How to Use Milwaukee Calisthenics Parks

The play areas are not reserved for children. This summer, venture to one of Milwaukee County’s many calisthenics parks — outdoor spaces equipped with exercise equipment — for some fresh air and a free workout.

“Adding strength training to a workout plays a big role in challenging your muscles and building your endurance as you push yourself beyond your normal effort,” says owner Ryan Mleziva. of Brew Fitness Milwaukee. You don’t know exactly what? Here’s how to get a great workout at a calisthenics park.


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pull-up bars

You can use any playground bar for pull-ups, but most calisthenics parks have dedicated bars for working your arms, shoulders, back, and core. If you’re new to pull-ups, Mleziva suggests building momentum by jumping. Jump up, grab the bar, then pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. “While hanging, do a leg raise or knee bend to work your core,” he says.

Lift stations

Use a climbing station, bench, or playground equipment that’s about knee-high to work your legs and glutes. Slowly raise and lower one leg at a time, loading all of your weight onto your leg. Try not to push off your bottom foot.


If you bring a resistance band, any park with a pole—or even a tree—is a great place for bicep curls, chest presses, or rows. Hook the band around and use the pole as if it were a cable machine, suggests Mleziva.

Use a resistance band with a tree or pole to do bicep curls, chest presses, or rows; Photo by Aliza Baran

Incline benches

Many of the park’s workout areas have incline benches for basic workouts and push-ups. Stand in front of the bench and squat down with your hands on the bench, shoulder width apart. This inclined position strengthens your chest and core without straining your shoulders or wrists. If the park doesn’t have an incline bench but does have a low bar, try push-ups on it.

Parallel bars

Parallel bars offer a great way to strengthen your upper body and arms with dips. Standing between the bars, hold onto them and straighten your arms as you jump. Then, using your core strength, lower and raise your body.