The agility ladder, hula hoop and jump rope are three excellent fitness tools which may be utilized together during the same exercise session to create variety, improve cardiovascular endurance, burn calories and challenge your agility, power and coordination. All three of these tools are inexpensive, portable and enable the user to perform countless different skills and drills which is why this week all three will be featured in a fun cardio circuit. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
*Note: If you are new to any or all of these fitness tools, consult a fitness professional for a “lesson” or two prior to attempting use.
The Ladder, Hula Hoop and Jump Rope Circuit - Each station is performed for 75 seconds non-stop followed by a 15-second break to recover quickly and move to the next station. You may either utilize this circuit as a high-intensity interval training circuit, becoming winded at each station, recovering for 15 seconds before performing the next station, or you may choose to perform an aerobic circuit by keeping the pace steady state (i.e. able to say your name and phone number throughout).
• Warm-up on each of these tools for a total of 5-10 minutes. Choose simple skills for each spending approximately 1-3 minutes per tool bringing your RPE’s to a 1-2 which is very light to light exertion.
• Station No.1 Ladder – perform a straight run down the ladder (i.e. R/L/R/L) each foot hitting every block without touching the straps or slats. Reverse leads and repeat.
• Station No. 2 Hula Hoop – perform a traditional hula hoop rotation at the waistline with one foot forward the other staggered back, body upright and arms either up above the head or simply out of the way of the hoop.
• Station No. 3 Jump Rope – perform a traditional skipping of the rope leading with one leg for half of the 75 seconds and the other for the remainder.
• Station No. 4 Ladder – perform an “out-out-in-in” drill down the ladder (i.e. beginning at the end of the ladder, step outside the first block with the right foot, then outside the same block with the left, then inside the same block with each foot—R/L/R/L and advancing to the next block) without touching the straps or slats. Reverse leads and repeat.
• Station No. 5 Hula Hoop – perform the traditional hula hoop rotation but attempt to move around the room without losing the hoop.
• Station No. 6 Jump Rope – attempt to “run” the rope or lift the knees, alternating while you travel around the room.
• Station No. 7 Ladder – perform an “inside-outside” drill down the ladder (i.e. begin at the end of the ladder facing the side of the ladder from the first block; left foot inside, then right, moving down the ladder, stay on that side to the end and then reverse leads/repeat).
• Station No. 8 Hula Hoop – switch your lead leg with the traditional hula hoop rotation.
• Station No. 9 Jump Rope – attempt to add a “figure 8” with the upper body while you jump rope.
You may perform this circuit one to four times through, on two-three non-consecutive days/week. Follow the circuit with pushups, abdominals/core training and a thorough foam rolling, stretching and flexibility segment.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.