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Urbanized Exercise

Thirty ways to turn the city into your own personal gym.

Alex Ho, personal trainer and endurance athlete, runs Andy Goldsworthy's Wood Line in the Presidio. 

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Jenn Pattee, owner of Basic Training boot camp and an ultramarathon runner, works out on structures next to the Exploratorium.

(2 of 5) 

Greg Bianchi, owner of Bianchi Fitness and a track coach, conquering Twin Peaks.

(3 of 5) 

Personal trainer and competitiver grappler Carey Rockland scales the mokey bars at St. Mary's Playground.

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VyAyr Fitness owner and Iron Man competitor Kristi Dowler powering up at East Beach. 

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Kick up some sand: The beach as resistance band. 
Where: Baker Beach, Ocean Beach Dunes, Muir Beach, Montara Beach

25. Seal Walk (Suffer Meter: 3 out of 4, Ass-Kicker): For ultimate speed, it’s important that both your lower and upper body are strong. For a combo workout, start the seal walk at a beach, like China Beach, that doesn’t have too many objects in the sand. Get in upward dog position, then walk your body forward with your hands, dragging your legs limply behind you. Keep your hands in a fist; otherwise, it can be hard on your wrists. It looks ridiculous, but it’s really hard. Then work your lower body by running sprints up a sandy hill. This is a prime training ground for powering up for short races like Divis Up: Because the ground isn’t stable, you’ll have to run twice as hard, fi ring up muscles that you don’t use on pavement, which will ultimately make it feel easy when you finally do run on solid concrete again. —Ho

26. Mountain Climbers (Suffer Meter: 4 out of 4, Beast Mode): There’s nothing fun about doing mountain climbers, but they’re one of the most efficient exercises to improve your running speed. It’s more challenging in the sand than on pavement because your hands and feet are constantly melting into the sand as you move. Start at Aquatic Park with your wrists under your shoulders in plank position, and keep your hips and head in line with your spine as you alternate driving your knees in—one foot should always be moving toward your chest; never let both be on the ground. Your next 12K will be way easier. —Kristi Dowler, owner, VyAyr Fitness

27. Beach Burpies (Suffer Meter: 4 out of 4, Beast Mode): If you like a good kick in the ass, burpies at the beach are for you. It’s one of the most efficient total body workouts you can do. Stand at one end of the beach, drop your hands to the ground, kick back to plank, hop your feet back under to crouched position, and do a lawn jump forward. Then do 10 lunges in the sand, bear-crawl a few steps, and repeat. Knock out 15 of those, then run up the sand stairs if you’re at Baker Beach. Guaranteed to get your heart rate screaming. —Krstic

28. Grit Hauls (Suffer Meter: 3 out of 4, Ass-Kicker): This isn’t your typical romantic walk along Ocean Beach. Get an empty grocery bag. Dig into the sand quickly for a warm-up (never mind that you may look like a dog digging a hole), and fi ll your bag with sand. Boom, you have a weight. Use it as a substitute for a medicine ball, holding it on your shoulder while maintaining a steady run. It’s good for improving quickness and building explosive strength because your muscles require more energy to accelerate and the weight of the bag builds more core strength. —Katy Jercich, personal trainer

29. Human Wheelbarrows (Suffer Meter: 4 out of 4, Beast Mode):  Yes, like the third grade relay race, only this time the prize is a six-pack. Grab a partner and assume the wheelbarrow position by having one person place his palms flat on the sand with both ankles securely in the other person’s grip. Then take on San Francisco’s crumbly coastal slopes, like at Fort Funston, to ensure that your calves, quads, core, and triceps will be sore the next day. —Esquivel

30. Sand Dashes (Suffer Meter: 4 out of 4, Beast Mode): Crissy Field is ideal for line drills because it’s long and you can use benches as natural markers. One minute going hard in the sand will have your legs and lungs straining and challenge your balance at high speed. Draw two lines in the sand about 50 to 75 yards apart, start in runner’s position, and then hit it as fast as you can. Swivel around at the second line and sprint back. After a few of those, do one running backward, but at a slower pace, to work a different set of muscles. If you fall, you have a soft, forgiving surface. —Gabrielle Miller, owner, AbFabFit 

Page four: Lightning Fitness: The six-week urban exercise plan.