TLDR? You can find some great outdoor gyms in both Laureles and Poblado.
Medellín has something I’ve never found in any of the American or European cities I’ve lived in: outdoor gyms. No, I don’t just mean a pull-up bar and maybe some monkey bars. I’m talking full-on gyms with free weights, machines, and cables.
These public amenities are referred to as gimnasios urbanos or gimnasios al aire libre, and they’re free and open to the public. In Medellín, it’s totally possible to get the same full-pump workout you do at home while feeling the tropical sun on your face and spending a grand total of zero pesos.
Are you ready to jump into these outdoor gyms and get started with a great workout? Here’s the ultimate guide.
There are two major sectors in Medellin: Laureles and Poblado. If you’re staying in the Laureles sector, there are plenty of gyms for you to check out.
Here are some of the best outdoor gyms in this neighborhood.
Gimnasio Urbano INDER
This is where I go for my chest/back split because they have several bench presses including an inclined press. Located near Plaza de Banderasthe soccer stadium, it’s pretty easy to get to for anyone in central Laureles or Bolivariana.
Other cool equipment includes cable rows and a leg press. There’s a cable pull-down as well, but this was broken last time I went.
These machines are in high demand, so you usually have to wait your turn. There are enough bench presses, though, that one is almost always open.
As an added bonus, this gym has easy access to the many fruit and juice vendors that set up in Parque de las Banderas. It makes a great, all-natural pre-workout.
Technically in Belén, this open-air gym is the biggest I’ve found in Medellín and has access to the public pool, tennis courts, and children’s playground.
Most of the equipment is new and includes things you probably don’t even have at your gym back home like a lat machine and elaborate calisthenics jungle gym. Of course, there are all the standard machines as well to hit your bis, tris, chest, legs, and everything in between.
The Belén gym is busy most of the day, but there’s so much available that you can always get some kind of workout in. There’s even a public bathroom so you can change and get in an extra-long split.
For those of you who are staying in the Poblado part of town, there are options for you too. Here are a couple of the top outdoor gyms in the area.
Zona Deportiva El Poblado
For most people staying in Poblado, the easiest outdoor gym to get to is this one, right next to the main bar and restaurant strip. It’s not too big but it does have a bench press, free weights for curls or presses, and several cable machines in addition to calisthenics equipment.
Usually, this gym is populated by a few hardcore gym rats, friendly, and always ready to let you get a set in. Sometimes they even bring their equally friendly dogs that insist on playing fetch with you between your sets.
Surrounded by tropical landscaping, you get the atmosphere of a boutique powerlifting gym combined with the natural beauty of Medellín.
When I first came to Medellin, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up my strict workout routine. On the drive in from the airport, we passed this outdoor gym, and all those fears disappeared.
Located in the south of Poblado near the Oviedo mall, it can be a little less accessible depending on where you’re staying, but if you can get there, you have a smooth, detailed workout at your fingertips.
When I went at around 8 AM, there were only a couple of other people there, and for part of the time, I had the whole gym to myself. There are mostly machines, enough for every muscle group, but also calisthenics equipment and even a few dumbbells.
So there you have it-a quick guide to a couple of the best outdoor gyms in the city. Now that you know where to go, it’s time to talk about what you need to know.
Here are a couple of gyms to help you make the most of your workout.
Embrace the Crowd
Medellín’s outdoor gyms are free and, in my opinion, even better than indoor gyms thanks to the sun, so it makes sense that they’re busy. The number of people depends on the time of the day like any gym, with mornings and late afternoons the busiest times, but you’ll pretty much find a lot of patrons pretty much 24/7.
Be flexible with your routine in case you don’t have access to the machine you were expecting. Trade out the dumbbells for the biceps machine, whatever.
Also, tap into your extroverted side. Paisas are polite and generally have no problem letting you work in, but you have to ask.
Watch the Chains
The free weights at the gimnasios urbanos are chained to the ground. If you’re bench pressing, for example, make sure the chains aren’t caught on anything before you start a set, or else you’ll get a surprise on your first rep.
Medellín’s outdoor gyms don’t have water fountains. While there may be some vendors stalking the gym entrance or a convenience store across the street, your workout will be a lot more comfortable if you bring a water bottle.
Get Ready for a Great Workout in One of Medellin’s Outdoor Gyms
Medellin is unique in the fact that it has some amazing places where you can work out without paying a dime. Try out one of these outdoor gyms and work up a sweat!
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