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Backstage Experts

The Best Free Summer Workouts in New York City

The Best Free Summer Workouts in New York City
Photo Source: Twenty20

Ah, summer in New York! When the clear skies and 70-degree weather sticks around for more than a day at a time, it’s the perfect time to live your best life outside. From rooftop rosé to summer stock to Shakespeare in the Park, it’s understandable if you never set foot indoors between sunrise and sunset.

Another great excuse for being outside? Using the sunshine and warmth to your advantage by taking your fitness routine outdoors to help prep for the demanding audition season ahead.

When the weather’s nice, the world is your oyster. Instead of paying $37 to take a spin or running class, take yourself out into the world. Though I am a fan of LSD runs (Long, Slow Distance), there are so many ways to take your outdoor cardio to the next level.  

After warming up at a moderate pace for ten minutes, add some intervals into your cardio by sprinting for the chorus of a song and recovering on the verse. Do that for 3-7 songs, top it off with a cool down at a moderate pace and a good stretch.

You can also use the fartlek method of sprinting for your outdoor run: choose a landmark like a fire hydrant, street light, big tree, or Halal cart and sprint to it. Then choose another landmark and trot to it at a recovery pace. Run to a neighborhood you’ve never been to before. Hike a trail you’ve never explored before. Bike to Coney Island or the Botanical Gardens and enjoy the culture.

READ: 5 Steps to Getting Ready for a Movement-Heavy Show

Strength training
A park bench is your best friend when it comes to outdoor exercise, especially since you can use it for a number of different body weight moves. (Just make sure to warm up before getting into the meaty part of your workout!) Do three reps of 10-12, repeating on each side for the moves that focus on one side of the body.

Box squats: Stand in front of the bench facing away with feet hip-distance apart and parallel. Shift hips back, so your glutes lightly tap the bench. Stand back up, fully extending hips and engaging glutes.

Box jumps: Facing the bench, stand with your feet hips-distance apart and parallel. Bend your knees, shift your hips back into a squat, swing your arms behind you before jumping up onto the bench, swinging your arms forward, landing lightly in the center with bent knees and hands at prayer heart center. Stretch your legs and hips coming up to a full stand. Step down one foot at a time.

Lateral step-ups: Standing with the right side of your body next to the bench, step your right foot to the center of the bench. Your left foot can either step up next to right or your can drive your left knee up to your chest. Step your left foot back down, followed by the right.

Suspended lunges: Facing away from the bench, place on foot on the bench behind you with the other on the ground. Bend both knees making sure the front knee is directly over the ankle to protect the knee. Straighten both legs.

Single-leg pistol squats: Facing away from the front of the bench, keep your right foot on the ground with your right knee slightly bent. Raise your left foot off the ground a few inches with your left leg out in front. Bend at the right knee and sit hips back, squatting down to knee level (or gently touching the bench with your glutes).

Tricep dips: Facing away from the bench, places hands on the bench behind you, shoulder-distance apart. Walk feet away from the bench so that bent knees are stacked over ankles, thighs parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows so they point straight back bringing your triceps parallel to the ground. Press back up to straight arms.

Inclined push up: Facing the bench, place both hands on the seat should-distance apart. Walk your feet away from the bench until your body is in plank position. Lower your chest to the bench, bending your elbows, then press back up.

Declined plank: Place your feet on the bench, hip-distance apart with hands on the ground shoulder-distance apart. Walk your hands away from the bench until your body is in a plank. From here, you can do any of the following:

  • Shoulder tap: Tap hand to opposite shoulder
  • Step outs: Step right foot to out to the right, left foot out to the left, right foot center, left foot center
  • Mountain climber: Alternate drawing knees to chest
  • Decline push-up: Bend elbows lowering face toward the ground, then press up

READ: How to Take Care of Yourself as an Actor

Free classes
One of the best part about summer in New York City as far as fitness is concerned? Free classes offered! Here are some of my favorites happening through September:

Healthy on the Hudson: A free series on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in parks along the Hudson. From now until September 26, you can catch a free 60-minute class from some of New York’s best instructors. RSVP is required.

The Sweat Sessions: In partnership with the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, The Wellth Collective offers three classes every Tuesday night. I’ll be teaching July 25-August1, so be sure to check it out! RSVP is required.

Bryant Park Yoga: Sponsored by Yoga Journal and Manduka, this is the largest free outdoor yoga offering in the country. The classes take place May through August on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings. You can catch my classes July 13 and July 18.

Enjoy this more-relaxed season in the industry by investing time in YOU. Cultivating good self-care habits are easier when the pressure is off, so let your workouts be a way of recalibrating your mind and body.

Kristin Calabria is a New York-based actor and fitness professional. She received her BFA in Acting from Boston University and studied film at Prague Film School. On stage, she has worked on “Café Collections,” Ti Jean and His Brothers, and the devised piece The Consensus Project. She also consults on movement heavy plays like Messenger #1. Kristin starred in the web series Not So Common Sense and the animated series Middle SchooLOL. She teaches yoga, boxing, and strength training throughout Manhattan, leads fitness retreats around the world and does print work for companies like Reebok, Box and Flow, and SurfYogaBeer. You can find her on Instagram @kstarcalabs

Now that you know how to warm up, check out our theater audition listings!

 The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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