Maria rodriguez72Maria Rodriguez of Rumson works out on the new equipment at Meadow Ridge Park.

Here’s a recession-busting idea for people who want to get in better physical shape but don’t want to drop a load of cash at a gym:

Check out the new outdoor gym that Rumson installed recently in Meadow Ridge Park on Ridge Road, opposite Fair Haven Fields.

A dozen or so exercise stations are clustered together under a leafy canopy near the children’s playground. That’s so parents can get in a workout and keep and eye on the kids at the same time, says parks supervisor John Hird.

Rumson gymA close-up view of the machine.

The equipment, made by Triactive America, based in California, uses your body weight, rather than steel plates, bands or some other system, as the source of resistance. Most entry-level users will find the equipment isn’t overly challenging, while “even hard-core athletes” will get something out of it, Hird says.

“I’m always trying to make sure our programs reach out to a broad base,” he says.

Roughly a dozen different exercise routines can be performed on the gear, including chest presses, leg extensions, lat pulldowns, knee raises, sit-ups and rowing — though that last one struck us as fairly lame in that you just rock yourself back and forth without any real resistance.

Because of all the recent rain, the gear hasn’t gotten much use yet. But among those who’ve discovered it are a number who Hird says are “pretty excited” about it.

The gym, which Hird believes is the first of its kind in this part of New Jersey, cost $18,000 and was funded by the borough government as well as the Rumson Community Appeal, a non-profit that raises funds for charities and public benefit.

In another couple of weeks, Hird says he expects to add a bulletin board showing some suggested routines to maximize the effectiveness of the gear.

Email this story