The gym sucks. You know it, we know it. And yet many of us still feel compelled to spend time inside \u201cthe box,\u201d throwing up free weights or pushing belts on machines in the ever elusive pursuit of strength. Maybe you\u2019re a climber with a burly project looming. Maybe you\u2019re addicted to your carbon road bike and the next Strava record. Maybe you\u2019re a runner looking to P.R. Whatever your passion, strength is important, whether you realize it or not.\n\n\u201cA lot of endurance athletes don\u2019t want to take any time or effort away from their sport for strength training,\u201d says Samantha Stone, a certified personal trainer and founder of Functional Fitness Asheville. \u201cBut strength is important. We\u2019re talking about stability of the structure. These sports are repetitive. You strike the same part of the body over and over, if you don\u2019t have the strength or stability in the structure, it\u2019s going to wear out over time. \u201c\n\nSo you need muscles. But do you need the gym? Not at all. Stone teaches regular strength training classes outside, using parks, forests, and city-scapes as her gym.\n\n\u201cIf you\u2019re looking to compete in strong man competitions, you need the gym. But if you\u2019re an athlete looking to get stronger so you can move and play more effectively, you don\u2019t need the gym at all,\u201d Stone says.\n\nThe takeaway: If you want to be a better mountain athlete, you\u2019re better off training in the mountains. We talked with Stone and other athletes and fitness experts to create BRO\u2019s first outdoor training guide. Read on, and maybe, finally kiss the gym goodbye.\nStone\u2019s Functional Fitness \nIn Stone\u2019s functional fitness classes, one day, she might incorporate strength exercises into a group run. The next, she might use playground equipment as her strength inspiration. \u201cWe\u2019d find benches, stairwells, railings, scaffolding, swing sets\u2014anything we could use to create resistance.\u201d\n\nWe asked her to design a short workout for athletes who want to leave the gym behind. She came up with this plan that focuses on mobility, core recruitment, and training the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Bonus: It\u2019s fast. The whole workout will take less than 30 minutes.\n\nCore\n\n \tPlanks Pushup position, holding back flat. Build up to 3:00 minutes.\n \tHanging Leg Raises Grab a pull up bar, monkey bar, or tree limb and hang. Keep your knees straight as you raise your legs until they\u2019re parallel to the ground.\n \tWall Push Push as hard as you can against a wall for 10 seconds at a time, keeping your core and butt tight.\n\nFast twitch\nThese exercises focus on explosive movements. If you\u2019re just beginning a strength-training program, start with slower movements and progress to power oriented training.\n\n \tDo: 3-6 sets with 10 reps per set.\n \tSquat Jumps: Keep your heels grounded and back straight as you drop into a squat. Then explode up and off the ground. That\u2019s one.\n \tStep Ups: Find a bench and step up, bringing your other knee to your chest. Alternate. That\u2019s one.\n \tJumping Lunges Drop into a lunge, where your back knee is almost touching the ground. Explode up, switching your feet in mid air and landing in an alternate lunge. That\u2019s one.\n \tExplosive Pushups Your standard push up, but explode up, so your hands leave the ground. Clap if you have rhythm.\n \tPull Ups If you can\u2019t perform a straight pull up, cheat by jumping into the pull up.\n\nWork Out Like a Farmer\nYou really want to build strength and power without stepping into a gym? Work out like a farmer. Jason Harle is a strength and conditioning coach and founder of The Farmer\u2019s Gym, an online destination and coaching service that uses the farmer\u2019s life as the foundation for strength training. Harle just published the The Farmer\u2019s Gym Almanac, a collection of outdoor workouts based on farm life. Hale grew up on a farm and asserts that mimicking the daily farm routine will allow athletes to reap huge strength and fitness benefits without any costly equipment or gym memberships.\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s about getting back to the basics, and doing work. A farmer taxes every muscle through the countless tasks in a given day\u2014lifting bales of hay, pounding fence posts, shoveling rock,\u201d Harle says. \u201cThe book and the workouts I\u2019ve created are designed to test the body in the same fashion.\u201d\n\nThe Farmer\u2019s Gym Almanac has more than 400 exercises, most of which focus on body-weight movements. A typical FGA workout includes about 20-25 minutes of high-intensity multi-exercise interval training, using a combination of old staples like push-ups and pull-ups to more creative exercises like the \u201cdragon walk\u201d and \u201cfloor wipers.\u201d Harle also includes kettlebell exercises, which he says is the perfect substitute for the farmer\u2019s feedbags or bales of hay.\n\nHere are five farm-friendly exercises, and their modern-day interpretations, that build muscle and functional fitness.\n\n \tThrowing Bales of Hay Deadlift a sandbag and hoist it chest-high, then throw it as far as you can (think about throwing a chest pass in basketball). Do this several times. No sandbag? Use a big rock.\n \tShoveling Rock or Dirt No substitute here\u2014just grab a shovel and head to your backyard. Dig a hole for five minutes, then fill it up. Repeat.\n \tHammering Fence Posts Grab a sledgehammer and an old tire and start wailing on it. Try to create a steady rhythm to your swings, using your legs and core in addition to your arms and shoulders. No tire? Hit the ground.