If you think the holiday season is the biggest waistline offender, wait until this Sunday — when the Patriots take on the Falcons. Americans eat an average of about 6,000 calories on game day, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. To counter the chicken wings, nachos and beer, consider doing these four real football drills right in your living room before the game, during the commercial breaks, at halftime or whenever the guilt becomes too overwhelming.
“These training drills are designed to torch calories and can be done anywhere,” says former pro football player JayD, a group fitness instructor at New York Health & Racquet Club in Manhattan and creator of Gridiron Power, a high-intensity program built on the fundamentals of American football conditioning. “Grab a partner and compete to see who can complete the most reps. You’ll burn calories, build strength and have a blast while enjoying the game, too,” adds JayD, who played on the New York Sharks of the Independent Women’s Football League.
These exercises will help you build speed, power, endurance, agility, strength and coordination, regardless of your fitness level. Do the following four drills, which are a good mix of high- and low-impact movements, at least 10 times each (switching sides and repeating when applicable). Altogether, the workout should take about 15 minutes — or however long it takes Lady Gaga to complete all her wardrobe changes at halftime.
1. LINE SHUFFLES (HIGH-IMPACT)
Take an athletic stance, and keep your core tight. Roll slightly onto the balls of your feet. Laterally shuffle across the floor twice, dropping your hips and touching your outside foot with your inside arm. Repeat in opposite direction, moving fast and getting as low as you possibly can. To modify, instead of touching your foot, touch the outside of your knee.
2. RED ZONE SPRINTS (HIGH-IMPACT)
Start by getting hyped: Bounce up and down on the balls of your feet. Run in place, bringing your knees into your chest. Make sure you’re skipping while running and keeping your core engaged.
3. TOUCHDOWNS (LOW-IMPACT)
Start in a standing position. Place one hand on the floor. Kick out your legs so that you’re in single-arm plank position. Extend the free arm overhead, and pull it back in toward your body (like a fist pump). Jump back up to standing position. Repeat, alternating arms. To modify, step back one leg at a time instead of kicking both legs back simultaneously.
4. SINGLE-LEG LATERAL SLIDE (LOW-IMPACT)
Place a disc or towel below your right foot, keeping your right heel up. Slide the towel laterally away from the standing left foot, keeping most of your body weight on that left leg as you lower to a squat position and then return to start. You should feel the front and outside area of your quad tightening and release during this movement.