So I am having financial trouble and don't want to pay for a gym membership, so I'm wondering about working out at the playground. I would probably be doing pull ups, decline push ups, one legged squats, knee tucks, dips, chin ups, and incline push ups. I should note that these exercises would be accompanied with running a mile and a half around a track and that all of these exercises are about 3-15 repetitions. The workout excluding the running would be about 45 minutes long, 6 days a week. Is this satisfactory enough to build muscles up? I should note that I used to lift weights recently, and my body is already sort of built up. Also, how many dips should I be able to do each day without causing a shoulder injury?

  • 1
    I wrote a blog post about how I managed to by gym-less for a while in Latin America using mainly parks, plazas, and playgrounds: therebelheart.com/blog/2013/11/22/… You might want to consider getting some gymnastic rings as they are easy to setup and breakdown and do a lot for your back/abs.
    – Eric
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 3:53
  • I don't know where you live, but you can check if you're closer to any location of Fitness 19. In my location, they only charge $10/month ($5 if you pay a higher enrollment fee). for access to all of their locations. At that price, I can't think of anyone serious about exercising that won't be able to afford that. No contracts at all. And they're fully equipped with all free weights/machines that I think most people would need. This is just another option for you to try out. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 11:46
  • Fitness 19 is more expensive in my area of Pittsburgh, although Planet Fitness fills a similarly cheap niche.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


Actually, gymless training has been a trend for a few years. There is a growing amount of information available in books, DVDs, and the internet about this kind of training, under the names of "bodyweight exercises" or calisthenics.

A few places to start (without spending money) would be names like:
- Paul Wade (Convict Conditioning)
- Al Kavadlo (Pushing the Limits)
- Mark Lauren (You are Your Own gym)
- Kelly Starett (Becoming a Supple Leopard)
- or (perhaps most interesting for you) The Barbrothers

If money is on the short side, use Google (or another search engine) and Youtube (or other video sites such as Vimeo or Dailymotion) to find references, or check to see if your local library has a copy. There is a whole world of training plans out there.

Just please be careful if you train and children are on the playground. They have the first pick on the structure and not you.


Is this satisfactory enough to build muscles up?

Provided you are in a caloric surplus(eating more than your TDEE, by adding 100~500 cal to your TDEE), then yes. Also since you are running, make sure you are able to consume the calories you lose from running. Consider doing your workout with 3~4 sets(up to you to make the changes here) for every 3~15 reps.

Since you have lifted weights before, it should not take too long to regain your muscle. Lastly:-

Also, how many dips should I be able to do each day without causing a shoulder injury?

It depends on the user. If you feel any sort of pain be it in the forearm, shoulders, chest, etc, stop working out and take a break. You could try doing some warm-ups such as pike push ups to warm up your shoulders before doing dips.

The pike push ups can be down while your legs are elevated on a bench or on the ground.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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