When summer rolls around, free weights and treadmills usually take a backseat to backpacks and singletrack. With good reason: according to a recent study in Environmental Science and Technology, exercising in natural environments is “associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Chalk it up to the fresh air and vitamin D.
But that doesn’t mean you should neglect strength training, which can improve performance and, more important, prevent injury. Rob Shaul, owner of Mountain Athlete in Jackson Hole, Wyoming—the training facility responsible for keeping many of the staff at Exum Mountain Guides in shape—says all of your summer strength exercises can be done outside. These can include everything from pull-ups (use monkey bars) to one-legged hops (up the nearest stadium stairs, for example). “You don’t need a fully equipped weight room to get a great strength workout,” he says. “You just need something heavy. A big effing rock is perfect.” Here’s Shaul’s six-move, twice-per-week outdoor strength recipe, featuring, yes, a big effing rock.