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: Facing forward, begin moving laterally to your left by stepping left with your left foot. Then, bring your right foot in front, then step out sideways again with your left foot, then step your right foot behind it. Continue this sequence for a set distance or the length of a room and then repeat, going in the opposite direction and moving laterally to the right. Keep arms in a “ready” position—as if you’re about to play a piano—elbows tight to the body or at 90-degrees with palms open.
Beyond the burn: Doing this drill will also help with coordination, balance, and lateral speed, says Reames. It's great for all sports that involve lateral or multi-directional movement, such as football, soccer and basketball.