What image do you think of when the subject of fitness is brought up? Do you picture going to the gym, hopping onto a cardio machine and zoning out for the next hour? Or perhaps you're more of a Monday-is-chest/shoulders-Tuesday-is-back/biceps kind of person. While either approach is effective and may be satisfactory for some, others will count every painful minute until it's over - or worse: quit due to boredom or lack of results.
I'm not saying having a structured gym routine is wrong; it should be part of the process - just not the entire process. What I am suggesting is adding some unstructured, "play-like" workouts into the mix. Remember when you were young and played pickup games of basketball, rode your bike, played tag or took part in other games that had you running, jumping and actually enjoying yourself? Play was great, and it also kept us in shape without us realizing it. These same games were great for improving agility, increasing speed and reaction time and were mentally engaging.
We can use this approach for our fitness routine as well. A great way of doing it is by incorporating a workout each week that centers on fitness games/drills. Not only are they fun, but they are very challenging fitness-wise as well. And the best part? They give you something to look forward to, keep you consistent and have you feeling like a kid again. So grab a workout partner and enjoy a blast from the past with these games and drills!
CRAB RACE: Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart. Begin in the crab position. For one minute, using your hands and legs, crab-crawl down and back between the cones as many times as you can. Switch partners and repeat. The person who accumulates the most distance wins the round. As a second option, make it a race and go simultaneously. Perform 1-3 rounds.
SHADOW DRILL: Set up two cones about 5 yards apart with you and your partner standing at the midpoint facing each other. One person will start off as the leader while the other follows. Using a lateral shuffle, the leader's goal is to outmaneuver (i.e. juke) the follower for 15-20 seconds. The follower tries to shadow and match the leader's every move. Rest for 20-60 seconds, switch rolls and repeat. Perform 1-3 sets.
PULLING DRILL: This drill requires either a rope or a rolled-up towel. Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart and begin the drill at one end. Each person will hold an end of the rope or towel with both hands. The person whose back is facing the cone at the opposite end begins by pulling and dragging his or her partner toward the other end. The person facing the cone at the opposite end is providing strong resistance but is allowing his or her partner to move. Switch rolls once you reach the other end and repeat to complete the first set. Perform 1-3 sets.
FARMER WALK RACE: Set up two cones about 10 yards apart. Each participant needs a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells. Weight selection depends on your level of strength/fitness, generally 15-35 pounds for females and 35-55 pounds for males. The drill begins with each participant holding the weights and speed-walking back and forth between the cones for 1 minute. The person who accumulates the most distance/trips wins the round. Perform 1-3 sets.
Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 15 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.championfit.net.