What do elite athletes have in common? They’re agile, flexible, and strong – and most importantly, they train hard. Using these 10 moves, take your workout to the next level and start training like an athlete.
1. Plyo Lunge Pass-Through
You’ll need a medicine ball for this one. It’s a simple two-parter: first, step one foot forward into a deep lunge. Next, pass the medicine ball from one hand to the other underneath your lunging leg. Jump to switch feet and repeat on the other leg. Alternate from side to side, aiming for 8 to 10 reps per side.
2. Warrior Lunge
Want to train like a surfer? Get yourself into this yoga-derived lunge position. Once you’re down in a regular forward lunge position, reach your arms above your head. Push off your front foot to get back to the starting position. Need to make it harder? Add a side bend and increase your reps. Remember to alternate legs.
3. Plié Squat to Relevé
If you want a body like a dancer, start with a dance-inspired workout. If you have access to a barre, this is a great move to target your obliques, core, quads and calves. Stand with one hand on the barre, the other arm at your side holding a hand weight. Step into a wide plié squat with your feet turned in and your knees over your toes. Bring the foot farthest from the barre in, stand tall on both feet, and cross this foot over the one closest to the barre. Return to the starting position, switch sides, and repeat. Try for 10 reps.
Nobody ever said burpees are fun, but they can condition your body for just about any sport you can imagine. Jump up, land in a squat, squat down, put your hands in front of you, kick your feet back, get in pushup position, do a pushup if you’re feeling ambitious, raise yourself up, and jump back to the ground and repeat. It’s a cardio move, it’s a plyo move, it’s a whole-body move.
5. Physioball Dead Bug
Soccer players use this workout move to strengthen their cores and increase overall power. Start on your back, knees raised, holding onto an exercise ball. Keep one hand on the ball as you extend your other arm and its opposite leg. Hold for three seconds. Bring arm and leg back to the center, switch sides and repeat. Aim for three sets of 8 reps.
No water required is for this Pilates move, but it sure will get you in shape for the pool. Lie on your stomach and extend your arms and legs straight and long. Lift your arms and legs so only your core remains on the ground. Kick your feet and flutter your arms back and forth as if you’re swimming. Breathe in for five counts and out for five; repeat this cycle three times.
7. Pulse Squat
If you want to try snowboarding, master this move first. It seems simple, but it’s a killer. It will hit up your leg and butt muscles and increase your strength, flexibility and balance. Get down into a 90-degree-angle squat. Come halfway up (do not stand all the way), then return back down to 90 degrees. Pulse up and down for 30 seconds.
8. High Knees
To become a better runner, practice your high knees. Moving forward in a skipping motion, bring your knees high up every time you explode off the ground. Use your hands and arms to counter-balance your body, and keep contact with the ground limited to the balls of your feet.
Link: Best running form drills
9. Cone Balance Touch
Before you hit up the tennis court, add this move to your exercise repertoire; it can improve dynamic balance, control over your core, and leg strength in your hips and knees. Arrange three cones in a shallow V about two feet away from each other. (Don’t have a cone? Use water bottles or whatever else you have on hand.) Squat on one leg and touch the first cone, come back to center and repeat until you’ve touched all three cones. You’ll repeat the entire series four times, switching up leg and arms each time: right leg squat and right hand cone touch, left leg squat and left hand cone touch, right leg squat and left hand cone touch, left leg squat and right hand cone touch.
Okay, it’s not a move, but remember this: all great athletes know the importance of rest. It is crucial to give your body a day off every week, so it can repair itself after vigorous training. It may seem counter-intuitive, but resting will help your overall performance, no matter what sport you’re competing in. So don’t fear rest days! Embrace them, let your body recover, then come back next week stronger than ever.