by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director
Football, cheer, soccer and all fall sports are starting to gear up for a fun season of sports. A number of effective fitness training drills can be applied to the average person to get into great physical shape. Strength, speed, agility and stamina are all areas to condition for any sport or overall fitness. Here are five effective drills that we have incorporated into our Kids Performance Fit classes and Adult BootCamps programs at Fun & Fitness Gymnastics. Easy enough to try at home to improve your performance or come check out a class!
- Tire Runs
Sprinting through tires laid in a zig-zag pattern will help to develop speed, agility, endurance and leg strength. Begin at one end of the tires, and step into each tire with one foot, one at a time. Do this as quickly as possible, making sure to lift your knee up high after stepping out of each tire to avoid tripping. Once you get to the end of the laid out tires, repeat the process by sprinting through the tires back to starting position.
- Shuttle Runs
Shuttle runs work on speed, endurance and lower body muscle strength. Shuttle runs involve gradually increasing the distance of each sprint. The best place to perform this is on an actual football field – or even a soccer field – with the yard lines marked off. Begin at one end of the field, and sprint 10 yards, then sprint back to starting position. The next sprint should be done for 20 yards and back, then 30 yards and back, and so forth. Make sure you touch the yard line with your hands before sprinting back to the start.
- Vertical Power Jumps
This activity develops power and muscle building in the legs. Vertical power jumps involve jumping as high as you can repeatedly with explosive power. Begin by standing upright, then slowly bend at the knees and hips. With all your force, propel yourself vertically into the air as high as possible. To get more out of the jump, drive your knees towards your chest when leaping. Do not rest between jumps. Instead, transition into each jump immediately upon descent. Repeat 10 to 20 times for a great leg work out.
- Box Jumps
This involves jumping up onto a large stable box approximately two to three feet high (depending on your height). Box jumps promote power and muscle building as the vertical power jumps do, but with a little variation. Begin by standing at the foot of the box, about eight inches away. Jump up onto the edge of the box, stand up straight, then jump back down to starting position. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Ladder Drills
The ladder drill encourages speed, agility, coordination and leg muscle strength. Use an imaginary ladder laid out on the ground. To make things simpler, draw a ladder pattern on the ground with some chalk to visualize the ladder. Begin by standing at the bottom of the ladder with your feet shoulder width apart. Step into the first square with your left foot first, then immediately with your right foot. Step on the outside of the second square with your left foot first, then your right foot on the other side of the square. Step back inside of the second square with one foot at a time, then back to the outside on the fourth square. Continue this pattern until you reach the top of the ladder, then run in a straight line back to starting position. The key is to make your steps as quick as possible to maximize the effectiveness of this football fitness training drill.