Every kid in my family had a specific sport growing up that just sort of clicked for us. It was the sport that people immediately thought of when they thought of each of us. One of my brothers was track. The other football. My sister was (is) gymnastics. And I was soccer. We all played other sports but these were the ones that we excelled at and spent a large portion of our childhood practicing or playing.
All throughout school, I played on some sort of soccer team, whether it was the school team, indoor league, or summer soccer. And on the off months, although few and far between, I was doing soccer camps anywhere I could. No matter the distance needed to be traveled. I once did a camp that was done mainly on basketball courts. If you thought playing soccer was hard before, just try breathing near a ball that is sitting on a smooth surface. It will just go flying off on its own.
Even though it has been several years from my last camp and I don’t really remember the people or what we worked on, I do remember the warm ups and cool downs. They were always a similar rendition of the same thing.
Nothing too crazy. But then each camp would try to get the ball involved in classic stretches and workout moves. Some made sense to my little mind. Others just seemed like they were handing us a ball and telling us to hold it for them while we do a move.
But, even though that part looked ridiculous, it was actually really fun to do and got us involved. Yoga is probably the funniest thing to watch when people are doing the beginning steps of a moon salutation while holding a neon yellow soccer ball. Would any of you be interested in that? Might be another workout to share down the road.
All in all, I pretty much ignored these moves while we were doing them because I had done them hundreds of times before. They were nothing exciting. Plus we were going at a fairly relaxed pace most of the tme so it was hardly a sweat inducing workout. However, looking back now I realize that if we would have upped the intensity just a little bit, we would have had a great workout right there.
I decided to incorporate those warm ups that I thought looked so ridiculous on the gymnasium’s floor and were honestly the bane of my existence for several years into a workout. Although I am not doing my best at selling this workout now, trust me when I say it is a lot more fun when you aren’t being forced to do it. I made some of the moves a little bit easier, some more difficult, and some are completely new. But either way, these moves are a completely different way to get in your workout in a fun new way.
If you do not have a soccer ball lying around you can use any other ball such as a basketball or (tentatively) a volleyball. Anything that is similar in size, shape, and density to a soccer ball
Or if you do not feel comfortable using a soccer ball for some of the moves, you can easily do them without or hold something completely different (like a weight) or simply mime as though the soccer ball is there.
Once you do some light stretching, with the soccer ball if you choose, you are ready to start your workout.
Squat Jump to Press:
Pick up the soccer ball and hold it securely between both hands in front of your chest, making sure it is not too far and not too close. While still holding the ball sit back as you would if you were sitting in a chair, not letting your knees go in front of your toes. Hold for a few seconds and then explode upwards, extending your arms above your head and jumping into the air. Repeat 25 times.
Lay down on your back and stretch your arms out behind your head with the ball held securely between your hands. In one smooth motion lift both your legs and arms off the ground until your body forms a V. Hold for 5 seconds and then release and return to your starting position before repeating the motion for 1 minute.
Around the world
Place the ball on the ground roughly a foot away from you. Lift up one of your feet and place it on top of the ball. With your other foot, hop slightly into the air and switch so now your other foot is on top of the ball. Repeat this motion while you move around the ball with each hop. Repeat for 30 seconds.
*If the movement around the ball makes you too dizzy, feel free to stand in one place while you do the movement.
Twisting Jump Lunge
Stand with the ball held securely in your hands in front of your chest. Lunge forward with one leg. As you do so, twist your torso towards the leg that is forward and touch that hip with the ball. Now jump into the air, switching your legs, and bringing the ball back across your chest to touch your other hip with that leg now in front. Repeat for 40 hops.
Place the ball on the ground and form a teardrop/diamond shape with your pointer fingers and thumbs. Place your hands on top of the ball and extend your legs out behind you into the plank position. Hold for 3 seconds before bending your elbows and lowering yourself towards the ball. Hold for another 3 seconds and then return to your starting position. Repeat 25 times.
*If this is too difficult, feel free to do without the ball.
Sit down and lift your legs into the air, bending your knee but keeping your heels towards the ground so your body forms a tilted capital ‘N’. Grab the ball with both hands and twist your torso to one side, touching the ground with the ball and then twisting to the other side and doing the same. Repeat on 50 times.
Once you complete this circuit once, do it three more times and you are finished.
With this workout, you can easily change up the difficulty of the moves in several different ways. You can either do the moves on sand, grass or a smooth surface, which will change your stability level as well as the ease of the moves. And by changing the ball size some of the moves become easier and others become harder. So if you have several soccer balls lying around or different surfaces, feel free to change it up until you find your sweet spot.
Anytime I do this workout, it absolutely takes me back to my high school days and gives me flashbacks of every oddball camp I went to. It also really makes me want to get some of my friends together for a pickup game. Which will definitely happen as soon as I am able to get them to join in.