It’s time to add some fun and games to your workout with some cardio and agility drills. These are great fat and calorie burning activities. Always consider your physical activity a dynamic and not static process. Make it a game. Think variety. Incorporate your environment into your workout. Though these drills call for the use of cones, you could use stones or even trees and bushes or chairs to run around.
Backpedal/Sprint Drill (Staggered Cones).
Six cones will be needed for this drill. Place one cone as the starting point and the other five are placed like spokes in a wheel at different lengths (10 to 20 yards) from the starting cone and each of them about five yards apart. Each of the five cones will be placed at the 10, 12, 1 and 2 o’clock positions. Sprint to the 10 o’clock cone and backpedal back to the starting cone. Do this with each cone in the “spoke” until all are completed.
Zigzag Sprint Drill With Cones.
Using six cones, stagger them in such a way that you will have to zigzag around each of them in order. This is a sprinting drill. Each cone should be about 5 yards apart. You will sprint around each cone until you have zigzagged through all the cones and then back again. The cones will be placed in two rows.
Box Drill With Cones.
Using four cones form a box on your lawn. The cones can be about 25 yards apart although you may vary that distance as you like. You are standing at the first cone. You will sprint to the second cone. You will perform a lateral or sideways move to the third cone. You will back pedal to the fourth cone. You will sprint back to the first cone. Please note that you can simply just sprint to each cone or you can mix and match your own moves between each of the cones.
This is a simple drill with a high cardio impact. Place one cone as the starting point and the other cone anywhere from 20 to 50 yards out. Sprint out and back, out and back, out and back, and so forth. I think you get the point. You can simply make this one a timed event with everyone at their own pace. When performing this as a group the great benefit is that no one really ever falls behind. As a matter of fact, you really can’t tell who’s ahead and who’s behind. Regardless of fitness level, all team members will enjoy a great cardio blast with this drill. I’m sure you’ll notice the fatigue very quickly on this one.
This can be done in a group with a group leader guide or by yourself. The guide leader will call the signals randomly to change direction. Don’t run into any trees or fall in a ditch going backwards! The commands are simple: forward, back, left, right. The commands FORWARD and BACK simply mean to run forward and backward. The commands LEFT and RIGHT mean run sideways to the left and to the right. This is lots of fun and a great way to work on the agility and the lower body. How long? As long as the guide leader is yelling out commands. The leader can either face the group and give hand signals as well or he or she can join in with the group and shout out the commands.
Run Forrest Run!
I’m sure most of you have seen the movie “Forrest Gump.” Once Forrest started running, he didn’t know when to stop. For most of us out there, it’s more like not knowing when to start. I had to specifically mention running. What I mean is anything that leaves the realm of simply walking. Keep in mind that running (jogging) is a great way to work the heart, lungs, butt, hips, thighs, quads, hamstrings and much more.
Learn To Throttle Your Running Pace.
Before ever stopping, try throttling it down to a slower running or jogging pace first. This works on two things: your mental strength and it keeps you on the run. Unless you are sprinting, your upper body should be relaxed and only your legs and lungs should be working. No feet dragging or pavement pounding is permitted unless you have a sudden urge to hear me say, “Drop and give me twenty!” Foot dragging or scraping or foot pounding is a recipe for injuries to connective tissue in your lower body. Your stride and your body mechanics should be smooth. You land on your heels and roll across your foot. You’re not really going to be thinking about this when you run. Just check yourself every now and then for smooth, efficient running mechanics. Your breathing – as with all exercises - should be natural and should not be heard, and the mouth should not be making some unnatural forms that you’ve seen in some of those workout videos or in the gym. You’re getting some of the Health Colonel’s philosophy about breathing.
Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.
Fitness Boot Camp Instructor and Personal Trainer