Moving your workout indoors when the weather gets cold can feel like a total bummer. But, on the bright side, it’s a chance to throw it back to your childhood days of kicking a ball around the gym or shooting some hoops at school. All you have to do is channel your kid-like energy when you equated exercise to play. And getting fit? Well, that’s just the byproduct.
To prove our point, we teamed up with the master of play, Chelsea Potter, professional CrossFit athlete and personal trainer at Solace New York. She IDs seven creative, fun exercises inspired by your favorite childhood games and sports. Get ready to unleash your athletic potential and let loose on the playground — or, gym floor.
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7 Fun Exercises for a Sports-Inspired Workout
1. If you loved shooting hoops…
Throw some wall ball shots to improve total-body strength, stability and coordination, Potter says. Try to hit a target on the wall with each shot to improve your two-pointer game.
How to: Stand tall about 1.5 feet from a wall and hold a slam ball with both hands at eye level, your hands placed at the bottom of ball. Brace your core (a). From here, lower into a squat, then forcefully drive through your heels to raise to standing. As you do so, extend your arms diagonally up toward the wall to throw the ball against the wall (b). Catch it as it bounces back to you and immediately lower back into a squat and repeat.
2. If you ruled hopscotch…
Do this plyo twist squat drill to bounce around, get your heart-rate up, and build lower-body explosive strength. Perform each rep as quickly as possible to really boost your heart rate and burn calories.
How to: Stand tall with your feet just wider than hip-distance apart, and brace your core (a). From here, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat (b). When your hip crease reaches just below the tops of your knees, immediately drive through your feet to explode into the air and rotate 180 degrees to land back in a squat facing the opposite direction (c). Use each landing to launch yourself into your next rep.
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3. If you starred at softball…
Perfect your swing with this high-to-low woodchop variation. Perform it at your gym’s cable machine or simply use a dumbbell, Potter says. Expect a stronger core, shoulders and arms by spring.
How to: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell both hands, arms extended diagonally over one shoulder. Brace your core (a). From here, pull through your core and shoulders to rotate your torso and guide the handle to the outside of your opposite hip (b). Pause, then slowly return to start (c). Perform as many reps as possible in 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
4. If you dominated the dance floor…
Hone your core stability, upper-body strength and total-body coordination with the against-the-wall push-up. As you get stronger, increase difficulty by standing farther from the wall or lifting one foot off of the floor, Potter says.
How to: Stand tall facing a wall and place your hands on the wall in line with your shoulders. Engage your core like you would in a plank. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels (a). From here, squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows to lower your chest as far toward the wall as possible, letting your elbows flare out diagonally from your torso as you do so (b). Pause, then press through your hands and chest to return to start.
RELATED: This Is How to Do Perfect Push-Ups (Even on Your Knees)
5. If you loved gymnastics…
Master the single-leg box squat. This advanced move will build single-leg strength and stability like whoa. Feeling intimidated by the looks of it? Start performing this move flat on the floor before climbing on top of the box.
How to: Stand tall on top of a low box with your feet on the edge. Shift your weight to one foot and let the other foot hang over the edge toward the floor. Keep your abs tight (a). Push your hips back and bend the knee of your standing leg so you squat as far toward the floor as possible (b). When your hanging foot just barely touches the floor, pause, then drive through your standing leg to return to start (c). Repeat for as many reps as possible in 30 seconds, then switch sides.
6. If you kicked butt at kickball and soccer…
One of our faves in terms of fun exercises! Try this sprint to cone + burpee drill to hone your speed, total-body strength and increase your cardio endurance. Up the number of sprints — or simply try to perform more rounds in the same amount of time — to enhance your endurance and power, Potter says.
How to do it: Space two cones (or use a household item like bottles) 10 feet apart on the floor. Sprint from one cone to the next (a). Next, complete a single burpee by getting into a high-plank position, dropping your chest to the ground, performing a push-up and jumping your feet up to your hands. Then, spring up into the air as high as possible to finish it (b). When you land, turn around and run back to the first cone (c). Perform a total of 10 sprints, doing a burpee at each cone.
7. If you rocked the Double Dutch and jump rope…
Improve strength and explosive power while burning crazy calories with lateral ski jumps. Bonus benefit: They hone in on the outer thighs to help prevent lower-body issues such as runner’s knee and IT band syndrome.
How to do it: Place an object on the floor (like a dumbbell) that’s a height that you can jump over. Stand tall next to it with your feet just narrower than hip-width apart (a). From here, lower into a quarter squat and swing your arms behind you (b). Then explode up to jump over the object and land on the other side, lowering immediately back into your squat to repeat the jump in the opposite direction.
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