1. Mountain Climber
If you don’t live near a mountain, you can still go through the motions without having to lug all the gear and risking a hazardous fall. This in-place floor exercise engages core, arm, and leg muscles.
Start on the floor in a plank position with your wrist slightly farther apart than your shoulders. Keep your core tight to stabilize your hips. Bring one leg towards your chest, bending at the knee and kick it back into position. As you kick back, bring the other knee to your chest. Alternate as many times as you can. Remember to keep your knees close to the floor, your back in a straight line, and your shoulders above your wrists.
Named after Royal H. Burpee, a physiologist who devised the maneuver in the 1930s, this squat thrust tones legs, triceps, shoulder and core muscles and increases flexibility and stamina.
To perform this exercise, start in a squat position with your arms in front of you and your weight resting on the heels of your feet. Kick your legs backwards as you place your hands in front of you. Your body should now be in a push-up position, with your core tight and your back straight.
Do a push-up and jump forward to bring your feet beside your hands. List your torso up and jump up, landing in a squat position. Repeat the routine.
Begin slowly and increase speed as you get used to doing the exercise, working up to doing one hundred a day.
3. Jump Rope
Requiring coordination and concentration, there’s a reason boxers train using this exercise. A simple rope jump can be versatile, increasing or decreasing the speed of the jump in conjunction with the movement of the rope. This is an especially valuable exercise for women, as it will help maintain leg bone density to prevent osteoporosis.
As you jump, bend your elbows, ankles, and knees. Breathe through your nose to keep your heart rate under control and avoid muscles cramps. For best results, jump low to avoid getting tired and possibly injuring yourself. Make sure to wear good shoes to absorb impact, keep your knees bent, and land on the balls of your feet to avoid jarring joints. Jump rope to music and it’ll feel like you’re dancing!
4. Broad Jump
Exercising your legs, core, and arms, the broad jump promotes balance and strength.
All you have to do is stand up with your legs at a little more than a hip’s width apart and lower down into a squat.
Swing your arms backwards and jump forwards as far as you can.
Turn around and jump back into you original position.
Set your own repetition or time limit and increase it as you become better at landing.
5. Tuck Jump
Start in a tall squat and jump up. As you do so, try to touch the sides of your knees. Land on the balls of your feet to avoid putting a strain on your knees. Stay in control of your movements throughout to ensure a soft landing by having your knees pointing straight ahead to avoid excessive joint impact. Repeat ten times for an efficient set.
As you keep better, try to touch your ankles instead of your knees. The advanced version of the tuck jump incorporates a burpee but with high jumps in the middle and at the end, with no push-up in between.
6. High Knees
This exercise is kind of like running on the spot, but with more control and less strain on your joints. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and a clear mind.
Start by standing straight, with your abs tight and you feet at hip’s width apart. Bring your left knee up in front of you, at hip height, as you bring your right arm forward and your left arm back. Bring your left foot back down and simultaneously push your right foot off the ground, bringing your right knee in front of you. Alternate between legs and keep going for 1 minute.
All these exercises are plyometric, that is, muscles are called upon to exert maximum force in bursts of speed. More complete than running, this type of exercise improves muscle tone, stamina, and agility.