Believe it or not, it used to be extremely hard for bodyweight training enthusiasts, such as yourself, to find local calisthenics parks to train in. Unless you were fortunate enough to live in a large metro, or forward thinking area (NYC, SoCal, London, etc.) the resources and options were pretty scarce.
In fact, I remember just 5 years ago when I first got into bodyweight training, having to drive at least 30 minutes to find a calisthenics park with bars so that I could do pull-ups. 30 minutes!!!
Fortunately, since people have slowly started to realize how much time, money, and effort they have been wasting in public gyms, and with the rise in popularity of callisthenic training, there are now a vast number of resources through apps and websites for finding good, reliable parks to train in – WORLDWIDE!
In the following I have given my expert tips and strategies on how to find a great place to train outdoors, even if you don’t live in a large city.
The most intuitive place to start when looking for a calisthenics park to train in should always be with any local schools. Particularly elementary schools (if you live in the US) or primary schools (if you live in Europe or abroad). The reason for this is that nearly all of these schools have playground equipment for school children and this equipment is often more than enough for even the most advanced bodyweight trainer to get in excellent shape.
Often times a school playground will come equipped with monkey or pull-up bars, ropes to climb, and many, many more items that can be used to train on.
So without a doubt, regardless of where you live, looking for a local school (the newer the school the better) is THE best place to start.
Some awesome Reddit users have also put together an excellent Google Map of fitness parks exclusive to the USA.
Some of the parks will carryover between the cgravity list, but there are also some new parks that are exclusive to this map that makes it definitely worth checking out if you are in a bind looking for a fitness park.
Obviously by looking at the picture above, the Reddit map is biased towards the West Coast, particularly California. But that’s okay, because there are several other great websites that have the Midwest (Chicago), and East Coast (New York) covered.
Simply click this link: REDDIT FITNESS PARKS to be taken directly to the map.
Now if you are lucky enough to live in the greater Chicago or New York City areas (pinch yourself), you probably don’t need a whole lot of help finding a fitness park.
But if you do, or if you are looking to change up your scenery a little bit, the links below are some of the best resources I have come across in looking for fitness parks.
This photo displays the layout of the NYC fitness park map. Clearly there are many, many great places to train in NYC. The best feature of this site is that it includes a short description of what type of equipment is available at each location.
Now from personal experience, one of THE best places to train outdoors in NYC, possibly the world can be found at Macombs Dam Park in the Bronx.
Located right in the shadow of new Yankee Stadium, it is in an absolutely breathtaking location and is almost brand new (built in 2012) so you don’t have to worry about the state of the equipment.
Oh, and make sure to keep your eyes open, word has it that the Kavadlo brothers train here quite often.
The Chicago link is actually a link to a blog article created by Mario Castrejon (as seen above) about some parks to train at in Chicago. The website itself is actually an excellent resource for all things exercises, gear, nutrition, etc.
I have not personally trained in Chicago, but from what I’ve heard the Harrison Park location is the real deal. It may not seem like it has much (just various pull-up bars, and some dip bars), but this is the place where all of the “pros” go, including Mario himself. You can even join him and his group every Saturday at 8A.M.
If you live in London specifically, muddyplimsolls has compiled a great list of parks in the metro area that can be used for callisthenic training.
I have to say, that through all of my experience, and after all of my research for this article, this is BY FAR the most comprehensive site I have come across. It not only includes specific park locations, but also many pictures of each park and a rating (out of 10) on how good or useful the park actually is.
It even includes such information as what the closest café or coffee shop is to the park. Now that is a comprehensive site!
I have not been fortunate enough to make a trip across the pond, but this website makes it all the more enticing. From what I can tell the park at Parliament Hill Fields seems like the best bet in terms of location (beautiful scenery judging from the pictures), and hilly geography making for that much more challenging of a workout session.
For the UK in general InciteFitness has compiled a map of all public park locations that can be used as well.
As you can see from the map, most of the UK parks are located in London and the surrounding areas. Like I said, I have never been to the UK, but the park located in Parliament Hill looks like a dream to train in.
Below are some other great links that provide park maps throughout the rest of the globe.
So as you can see, there are many, many, many great resources available to aid you in finding parks that can be used to workout it. Obviously, from looking at the maps and resources available, it is MUCH easier to find parks to train in the US & Western Europe.
BUT, as callisthenic training continues to grow in popularity, more resources for Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe will continue to become available.
I do want to stress again that perhaps the easiest way to find a park is a simple Google/Google Map search and a sense of adventure on your part. Never be afraid to break out on your own and look for a new place to train. You never know what you may stumble upon.
What kind of resources do you use to find parks to train in? Is there something that we may have missed along the way? We would love to hear what kind of apps/websites you are using to help progress your bodyweight training. And we would also love to hear about some of your favorite parks (with pictures, duh!) to train in across the globe. Post your tips, and favorite places in the comments box below.