Get RiverFit At The Fitness Trail at Tom Lee Park
Have you tried the RiverFit fitness trail at Tom Lee Park in downtown Memphis? There are six exercise stations, a soccer field, and two “beach” volleyball courts. After it opened in 2014, I asked downtown-based personal trainer Lauren Phelps and Grizzlies strength and conditioning pro Sheldon Miller to help me figure out how to get RiverFit. Here’s what happened.
1. The Pull-Up Bars
We started our RiverFit workout with what is probably the most difficult piece of equipment. I’ve been working for months and can finally do two real pull-ups. How many can you do?
Workout suggestion: Do 10 pull-ups/chin-ups. Rest. Repeat.
If you are a beast like Sheldon, maybe you can do whatever crazy core pull-up situation this is.
2. The Monkey Bars
Next, Lauren chased me across the Monkey Bars. Well, she’d say “encouraged”, I say “chased”. I don’t think I’ve been on monkey bars since I was in grade school, and it was exhilarating, mostly because these are so high. I was surprised at how far I made it across, too. Very fun!
Workout suggestion: Workout your arms and core. Cross the monkey bars and back. Rest. Repeat and the second time, see how fast you can go.
3. The Battle Ropes
Lauren and Sheldon battle it out on the battle ropes. Kind of mesmerizing, isn’t it?
Next, Sheldon and Lauren showed me how to use the “battle” ropes, a fun way to work out your arms and core. You hold the ropes (one in each hand), put your feet apart and bend your knees. Then, you can use your arms to move the ropes up and down, side to side, make circular motions, etc. You can also move your feet to get a whole body workout (see the video). There are two sets at RiverFit; the longer ropes are more difficult to use.
Workout suggestion: Workout your arms and core (and legs if you get a good squat going). See how fast you can move the ropes in 20 seconds. Rest. Repeat. Work up to 30 seconds.
4. Ab Station
For the ab station, you have a couple of options. You can lay with your head by the bar and hold on, then lift your legs for a great ab workout. Or, like I did, you can use the bar to stabilize your feet and do sit-ups.
Workout suggestion: Workout your core. Do 20 sit-ups. Rest. Do 20 leg lifts.
5. Plyo Boxes
I’ve been calling this station “Jump the Stump” but really, Plyo Boxes sounds much more legit. There are a lot of ways that you can use the stumps/boxes. You can pick which height is best for you, then step or jump up on that one, or step/jump from box to box. Jumping straight from box to box is not recommended, by the way. Stay safe and avoid shin disaster by stepping or jumping down to the ground and back up between each box. (See photo #7 below of the three of us jumping off the plyo boxes.)
Workout suggestion: Workout your legs and get a little cardio. See how many times you can step up or jump up on each step in 30 seconds. Rest. Repeat.
6. Obstacle Course
Work your legs and your coordination by hopping through the obstacle course. You can go forwards or laterally.
Workout suggestion: Hop through the obstacle course and back as fast as you can without touching the ropes. Rest. Repeat. Then, do it again but move sideways through the course. Rest and repeat.
7. If you don’t post a post-workout selfie, did you even work out?
Take a pictures and post it online using the #GetRiverFit or #ilovememphis hashtag!
RiverFit Fitness Trail FAQs
1. How do I get there? If you want to go to RiverFit, you can park anywhere downtown and walk, park in the free lot at Tom Lee Park as space allows, or pay for parking at the Beale Street Landing lot ($5+) as space allows. The RiverFit trail and courts are spread out over Tom Lee Park.
2. Is it free? Yes. RiverFit is free to use and open to the public. Use your common sense when using equipment and follow the directions posted on signs and sidewalk. If you want to use the soccer or volleyball courts, you’ll need to bring your own ball.
3. Do I have to reserve the volleyball or soccer courts? The courts are first-come, first-serve. The signs posted say “pick and end time and stick to it” (see photo above).
Special thanks to Lauren (check out her website here), Sheldon and the Grizzlies (website here) and Cara Greenstein for taking photos and videos. For more info, visit riverfit.com or follow them on Facebook.