If you’re lucky enough to enjoy some sunshine over the coming months, thoughts of training outside in the fresh air may become more and more appealing – and so they should. Training outdoors – or ‘Green Exercise’ as it has come to be known – has been shown to have advantages over and above training indoors. There have been reports of physiological, mental and practical benefits to open air training. If you haven’t ventured out with your ViPR onto open grass and bathed in sunshine with the audible support of the dawn chorus, frankly you're missing out. This article looks at why Green Exercise is a good idea and provides you with some ViPR drills that are particularly suited to your green workouts.

It seems that just stepping outside to do your workouts is enough to lower your blood pressure and improve the health of your cardiovascular system1. One study monitored 100 randomly assigned participants who either walked through a park or on the treadmill in a gym for 30mins three times per week. The outdoor group significantly reduced their blood pressure relative to the treadmill group. Another similar study found that walking through the park could improve sleep quality and even reduce the instance of insomnia.

The mental benefits of being in a green space are noticeable for so many of us when we’re feeling stressed or down.4 We seem to subconsciously recognise that going for a walk will give us a mental boost5; taking your ViPR workouts outdoors could rub off on your ability to feel happier, more positive and less fatigued.

As well as making our bodies and minds feel better, there are practical benefits to working with ViPR in an outdoor setting. ViPRs are pretty large and so it’s great when you have open space to really swing ViPR around without the added danger of cracking a gym mirror or causing a cleaner to dive for cover. Limited ceiling heights can also cut down the option of cylinder drills, particularly with those taller clients who could easily send ViPR through to the first floor.

The ViPR release (or throw) and slam series are something I get very excited about when I take ViPR outside. It’s just not safe or practical to throw ViPR in an indoor setting but, when you have a clear open space outdoors, you can really unleash your inner shot putter and send ViPR soaring with great rapture. Even in a relatively noisy gym, bouncing or slamming ViPR is very loud and enough to give even the member on the furthest treadmill a fright. Bouncing or slamming ViPR outdoors on dry grass has a sound-deadening effect that means not only does ViPR bounce up beautifully from the ground but it does so with a kind of subtle but satisfying ‘bong’.

If you can create the opportunity to experience training with ViPR outdoors, the ‘physical and mental you’ will be very thankful and your clients or members will have a memorable workout. Once you’re in your green space, you should take full advantage and do all the things that ViPR loves to do but just isn’t allowed to do by the gym manager. Here are some such drills and the progressions you might need to work with different levels of clientele.

ViPR Cylinder Balance Series

Without a ceiling, we can balance a cylinder hold really high, but be warned that the higher it goes, the harder it gets to stabilise. My top tip is to focus on the very top of ViPR, allowing you to spot and adjust for any tilt on the tube. If you are with others, be aware that you cannot control which way ViPR falls and so an adequate fall zone should be enforced.

ViPR Bounce Series

Bouncing ViPR is great fun and adds a more dynamic twist to some series such as the tilt. Take note that rubber ViPRs bounce better and the larger, heavier ViPRs gain the most bounce. From a safety perspective, note that ViPR can bounce up and jar fingers, so on-tube and on-end grips are much safer; avoid bouncing ViPR and trying to catch the handles. You will really need to power ViPR into the ground to get the pop and don’t worry if your catching skills aren’t on point in the first drill – it quickly gets better.

ViPR Release/Throw Series

Lighter ViPRs tend to work best if you want to exhibit a satisfying distance, but heavy ViPRs are great for power training. You can toss the caber, swing the hammer or release the javelin – just ensure a targeted and safe landing zone. Running to retrieve ViPR quickly is great for keeping up the cardio.

ViPR Slam Series

A power slam, in my opinion, is the most satisfying of all outdoor ViPR series. The technique is to apply equal force on both sides of ViPR so that it hits the floor completely flat and pops back up parallel to the floor. You can often spot the stronger, more powerful side of a client by which end of ViPR pops up highest. For safety, never lean over ViPR when you slam it and, for beginners, encourage them to direct it away from them until their technique improves.

Locomotion Drills

Running with, crawling with, dragging and flipping ViPR are just some of the many locomotion series you can create. Work in straight lines or add in changes of direction for increased fun and complexity. Heavy ViPRs work best if ViPR is to stay in contact with the ground, but swap to light loads if ViPR is to be lifted during locomotion.

Getting your ViPR on outdoors is not only good for the soul but it opens up so many new and exciting ways you can use ViPR. So, if the weather is fine, pack your sunscreen and insect repellent, make sure you have water for you and your client, and get out there and get green with your ViPR. Film your fun and tag @ViPRglobal to show us your favorites.

Stephen Tongue is Head of Education for ViPR. His passion for movement training led to him joining the ViPR Master Trainer Team at FitPro back in 2013. Stephen has remained a part of the team until this day as well as picking up Master trainer positions with other big fitness brands such as TRX and PowerPlate. A successful fitness coach, Stephen has regularly created content throughout his career for national and industry magazines, news bulletins, blogs and social media. Stephen has been motivating people for over 15 years and finds changing the lives of everyday people brings him the most satisfaction.


  • Maas J, Verheij E, Groenewegen P, & Spruit M (2008), The impact of green exercise on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Environmental Science & Technology, 42(19): 7,390-97.
  • Mitchell R, Popham F, White MP (2012), The Impact of Exercise in a Natural Environment on Sleep Quality: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Environmental Science & Technology, 46(15): 8,005-12.
  • Park S, Tsunetsugu Y, Kasetani T, Kagawa T, & Li Q (2016), The effect of green exercise on sleep quality in adults with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial, Scientific Reports, 6(1) : 23,273.
  • Kaplan S & Berman MG (1999), Attention restoration theory: evidence for restoration of attention and reduced stress after exposure to natural environments, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 19(3): 169-182.
  • Pretty J, Peacock J, Sellens M & Griffin T (2005), The benefits of nature for mental and physical health: a review of recent research, Public Health, 119(1): 199-205.