Core-blimey guv’ner, now that’s a workout!

The following routine is a functional workout I have put together to improve fitness and strengthen the core. I used this to help train my young rugby team during lockdown; although I wanted to include it here as I believe it is great workout in its own right. It requires only a ball (football, rugby, basketball) and your body-weight. Each exercise can be performed in a 5×5 grid (making useful for socially-distanced training).

The aim is to follow each exercise for 1 minute in a rotation back-to-back with minimal rest between (< 1/2 minute). Followed by a rest period of 2 minutes before the next rotation.

Let me know how you get on. Enjoy!

Rotation 1: Upper Body
NameStart PositionExerciseAdvanced
One-arm Balance PressHands and knees. Put one hand on a ball, the other on the floor.Press up, 4 reps, then . switch ball to other hand.Off-knees
Tricep PressHands and knees with thumbs and forefingers forming a triangle.Press-up, making sure elbows are close the body.Off knees, hands on ball
Bear CrawlHands and feet.Move up and down grid on hands and feet only.
Tricep PlankHands and feet, Drop so forearms are on the floor.Raise body by pushing with one hand, then raise other to hand so in press-up position. Drop to one arm, then other. Repeat.Keep torso parallel to floor.

Rotation 2: Core
NameStart PositionExerciseAdvanced
Sit-upsLying on back with shoulders touching the floor. Hold ball so that it touches the floor behind your head.Move hands toward your feet and transfer the ball to feet. Lie back, shoulder touching and repeat by transferring ball to hands again.Raise shoulders off the ground for body to form V-shape when transferring the ball.
BridgePlace ball under the lower back. With shoulders on the ground and feet on the floor, form a bridge over the ball. Raise and lower the back slowly onto ball and raise again.Raise alternate legs outstretched and hold for 10 secs.
Side TwistRaise shoulders and feet 6 inches from floor to form a V-shape (bent legged).Place ball either side onto floor, making sure legs remain 6 inches from the floor.Straighten legs.
Superman PlankStart on hands and knees.Raise one arm outstretched and raise the opposite knee. Switch.Off-knees.

Rotation 3: Cardio
NameStart PositionExerciseAdvanced
Quick feet pressStanding position.Quick running on the spot (raise feet only a few inches). Every 5 secs, place chest on the floor. Press-up to feet and repeat.
Side-step TryStanding position holding ball.Side step across grid, touch the ball on the line, then repeat opposite direction.Place all in hand, touching the line with the opposite hand (across the body)
Star JumpsStanding positionJump then land with arms wide and legs wide to form an X-Shape.
High KneesStanding position, holding ball at arms length.Run across grid, so that knees touch the ball. Turn around and repeat.

Rotation 4: Lower Body
NameStart PositionExerciseAdvanced
SquatsStanding position holding the ball with outstretched arms.Squat down and placing ball on floor between the legs. Stand up.Touch ball on each foot before standing up.
Lunges with a twistStanding position holding ball at arms length. Step forward with one foot, so that thigh is parallel to the floor. Twist hips one-way then other with exagerated movement - keeping hips facing forward.
Frog JumpsStanding position holding ball at arms length.Squat then jump forward and repeat across the grid, turning where necessary.
BurpeesStanding position holding ball at arms length.Squat down placing ball on the floor. With hands on the ball, jump back with both feet to a press-up position. Jump both feet forward toward ball. Stand up. RepeatJump instead of standing at end of motion.

Helpful Tips:

  • Warm up (obviously). Personally I always warm up with some low intensity stretches.

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