News flash: You don’t have to play sports to burn fat like an athlete.
The agility drills that prepare the pros for competition are great for torching body fat, says Robert Reames, CSCS, head fitness trainer for The Dr. Phil Show and the author of Make Over Your Metabolism. "Research also shows increases in strength, power, balance, and coordination for these short duration, high-intensity physical activities," says Reames. "I’ve used them with people for years, to great success."
Andrea Avruskin, DPT, a physical therapist and athletic trainer located in Las Vegas, Nevada, points out that "sports drills feel less like an exercise and more like a real sports activity, so they are more fun than single-muscle exercises."
To help you reap those benefits, we asked Reames and Avruskin to share some of their favorite drills. They recommended doing the exercises twice a week (with two to three days rest in between), depending on your goals. "If you’re a tennis player, you can do them in place of your cardio workout,” says Reames. “However, if your goal is weight loss, you’ll want to supplement your cardio workout with these.”
Get started now—and you should see increased speed, power, endurance and stamina after only a week.
How to do it: You need a start line, plus a first sprint line, a second sprint line, and a third—and longest—sprint line. Each sprint will be twice as long as the last. For example, on a basketball court, start under the basket, sprint to the first foul line, touch, and then sprint back to the start. Next, sprint to half-court, touch, and then sprint back to start. Then, sprint all the way down across the court, touch the end line, and sprint back to the finish (under the basket). That's one Death Valley. (Note: Do these on an open running space such as a basketball court, tennis court or driveway—grass may be too slippery.)
Beyond the burn: This drill will also help you increase your speed, agility, quickness, stamina and endurance, says Reames—plus, it’s great for sports that require the ability to accelerate and decelerate quickly, such as soccer and football.