From tennis and soccer players to cyclists, did you ever notice how women athletes often have the best bodies? One reason: Sports training requires balanced training, working the entire body as a whole, not in separate units. These athletes worry less about how many crunches they can do and more about ways to get stronger and faster. (It’s also a lot more fun than counting reps.) You can do the same. Try these fun total-body moves that involve a bit of fancy footwork and agility for a bit of variety. Do them on their own on alternate days from your regular workout or pick a few to do as a fun warm-up.
Place straight markers (pencils, strips of paper, etc.) on the ground in a ladder formation, approximately 18 inches apart about 10 yards out. Keeping eyes on the ground about a yard in front of you, start stepping high by raising each knee until thigh is parallel to the ground as you alternately step between each marker, moving to the end of the “ladder.” Keep elbows bent at 90 degrees and swing them alternately with each step. Turn and repeat in the opposite direction.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Quickly shuffle down the length of the “ladder” by stepping sideways with your right foot (keep your upper body still — avoid rocking), followed by your left foot. Pause, then shuffle back to starting position. Repeat.
Backwards and forwards
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Quickly walk backwards 3 to 5 yards, then rush forward to starting position. Increase distance for a greater challenge.
Arrange four small objects to mark a 5-by-5-yard square. Stand in the middle and start jogging in place. Alternately dash to each corner, touch the marker and return to the center — without turning around to do so — and continue jogging in place. This works well with a partner: Have your partner randomly point to cones (or whatever objects you’re using) as you dash to them and return to the center. Start with two 15-second sets.
Two-footed forward/backward hops
Using the “ladder” setup, stand to the side of the markers with body facing and in line with the strips. Gently “hop” into the space between two markers, then hop back at a 45-degree angle, keeping knees slightly bent. Hop forward on a diagonal into the next “square.” Continue this diagonal hopping down the entire strip.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knee slightly bent. Slide sideways approximately 3 to 5 yards to your right and quickly slide back to starting position. Repeat five times and switch sides.
Rainy-day soccer workouts
In this video you get a 20-minute workout that you can do at home. All you need is you and your soccer ball!