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Make the NYU Campus Your Gym

By Mathew Katz | August 13, 2013 1:45pm
  There are lots of places to work out on the NYU campus.
NYU Campus Fitness
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WEST VILLAGE — Coming to NYU, you're surrounded by some of the best New York has to offer, especially when it comes to bars and restaurants.

All that eating (and drinking, if you're over 21) can add up into the dreaded Freshman 15 (the pounds many students gain during their first year of college) — or even a Freshman 25, if you're not careful.

The campus Palladium gym has lots of equipment, but it's incredibly crowded, especially during peak hours — where you can wait for a treadmill for longer than you'll run on it.

Instead, try using the iconic campus to your advantage by exercising outside while the weather is good.

The workout below should take you roughly a half an hour and takes advantage of some of NYU's most iconic spots — particularly Washington Square Park.

WARM UP: Easy Lap Around Washington Square Park — Do one lap of the park to get warm, shaking out your joints as you go to make sure you're ready to move.

Use that bench — Benches litter Washington Square Park, and they can easily be used as workout tools. For some added challenge to your regular push-up, elevate your feet by placing them on the bench. Make sure your chest touches the ground for every rep, otherwise it doesn't count.

Benches can also be used for dips. Hold yourself up on the bench in a reverse plank, then (in a controlled manner) lower your body until your arms get to a 90 degree angle. Push out and repeat.

Lateral Hops — Just a few inches off the ground, the chains separating pavement from green space throughout the park are the perfect height to do some side-to-side lateral hops. Hop quickly from side to side over the the chains to work on your speed and tone your legs.

"Box Jumps" onto Metal Benches — Box jumps are an explosive movement that many athletes use to train speed, accuracy, and agility. In the center of Washington Square Park, near the fountain, are dozens of solid metal benches. Standing about six inches away from the bench, jump up onto it, then either hop or step down. Cycle these quickly for a more challenging workout.

Backpack Overhead Lunges — You just spent hundreds of dollars on textbooks that you'll probably never touch after this semester, but will weigh down your backpack as you walk around campus. Get a bit more value — and some burn in your quads — by hoisting your bag overhead and lunging either forward and back. Make sure to keep your arms locked out the entire time to get a good workout for the whole body.

Scaffolding Pull-ups — Going to NYU means you'll almost always run into construction as you walk around campus, but you can use the scaffolding that goes along with it to your advantage — the beams make great pull-up bars.  Just make sure the scaffolding is stable, and the area clear of people, before you jump up on. 

As with any pull-up, your goal is to get your chin above the bar. If you really want to make it a challenge, wear your backpack while you do these. 

ADVANCED OPTION: Handstand Pushup — Washington Square Park's legions of old trees are stable surfaces to hold you up as you attempt this more challenging move. Kick up against the flatter side of a tree with both palms on the ground. Lower yourself so that your head brushes the ground, then push up until your arms are fully extended.