How to Workout at The Swamp!

By Amanda Roland
the swamp

In a stadium that fits over 90,000 rowdy football fans, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium provides a unique experience both on game day and on your typical weekday. Also known as “The Swamp,” the stadium is open almost every day to the public for the type of workout you can’t get at any gym, perfect for any and every skill level.

As you run up the steps, you can imagine the roar of the crowd on game days during the fall. You can feel the vibration of the crowd stomping, gator chomping and screaming. Although the numerous sets of steps, bleachers, inclines and other obstacles do provide for a challenging workout, it’s difficult not to enjoy it with the scenery and atmosphere of The Swamp. Whether you are a beginner or an expert at exercising, we have the perfect workout for your experience in The Swamp.

Easy/Beginner Workouts

For legs:

Bleacher lunges » There are 90 rows of bleachers surrounding the entire inside of The Swamp, but after the first 30 rows, they are spaced farther apart so there is a definite challenge here with lunges. Start at the very bottom and work your way up to see how far you make it! Do at least three reps of 30 or more bleacher lunges.

Stair squats » There are also 90 stairs at each gate location or entryway around the stadium. Start with the bottom step and do a full range bodyweight squat. Do this on each step until you reach 30, and then repeat this two or three more times.

Walking » This is relatively basic and self- explanatory, but who says power walking can’t be great exercise? Take advantage
of the shaded inside of the stadium, and mix it up by walking up and down the steps or bleachers. Three laps around the stadium concourse is equal to 1.1 miles.

For arms:

Triceps dips » The great thing about triceps dips is that they can be done on almost any surface and by people of all skill levels. Set yourself up on one of the silver chairs in the stadium or at the bottom of the bleachers closest to the infield, and hold your body up with your hands on the chair/bleachers behind you. Dip down for about three sets of 15 reps each.

Modified pushups » Again, just like the triceps dips, it is possible for anyone to do pushups anywhere, but they can be modified depending on skill level. Put your knees on the ground at the bottom of the stairs and use body support to help with the pushups. Do three sets of 10.

Climbing bleachers » While this may sound like something meant for children, it is actually a great workout for arms and legs alike. Climb up the bleachers in the stadium and see how far up you can get without stopping.

Intermediate Workouts

For legs:

Incline sprints » There are a few locations inside the stadium that have inclines leading up to the upper levels. For a
more experienced exerciser, it’s a great leg workout to do five or eight all-out sprints up the incline. This exercise will bring you back to high school track days.

Mini-step sprints » For a workout that is both beneficial for legs and coordination, try doing smaller step sprints up the stairs that are located at each gate entryway. It will get your heart rate up if you do five to eight sets of 30 steps, with only a one-minute rest in between each. Decrease the rest time for a more intense workout.

Side lunges» On either the steps or the bleachers, turn sideways and lunge upward. The incline will make for more of a challenging workout if you decide to take the bleacher route. Do three sets of 30 or more side lunges, depending on your skill level.

For arms:

Planks » One of the best things about planks is that they can be done on almost any surface in The Swamp. For a more difficult plank, try holding the pose for one minute (five reps of this) on the skinny wall that surrounds the infield. It is also beneficial to plank on the bleachers or even at an incline on the steps by the gate entryways. Plank where you please!

Decline pushups » This is an interesting twist on the modified pushup, but this time it makes the workout more difficult. Put your feet on a bleacher that is higher up than the one your hands are on, and do three sets of 15 pushups.

Difficult Workouts

For legs:

Stadiums » The dreaded stadiums, also known as “Gator Mountains,” prove to be one of the toughest workouts in The Swamp. The daunting 90 rows of bleachers provide the bulk of this workout, where you walk all the way to the top and walk back down on the steps. If you do as many as possible, your legs will be shaking in no time. For a tough cardio day and a chance to improve legs and glutes, this is the perfect choice.

Snakes/Serpentines » For another great hybrid of cardio and legs, snaking the stadium is a fun and exhausting workout. Warm up by running to the stadium, and once you are inside The Swamp, run down the 30 steps of one gate entryway, then run straight to the next set of steps and run back up those to the next entryway. The change in inclines coupled with running around the stadium is challenging, yet rewarding.

Hops on the steps » This sounds simple, but hops on the steps will truly make you feel the burn. With both feet together, do quick hops up a set of 30 steps for at least five reps. For an even more intense workout, try skipping one step in between and doing larger jumps.

For arms:

Horizontal bleacher pushups » Because there is a smaller surface area to put your hands on for these pushups, your triceps are going to get an extremely intense workout here. Plank on a bleacher horizontally, and do three to five sets of 10 reps each. To mix it up and challenge yourself even more, try switching bleachers in between pushups.

Plank walk-ups (switch halfway through) » This is very similar to the horizontal bleacher pushups because you are in the same starting position, but rather than actually bending down you are simply going to horizontally scale the bleachers as far up as you can. Try to do at least three sets of 30 bleachers, but go for more if you are craving a more intense workout.

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