Nadia Murdock Shares Her Ultimate Outdoor Barre Workout

Not sure how you’ll squeeze in your summer workouts given your hectic schedule? Try this full-body outdoor barre workout to keep your muscles moving.

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Now that warmer weather is here, skipping your regular workouts in lieu of pool lounging can become more tempting than ever. Instead of forsaking your fitness routine, simply switch things up by making the great outdoors your personal gym. There are a number of advantages that come from getting fit outdoors, including improved mood, connecting with mother nature, and a good dose of vitamin D! Here are some of my favorite barre moves that you can take outside for a mini workout routine.

Warm Up

Before you get moving, you need to warm the body up! Start with the exercises below before you dive into your full workout.

  • To set up for open–close, start in first position by bringing your heels together and turning your toes slightly out. Make sure your heels are together and your feet look like the letter V. Close both feet until they are parallel then open them up again, returning to starting V position. Perform this sequence for 15 reps.
  • March in place for 30 seconds, breathing deeply through both your inhalations and exhalations. Bring your arms overhead with each inhale and back down by your sides with each exhale for the full 30 seconds.
  • Start rotating your head in a circular motion toward the right for a count of eight, then reverse—rolling your head to the left for a count of eight. Repeat this sequence for a total of two sets.
  • Take the endurance up a notch by performing ballerina jacks. Starting in traditional plié position with your legs wider than your hips. Turn your knees out slightly and bent until you are in plié position. Jump in, bringing your feet together and your arms overhead, then jack your feet back out. You’ve completed one ballerina jack! Do this for 15 reps.

My Favorite Barre Exercises to Take Outside

Beach Ball Crunches

Ideal Location: Poolside

While lying flat on your back, place a small beach ball between your calves near your ankles. Keep your legs as straight as possible. To modify, simply bend your legs to assume a tabletop position. Perform a traditional crunch for eight reps by placing your hands just behind your ears and keeping your elbows back. (Try not yank on your neck and avoid pointing your elbows forward.) Next, lower your body back down to your starting position while keeping the beach ball in place. Squeeze your legs together for a count of eight. Both moves together make one full rep; repeat for a total of eight reps.

Opposite Arm–Opposite Leg Reach

Ideal Location: Beach or Hilly Spot

This is extremely challenging if you opt to do it on uneven terrain like a sandy beach or a hill. Staring on all fours, make sure your hips are centered and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists are aligned. You will begin by extending your right arm and left leg straight out simultaneously, reaching away from the body. Keep your fingers close together and your toes pointed away from your body. Slowly drive your right elbow in toward the center of the body to meet your left knee while engaging your core to maintain your balance. To complete the movement, return your right arm and left leg back to your starting position. That makes one rep; repeat this movement for eight reps. Perform for three sets before switching to the other side.

Tree Trunk Wall-Sits With Alternating Heel Raise

Ideal Location: Park or Backyard

This move is great, because all you need is a tree that can support your body weight. So no excuses, ladies! Another thing I love about this movement is that you can get friends and kids involved to make it more challenging and fun. Find a tree trunk that is smooth enough for you to place your back against. Slowly slide your body into chair pose with your back against the trunk, getting as low as possible to achieve an optimal challenge. Once you have found a height that is good for you, check your form by making sure your knees are bent in a perfect 90-degree angle. Holding this modified wall-sit, begin bringing your right heel up until you are on toe (relevé position). Gently lower and switch to the other side, raising the left heel. Continue alternating the heel raises for eight reps. Rest and repeat for a total of three sets.

Plié Squats With Water Cooler

Ideal Location: Campground or Picnic Spot

No weights? No problem! There are so many things you can use as a source of weight when spending the day outdoors. Give this move a try during your next camping trip or picnic. Place a moderately heavy, medium-size cooler in front of you (to decrease weight, remove food, ice, and water as needed). Stand behind the cooler in plié position with your feet wider than your hips and your knees slightly turned out. Bending from your knees, lower your body to pick up the cooler (resist allowing your knees to extend beyond your toes and try not to round your shoulders or arch your back as you reach). Return back to starting position while still holding the cooler for one complete rep. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Want to kick things up a notch? Repeat for three sets!

Incline Push-Up With Leg Pulse

Ideal Location: Park or Trail

All you need for this move is a sturdy park bench! (For an optional modification, add some ankle weights or resistance bands to turn up the heat.) Placing your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench, lower your body down toward the bench as you would when performing a push-up. Focus on lowering your chest—not your head—toward the bench. Push your body back up to your starting position to complete one rep. Repeat for a total of 10 to 15 reps. Note: Beginners should use the back of the bench for a higher incline, while intermediate to advanced barre lovers can use the front of the bench for a lower-incline option.

Nadia Murdock
Nadia Murdock is a nationally recognized fitness coach, published author, and regular on-air fitness expert as seen on E! News, Fox,, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, and Life & Style, just to name a few. She is living proof that her “train your mind, change your body” method works. After changing her own life via her own weight loss journey to a healthier lifestyle, she became dedicated to sharing that power with others through her company, Nadia Murdock Fit. Nadia has a BA in psychology and taps into the strength and power of the mind when advising others on achieving their fitness goals. She also enjoys all forms of fitness, from barre to dance workouts and never goes a day without breaking a sweat.

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