Outdoor Training – Urban Sport of the Week

Sun’s out, guns out. Now that summer is finally here we’re taking our Urban Sport of the Week out of the gym and into the great outdoors…  

What is outdoor athletic training?

It’s all about getting outdoors and using the green spaces in your city as a space to workout. Personal trainers create functional exercises to get your heart rate up and use little or no equipment – just good old body weight. (Important: in the exercise world ‘body weight’ is code for burpees.)

Athletik Training Berlin is a concept created by ex-military personal trainer Marcus Weber. Marcus and his team hold classes in parks across Berlin which utilise the natural surroundings to host intense workouts. Their classes range from kettlebell training to outdoor athletics to Spartan training.  

What can you expect?

Because it’s outdoors I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to find the class, but the instructions on the website were clear – to meet on the corner of Hasenheide and Jahnstrasse in Berlin’s Neukölln district. It was easy to spot Marcus because he was standing at the entrance of the park with his arms crossed and looked like he could snap me in two.

It was 07:30 am on a Thursday. Marcus led me and 5 others to a concrete platform overlooking Hasenheide. He laid out a speaker on the floor, played a Kanye track and then said “Sprints, squats, press-ups, sit-ups.” I looked at him blankly. “Alice. What are you waiting for? GO.”    

athletiktraining-facebookHow was the workout?

We did three rounds of these exercises ten times. As it was a warm-up I thought it made sense to do the press-ups on my knees. Marcus thought the opposite. “It’s the warm-up, Alice, do not do them on your knees.”

Warm up complete, we each laid a mat on the floor (Marcus had a spare mat but you’re supposed to bring your own.) He handed us a piece of chalk each. “Write this down on your mats: we’re doing 4 sets, as many rounds as possible, for 8 minutes. No break.” Before I had time to work out how many relentless minutes of exercise this would be I was chalking down the following:

Set 1:

2 x run 5 x handwalk
5 x jumping squat
5 x burpees – GO I went.

Burpees make me feel a special kind of nauseous. We had to chalk down how many sets we did because later Marcus was going to publish it all on Facebook to motivate me to do better next time. I managed 5 sets within the 8 minutes and then went straight into

Set 2:

2 x run
5 x leg raises
5 x jumping jacks
5 x burpees Okay – set 2 required more burpees.

I can handle this, I thought to myself It’s character building. I also assured myself there couldn’t possibly be more burpees in the next round, that would be insanity. So I finished 6 sets this time, and went straight into

Set 3:

2 x run
5 x sit ups
5 x jumping squats
5 x burpees

There was a brief moment in the middle of set 3 where I thought my time was up. I wasn’t going to make it. I took a second between a jumping squat and a burpee to think about what they’d write on my gravestone. “Alice Austin: Death by burpee.” But then – “Alice! Why are you just standing there? AUF GEHT’S!”

By set 4 the end was in sight – I only had 8 more minutes of this hell. If I made it out alive that would be a bonus.

Set 4:

2 x run
5 x tricep dips
5 x jumping jacks
5 x burpees

Marcus shouted encouragement in the final few seconds until the timer thankfully showed we’d completed the work out. …Or so I thought. “Now you’re going to hold a plank for 5 minutes,” Marcus said. I laughed at the funny joke and looked around at my teammates. Why weren’t they laughing? Marcus looked at me stony faced. “I’m not joking.”  

How did I feel after?

Sick to my stomach.  

Benefits of outdoor training

Real talk: this was a ridiculously hard workout, but it was great to be outdoors in the beautiful weather and everyone was extremely friendly and encouraging – I really enjoyed myself.

Although I was sweating like a pig the fresh air gave me energy and helped me refuel after every set.

It’s a great way of getting to know your local parks and outdoor spaces.

Functional training and bodyweight exercises are extremely good for you – they reduce risk of injury and make it easier to do things like transport a wardrobe on the U-Bahn.  

Don’t forget to bring…

A yoga mat or training mat, lots of water and a jumper if you’re doing one of the early morning classes.  

Up to the challenge? Follow Athletik Training Berlin on Facebook for their daily workouts and upcoming training sessions.

Urban Sports Club has tons of partners that offer outdoor training across Germany and France. Have a look on our website to see what’s on in your area.  

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