Astoria, Body by Astoria, Community, Fitness, Free, Living, Neighborhood, Parks
Oct 28, 2019

How to Work Out in Astoria Park (According to 3 Locals)

When I saw someone doing a workout at Rainey Park a few weeks back⁠—running up and down the stairs, doing push-ups on the benches and squats along the water⁠—I thought (…)

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Astoria resident Ashley Dean does HIIT workouts in Astoria Park in the summer.

When I saw someone doing a workout at Rainey Park a few weeks back⁠—running up and down the stairs, doing push-ups on the benches and squats along the water⁠—I thought they were genius! It upgrades the usual “run in the park” and also saves money on exercise since it’s in a public space. So, I was on the search for these kinds of locals and how they take advantage of park space for staying in shape.

Luckily, I found some! Here are the routines of three Astoria locals who use the neighborhood as their own outdoor gym, mostly in Astoria Park. If you do similar routines, especially in one of the other parks, let us know! We’d love to share more.

JENNIFER WEIL
Runs @astoriabout Instagram

Workout of choice: Fitness equipment on the Triboro Bridge side of the pool in Astoria Park

Why she decided to get active: “When I moved to a more desk-centered job a few years back, I noticed a change in my energy and posture. I knew I had to get active. I also knew I’d feel great after workouts.”

On being a newbie: “For someone like me who doesn’t know the first thing about exercising, it can be daunting to start. That’s why the area under the bridge was so revolutionary for me. It takes you through a three-day workout and allows you to choose Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. The graphics show you exactly how to perform the exercise and for how long. It’s totally brain-off, which is a great way to decompress.”

About the workout community: “After just a short time, I started to see the same faces. The guy doing the handstand on the bench, the guy that brings his phone and blasts great music. I prefer to spend my money on the things that cause me to need exercise (see: bars), and not the exercise itself, so the biggest plus is that it’s FREE. The only con of course, is that in the dead of winter, I’ll have to find another way to keep myself active at $0/month. (And no, I don’t run…unless it’s to a happy hour).”

ASHLEY DEAN
7-year resident, lives in Little Egypt, favorite place is Sabry’s Seafood

Where she works out: “I frequent Astoria Park the most for my weekly runs. I either run solo around the park or with my team, Queens Distance Runners for Friday morning miles. I also head over to Ditmars Park on Steinway Street to play basketball on occasion.”

Additional workouts: “In the summer months I do HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts in the park. Once the track is open, I do one lap on the track and then hit the inside field for 10 burpees, 20 air squats, 20 pushups for four rounds as an example.

In general I workout six days a week. Four in the gym lifting / high intensity / crossfit, and two focused on running. My lift days include major lifts like tempo squats, deadlifts, strict press with a WOD (workout of the day) or HIIT circuit that changes daily.”

On local support: “I work out with Ethan Baum who is currently training and working at Crossfit Queens! He is an amazing trainer who I’ve been with for around four years. I also run with Queens Distance Runners, which hosts great workouts throughout the borough including Astoria. Once the track is open again we will be hosting track workouts. The group leaders have really helped me succeed in my 2019 running goals.”

Why she started going to the Park: “It’s a great meeting place for people–it’s expansive, a great place to people watch and see dogs! The views are beautiful, there are a wide variety of physical activities from running, basketball, the free equipment, free yoga classes, and more. I decided to start because I was burnt out from going to the gym all the time and wanted to be outside more and experience nature.”

AMANDA TOTH

Credit to NYC Parks Department.

Workout of choice:Astoria Park is the most convenient for me and it has a workout area under the bridge. I was signed up for the pool for the summer (and last summer while pregnant) and I have gone two to three days a week as it was the best thing for me to first do for my body after having my kids last November.

I have a kettlebell (25lbs), bands, and I often work out with my friend who brings her dumbbells (20lbs) and/or medicine ball that we throw to each other. With kettlebell I do deadlift, Russian swing, goblet squats. With dumbbells (DB) I do a ton of different stuff. Single arm snatches, strict or push press, squat or lounge holding it behind my neck, Russian swing, good mornings, Romanian deadlift, overhear carry (for shoulder stabilization).

My workouts are about 25 minutes and I do AMRAP movements (as many reps as possible within that time frame) for each set of different movement.”

Athletic background: “I did CrossFit for a couple of years, BUT I do get ideas from an old trainer friend of mine who had her baby three months after I did, and so she helped me ease back into working out. She gives me ideas of what movements to group together, and sometimes she tells me a workout I should do. My friend who I sometimes work out with is also a long time CrossFit veteran, and she has tons of ideas as well so we often come up with what we are doing together right before we work out.”

Example of a workout: 

25 min:

20 lounges with 20lb dumbbell
10 push ups using a higher bar, not the ground
20 seated twist with a small sand bag I have (my friend used the small weighted ball she has)
1 lap running

If you’re still deciding…: “My advice is just to GO! Go and look at things first and get yourself familiar with the equipment. Take a few snap shots of the stations and the pictures, go home, analyze them or try a few right there. I have seen people who go without a plan and look at the pictures following the instructions.”

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