Summer is here, and so are the outdoor activities that go with it! Whether it’s on the water, the trails, the courts or in the yard, being fit for the outdoors make these activities much more enjoyable. Here are some of my favorite, slightly “non-traditional” exercises that we use with our clients to help them water ski, kayak, tee-off, serve, rock-hop, pedal, and yes, weed their flower beds, while staying injury-free!

Stay Balanced with BOSU Squat and Resistance Band Row

Why: Improves balance by mimicking the instability of being on water skis, wakeboards and paddleboards while strengthening our back and posterior shoulder muscles. This exercise will drive the heart rate up quickly due to all the large muscles being used, and your quads will thank you for the extra work when you’re hiking up House Mountain or pedaling the greenways.   

How: First, evenly space your feet on the BOSU ball, and get comfortable standing and then squatting. When you’re ready, hold onto a resistance band or cable machine handle, and pull your elbows behind you as you pinch your shoulder blades together.

Fancy Footwork with Agility Ladder Drills

Why: Not just for the serious athlete, these drills teach your brain and feet to connect, while helping you master quick change of direction and coordination. This drill is perfect for tennis, hiking and may make you a better dancer!  

Drill No.1 One-Leg Hops: From the ball of your foot, hop forward from square to square, while maintaining balance and posture. Keep your knee slightly bent. For beginners, start with two feet first. Try hopping sideways or backward for more challenge.

Drill No. 2 Lateral Shuffles: Start with each foot in a box. Advance into the next box with your lead foot, and follow with the trailing foot. Keep your elbows bent, knees soft, and try to get faster as your footwork improves!

Power Up Your Game with Kettlebell Swings

Why: Develops power in your glutes, hamstrings and lower back while reinforcing good posture. This exercise applies to just about any activity under the sun.

How: Start with a light kettlebell. Keeping your knees slightly bent, start by reaching the kettlebell back through your legs (like snapping a football). Then thrust the hips forward, creating the momentum to make the kettlebell “float up” to eye level. Keep your arms relaxed and spine straight.

Don’t forget to warm up well before trying these exercises and to stretch afterward.

Andrew Henderson is the owner/operator of Fitness Together.