. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds. Progression: Hold the plank position and slowly press the swing above your head using your arms.

prone plank3. Side Plank: Place the right elbow on the swing’s seat. Walk the feet outward. The elbow and shoulder should remain in a vertical alignment. Engage the core and glutes to maintain a neutral alignment. Your shoulders, hips, and knees should be in alignment. The hips should not sink toward the ground. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds. Repeat exercise on the other side. Progression: Perform side leg raises by raising the top leg 6-12 inches.

side plank4. Hamstring Curl: Lie flat on your back and place your feet on the swing’s seat. Place your arms to the side for added stability. Engage the core and raise the hips and low-back off of the ground. While holding the up position, contract your hamstrings to draw the heel toward the butt. Slowly return to the leg extended position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Progression: Do single-leg hamstring curls.

Hamstring curl5. Bridge with March: Lie with your upper back and shoulder blades on the swing’s seat. Place your feet flat on the ground and shoulder width apart. Engage the core and glutes so the knees, hips, and shoulders remain in alignment. Slowly extend the right leg. Hold the extended position for 1-2 seconds and return the foot to the ground, then repeat on the left side. Alternate between right and left for desired number of reps. Progression: Do a hip thrust movement in between the leg marches.

Bridge with march6. Skater squat:  Stand on one leg and place the opposite leg on the swing’s seat. Lean forward at the waist. Try to make a “T” with the body by having the up leg and the torso parallel to the ground. Place hands behind the back. Bend the knee of the down leg and lower yourself to the ground. Be sure to keep the upper body parallel to the ground. Lower until the chest comes to the knee. Squeeze the glutes to return to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch to perform on the opposite leg.

Skater squat7. Bulgarian Squat with runner’s pose: Begin by standing with your back to the swing and placing your right foot on the swing’s seat. Your body should maintain vertical alignment. Bend your left knee to lower yourself into a lunge position. As you lower, the right leg will track backward slightly. Contract the left quad and glute to return to the standing position. As you return to the standing position, pull the swing forward by pulling with the right hip.  Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch to perform on the opposite leg. Progression: Perform while holding on to weights.

Bulgarian squat8. Step-up to balance: Stand, facing the swing. Grab the swing chains just above head height. Place the right foot on the swing’s seat. Contract the glutes and quads to come up to the standing position. As you stand up, pull the left hip and foot through so that the hip is bent to 90 degrees and the thigh is parallel to the ground. Engage the core to maintain stability while balancing for 2-3 seconds, before lowering back to the ground. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch to perform on the opposite leg.

step-up to balance9. Push-up: I hope I don’t have to explain a push-up. The difference here is that the feet are placed on the swing’s seat. The key is to keep abdominals tight and glutes engaged to ensure the hips from raising or sinking during the motion. Use the core to stabilize and prevent the swing swaying. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Progression: Perform an atomic push-up by combining the push-up with the abdominal tuck below.

Push-up10. Abdominal tucks: Begin as you would the swing push-up position mentioned above. Hold the up position of the push-up and engage the core and glutes. Squeeze the abdominals and tuck your pelvis to bring your hips and knees toward the chest. Slowly, allow the legs and abdominals to straighten as you return to the start position. Keep abdominals tight and glutes engaged to prevent hips from raising or sinking during the motion. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Progression: Perform an atomic push-up by combining the push-up with the abdominal tuck.

abdominal tucks11. Power Pull: Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart and facing the swing. Hold the swing with the right hand and lean back to a 45-degree angle. Rotate at the spine as you reach the left arm toward the ground. Be sure the knees and feet remain pointing straight forward. Your upper body should be rotated approximately 90 degrees to the left. From the mid position, pull with the right arm as you rotate back up. Reach high and finish on your toes, with the glute contracted. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch to perform on the other side. Progression: Perform the movement without allowing the knees to bend.

Power Pull12. Overhead extension:  Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart and facing the swing. Hold the swing with both hands and lean back to a 45-degree angle. Sink your hips and bend at the waist. Simultaneously fire the glutes and extend the arms overhead bringing you up to a standing position. Finish on the toes. Slowly allow gravity to bring you back to the starting position. Control the movement and do not bounce.  Repeat for the desired number of reps. Progression: Perform on one leg.

Overhead extension with hip thrust13. Middle Row: Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart and facing the swing. Grab the sides of the swing with both hands and lean back to a 45-degree angle. Engage the glutes and core to maintain a neutral alignment. Squeeze the shoulders and pull with the arms bringing the chest to the swing. Slowly allow gravity to bring you back to the starting position.  Repeat for the desired number of reps. Progression: Perform using one arm.

Middle row14. Biceps curl: Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart and facing the swing. Grab the swing with both hands and lean back to a 45-degree angle. Engage the glutes and core to maintain a neutral alignment. Squeeze the biceps and bend at the elbows while bringing the chest to the swing. Slowly allow gravity to bring you back to the starting position. The torso, hips, and knees should remain still. The elbows should be the only body part moving during this exercise.  Repeat for the desired number of reps.  Progression: Perform using one arm.

Bicep curl15. Triceps Press: To begin, face away from the swing and place the hands and upper forearms on the swing’s seat. The elbows should be bent to 90 degrees. Walk out so that the body leans forward to a 45-degree angle. Engage the glutes and core to maintain a neutral alignment. Press with the triceps to extend the elbows and raise your body. Allow gravity to bring you back to the starting position. The torso, hips, and knees should remain still. The elbows should be the only body part moving during this exercise.  Repeat for the desired number of reps. Progression: Walk your feet back to increase the angle of the exercise.

Tricep extension

Summer is the time for fun, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip the workouts. There are many things you can do. When taking your kids to the playground the workout possibilities are endless. Just use your imagination and be willing to do things outside the box. Who knows, your kids might join you!

If you want some other exercises you can do anywhere, check these articles out as well:

50 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
3 Workouts from the Trunk of Your Car

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *