Spring is back in full force and the sunshine brings Sydneysiders to parks around the city for wine consumption and exercise (to counteract the former). We spoke to Sydney-based personal trainer and founder of Major Fitness Rawson Kirkhope to find out the sweet spots to train, and the small things you can do solo or with a buddy to get your summer body beach-ready.
Rushcutters Bay Park and Yarranabbe Park
“There are two outdoor gyms to choose from, with bars and equipment for chin ups, sit ups, step ups and they’re a good spot to stretch too,” Kirkhope said.
“It’s also a dog friendly park and well lit, so you can run the tracks with your pet and also feel safe at night if you’re going for a jog while the sun sets.”
Marks Park, Bondi to Bronte coastal walk
While it’s also high up on the to-do list for Sydney tourists, the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk makes for a decent run. And the perfect views distract you from counting down the kilometres. But it is also home to an outdoor gym at Marks Park which is situated at Mackenzies Point in between Bondi and Tamarama.
“It not only has bars with information boards and a challenging set of stairs but panoramic views looking over Bronte Beach, south towards Clovelly,” Kirkhope said.
Centennial Park, Eastern Suburbs
“There are so many options for training here, whether it’s running on any of the numerous tracks or trails or working out at the outdoor gyms,” Kirkhope said.
Centennial Park is one of Sydney’s largest parks which spans more than 180 hectares. Less than five kilometres from the CBD, the park is easily accessible for Sydneysiders working in the city.
Dudley Page Reserve, Dover Heights
The view from Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights is unrivalled, said Kirkhope, which makes training at sunset or sunrise all the more enjoyable.
“It’s a family friendly park with an above average outdoor gym. There are information boards, bars and benches -- both declining and flat -- so you can do an extensive training session there,” Kirkhope said.
“And the views of the city are absolutely breathtaking.”
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
The royal botanic gardens are the perfect location for a decent cardio workout, with an abundance of running tracks.
“You can run along any of the harbour side tracks there, and they’re lined with plenty of benches and stairs to add some variety,” Kirkhope said.
The Major Fitness founder suggested running from the Opera House through the gardens to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. And if you’re feeling extra motivated, there’s the famous Andrew Boy Charlton Pool to swim a few laps in. The pool looks out over Garden Island and the navy base.
THREE EASY PARK EXERCISES WORKING YOUR ENTIRE BODY
“This is to ‘go to’ full body exercise. Burpees will condition your entire body, developing strength, explosive power and anaerobic endurance,” Kirkhope said.
- Begin in the squat position, with your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Kick your feet back straight behind you so you end up in a push up position.
- Immediately return your feet to the squat position.
- Jump up in the air from the squat position.
“This is another great full body exercise, as mountain climbers benefit muscular and cardiovascular fitness whilst also improving flexibility, blood circulation and overall strength,” Kirkhope said.
- Start in a pushup position so your hands are directly under your chest, shoulder width apart with straight arms.
- Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
- Aim to do 40-50 on each leg, or aim for a desired amount of time. For example, 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off for 3 minutes.
“This is such a simple exercise that is so effective. The exercise extensively works the quadriceps, the glutes and the hamstrings,” Kirkhope said.
- From a position standing upright lunge your right foot forward, bending from the knee and holding your core. Make sure your knee is in line with your ankle as you bend, and not further forward.
- Straighten up and bring the right foot back to a normal standing position.
- Repeat with the left leg.
- For an extra challenge, hold a dumbbell in each hand while performing the lunge. Progress from stationary alternating lunges to picking a target 20-30 metres away, lunging all the way to the target and back using alternate legs.