Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Recently I've found out that a few streets from my home the city has built a free outdoor gym. The problem is, the machines in the outdoor gym dont use any weights, and as far as I know, they have no regulation. I dont know how much Im pushing or lifting when using them.

A picture of one of the machines Im talking about: rowing machine

Now I have two questions:

  • Is there any sense to exercising at that gym, or am I better off just doing my bodyweight routines? Maybe I should mix the two? If the gym could be helpfull Im willing to use it, but I want to do most of the work with bodyweight exercises. Im gonna have a few delegations this year and I wont be able to visit any gyms at all for several weeks, so I would like to be able to do the core of my training everywhere.
  • Is there any way to determine what % of my bodyweight I am lifting/pushing/pulling on various outdoor machines? (For example, lets say that the rowing machine lets me pull 70% of my bodyweight)

BACKGROUND FOR THE FIRST QUESTION

Ive been doing Stronglifts 5x5 for 2-3 weeks, but found the need for a barbell and weights too much of a problem, since I dont have a squat rack at home. The gym is too far away and recently they raised the prices. Also Im living in an apratment, so I cant really buy all the needed equipment. Ok, I can, but im simply not willing to do it. Thats why Im setting up a bodyweight program to "replace" it, see my last question here: Bodyweight strength training

Right now my main goal is to reduce my BF% from 26% to around 15%. I want to minimize muscle loss, or even increase my muscle mass, as im not a very advanced and should be capable of doing that. Increasing overall fitness is a secondary but important goal, especially the back - I got a weak back, and I slouch a lot (sitting office job).

As for the diet, Im not counting calories, but I eat lots of protein and limit carbs. Ive been losing weight since 11.2012, but last month my weight seemed to stabilize at 75kg and around 24-28BF%(down from 93kg and 35BF%)

I want to be able to do fun physical activities during the week without ruining my workout plan due to overtraining. Those fun activities may include swimming, riding a bike, playing squash, asg shooting games, a bit of historical fencing etc. I just sometimes do some of those things when im feeling like it - sometimes once a week, sometimes 4 times a week.

share|improve this question
    
What are your goals from your gym sessions? What are your current bodyweight routines (exercises, sets, reps, rest time)? –  Anthony Grist Apr 25 '13 at 10:51
    
@Anthony Grist - edited my question to provide some background –  K.L. Apr 25 '13 at 11:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Do What You Feel

Is there any sense to exercising at that gym, or am I better off just doing my bodyweight routines?

Sure, there's sense in using outdoor gyms. Or you could stick with your bodyweight stuff. It's your workout time. Do what you feel.

Maybe I should mix the two?

That could definitely work. Or do something else. At this point there is no reason to pick bodyweight work, or this outdoor gym, or StrongLifts: you have not clearly explained your goals or that you are willing to work towards them.

At this point what we know is that you apparently put a lot of value on not going to the far-away gym, not buying a barbell or squat rack, and doing a hodgepodge of sport and play for several days each week. If that's what you want to do, then do it proudly. If you want to start training, however, you might have to reduce all this other stuff and make training your priority.

At the moment your goal seems so broadly defined ("strength and overall fitness") as to reasonably suggest nearly any training modality. So just pick a program and do it. Use /r/bodyweightfitness or something from Ross Enamait or Building the Gymnastic Body or just start doing pull-ups and push-ups and sprints and squats and using the outdoor gym rowing machine. Don't pretend this program will replicate StrongLifts. Do it on its own terms. It will not look like StrongLifts. It will not progress like StrongLifts. It will not have the same kind of results, good or bad, as StrongLifts. It will be its own independent program. It could use these outdoor facilities or not.

If the gym could be helpful I'm willing to use it, but I want to do most of the work with bodyweight exercises, as I'm gonna have a few delegations this year and I wont be able to visit any gyms at all for several weeks.

It is not possible to do Stronglifts while magically replacing the barbell with bodyweight exercises. Like most people who travel or take time off, you can either do an alternate routine and allow for some regress, or you can try to find a gym wherever you are and do your thing, or you can pick a routine that doesn't have any requirements beyond a floor and do that.

Is there any way to determine what % of my bodyweight I am lifting/pushing/pulling on various outdoor machines? (For example, lets say that the rowing machine lets me pull 70% of my bodyweight)

Not really; and I don't think that doing so would be that useful. Just track your progress with reps, sets, and rest times on these machines or with whatever bodyweight work you do. Trying to determine analogues between exercises is difficult even when the weights are known and fairly similar; I wouldn't even try comparing an outdoor rowing machine of a particular brand with anything else.

share|improve this answer
    
"you have not clearly explained your goals or that you are willing to work towards them" - I tried to edit my question to clarify. Actually I believe my goals are quite clear. I dont like the way I look, so I am trying to improve it. I have a slouching problem and Im trying to fix it. Im not exactly fit/functionally strong/have endurancje, so I try to improve. For my convinience and for the sake of sticking to it, I want the rountine to be possibly equipmentless and non colliding with other activities i might want to do. I dont need a specialised one, I need a reasonable one that fits my needs –  K.L. Apr 25 '13 at 14:45
    
What I am willing to do is move my butt three times a week and do some kind of routine, provided that I dont need access to any particular equipment (a bar for pullups is fine). Iam willing to keep up the dietary changes that are working for me right now. I would like some help on deciding on a particular plan that fits my needs. It does not need to make me a professional athlete or squat 500lbs. I talked about Stronglifts, because that is what has been recommended here over and over for people with needs similar (but not identical) to mine. –  K.L. Apr 25 '13 at 14:49
2  
@K.L. If your goals are an improvement in looks, posture, fitness, strength, and endurance then any program will work at least somewhat. If minimal equipment is a requirement then pick one of the three references and start doing it. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. –  Dave Liepmann Apr 25 '13 at 14:51
    
Seems like a piece of great advice. Thanks! Ill do just that –  K.L. Apr 25 '13 at 14:52

For me, the best outdoor fitness equipments are push-up bars and parallel bars. There are many different exercises that can be done on them: pull-ups (obviously), dips, muscles ups, inverse push-ups, 'the monkey' (grabing the bar with one hand for some seconds).

My experience with the sort of devices that you posted a pic of, is that they are useful only for the totally untrained or for the pretty old. But you probably would be better off with more intense bodyweight exercises.

And don't get obsessed with your weight (measured in kg/lb). Measure your size check your appearance. When building muscle, you are also increasing your weight, even if you have a lower body fat percentage. But there is nothing bad about it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.