\n \tChopping Wood Again, no substitute for an axe and a log. Get chopping.\n \tFarmer\u2019s Carry Find a rock\u2014something heavy. Deadlift it and and carry it in front of your waist, walking across your yard. Drop it, shake your arms out, then repeat the process.\n\nGo OCR: Obstacle Course Racing\nObstacle Course Racing is fun, exhausting, and the next day you wake up sore in places you didn\u2019t even know you could be sore. What the hell is that muscle on your elbow called, anyway? Obstacle Course Races might just be the perfect workout. Just ask Andi Hardy, a former teacher turned semi-pro obstacle course racer who\u2019s racked up more than 40 races in just over a year, winning a lot of them.\n\n\u201cIn obstacle racing, you have an element of endurance and stamina, but the races also incorporate high intensity intervals and strength training,\u201d Hardy says. \u201cYou\u2019re sprinting from one obstacle to the next. Thirty slam balls. Sprint. Rope climb. Sprint. It\u2019s the perfect mixture of strength, speed, endurance, and mobility.\u201d\n\nAnd more importantly, fun.\n\n\u201cI like the variety and the surprises of the races, and I like to add that variety to my workouts,\u201d Hardy says, adding that she trains twice a day, often on the fly and out in the wild. \u201cThe world is my gym. If I\u2019m running Kennesaw Mountain, I look for ways to mix it up with pushups beside the trail. I\u2019ll find a rock to jump over 20 times. I\u2019ll walk across a log like a balance beam. I can train in my backyard, on the trail, even in the airport.\u201d\n\nIn the spirit of variety, here\u2019s a suggestion for a self-imposed training course circuit. You\u2019ll need a park with a playground.\n\n \tSprint a lap around the park. \n \t10 Burpees (drop into pushup position, do a pushup, hop back to standing position, then jump as high as you can) \n \tSprint a lap. \n \t10 box jumps on a bench. \n \tSprint a lap. \n \t30 seconds of bear crawls (drop onto all fours, walk forward with equal weight on your hands and feet, keeping your hips low) \n \tSprint a lap. \n \t5-10 pull ups (use the monkey bars) \n \tSprint a lap. \n \tRepeat until you\u2019re no longer sprinting.\n\nThis plan is only a suggestion. Use your surroundings to determine the exercises you complete. Climb a tree. Find a rock and throw it. The options are endless.\nGet the Legs of a Backpacker \nThere\u2019s no doubt that hiking regularly will get you in shape. Look at your average Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. They start out soft and pudgy and finish lean and mean. Luckily, you don\u2019t have to hike the ridgeline of the Appalachians to reap the strength benefits of thru-hikers. If you want the legs and core of a seasoned backpacker, start thinking like a Sherpa.\n\n\u201cCross training is great, yoga helps, but there\u2019s no substitute for having a pack on your back,\u201d says Appalachian Trail speed hike record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis, who coaches would-be thru hikers through training regimens leading up to big hikes. Davis says there\u2019s no way to emulate the torturous routine of a speed hiking record attempt, where you\u2019re pushing yourself day after day. Instead of training nonstop, Davis adds weight.\n\n\u201cI\u2019ll add weight to my pack, more than I\u2019m planning on carrying on the trail,\u201d the record holder says. \u201cA couple of fire logs, an extra gallon of water. Then I set out for the most challenging routes I can find.\u201d\n\nLeading up to her record hike, Davis liked to train on big Mountains to Sea Trail climbs, particularly up Mount Mitchell and Black Balsam. The scenery will keep you motivated if you can train in high elevation surroundings like Mitchell, but it\u2019s not required.\n\nLoad your pack with your normal weekend load, then add an extra gallon of water. Find a three-mile climb that gains at least 1,500 feet in elevation and start climbing. Don\u2019t live near a trail? Climb stairs. Or find a steep hill and walk repeats with a loaded pack. The weight is the key, not the location of the workout.\nAn Argument for Heart Rate Training\n\u201cThe biggest mistake athletes make is training too easy on their hard days and too hard on their easy days,\u201d says Ben Friberg, a pioneer in long-distance standup paddle boarding who set the 24 hour SUP distance record. \u201cHeart rate training gives an athlete immediate feedback about training effort, which ensures you are working at the proper intensity. Did you really push yourself? Are you pushing too hard, overtraining, and perhaps needing rest? When a big day comes, your ability to know how much fuel you are throwing in the fire will be beneficial.\u201d\n\nWhat you\u2019ll need Nike, TomTom, Suunto, and Garmin all make GPS and heart rate tracking devices. Learn your resting heart rate, max heart rate, and calculate your personal heart rate zones.\n\nFind the Zone After you know your numbers or zones, you can create workouts that are more effective. Short, fast intervals will push you to work hard, which will help to improve your speed. Base workouts are designed to improve endurance. Checking your resting heart rate first thing in the morning can even tell you whether you are recovering properly.\nGo Anywhere Equipment\nKettlebell: Swings, carries, lifts, weighted squats\u2014it\u2019s as versatile as any piece of equipment out there. And it\u2019s portable.\n\nTRX: These suspension straps can elevate the simplest exercises, from pushups to speed skaters into full body core blasters. Hang them from just about anything.\n\nSandbag: Heavy, cumbersome\u2014just carrying a sandbag across the yard is a full body workout. You can make your own with a sturdy duffel, or buy a kit.