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Five football-inspired workouts for fall

Gridiron-inspired exercises you can do even while watching the game

Hispanic sporty woman with afro doing core workout and abdominal planks wearing sportswear in urban scenery at sundown

Football season is here, which means a lot of running for the guys on the field, and a lot of sitting (punctuated by occasional leaps into the air) for everyone else.

Still, that doesn’t mean we all have to give up on fitness until February. We asked Casey Sines, a trainer whose exercises can be found on Aaptiv, the encyclopedic fitness app, for some football-themed exercises, and she provided a mixture of things you might do if you were an actual player, and moves that an armchair quarterback can attempt at home during commercial break, or even during the game itself.

“I feel like it’s way more fun if I’m pretending I’m playing a sport than just working out,” says Hines. In that spirit, here are her tips for workout moves inspired by football exercises (and in-game maneuvers). (And take note: Eligible Haven Term policyholders enjoy a no-cost subscription to Aaptiv via the Haven Life Plus bonus rider.)

In this article:

Fast feet to burpee

If you’ve ever seen a movie or TV show that involves football practice, you’ve seen “fast feet” (or “quick feet,” as the exercise is also known).

“It’s where you lift your feet up very quickly in rapid succession,” says Hines. “I always describe it as ‘the floor is lava,’ so you’re moving your feet up and down super fast. It’s not about getting very high, but your feet just aren’t stopping.”

Go from fast feet into a burpee and you really are doing a football drill: “A lot of sports drills are reaction type of stuff, like a coach says something and then all the players will drop into a burpee real quick and then they come right back up into fast speed,” says Hines.

In the absence of an actual coach, just imagine someone is yelling at you (or wait for a family member to demand you lower the TV volume), and go from fast feet to burpee and back as quickly as you can.

The Skater

This one relates to a move that you see at the beginning of many football plays, where receivers will do a quick side-to-side motion to stop the defense figuring out which direction they’re going to run.

The Skater “is a lateral bound,” says Hines. “So if I’m standing, I’m going to jump laterally to the right and land on my right leg with my left leg going behind me and then back the other way. This can also just be a step as a modification to make it a little bit lighter.” As with fast feet to burpee, this exercise gives you a cardio workout and strengthens muscles.

Low Squat and Hold

Here’s one you can do whether you’re a player training for a game or a fan looking to make use of a commercial break. “If you think about when players are on the line, a low squat in general is very much like an athletic ready position,” notes Hines. Add a hold to get more out of it.

If you really want to make the most out of a TV ad break, “something that I coach is 20 seconds of air squats, 20 of hold squats, then 20 more of air squats,” Hines says. “That’s a minute of work.” That would still leave you time to hit the fridge for a refill, and a virtuous feeling as you do so.


“Planks are used in any sport for core work,” says Hines, but that’s not why we’re suggesting it. A plank is an exercise you can do during the actual game, as it allows you to still see the screen. If you’re feeling ambitious, try holding it for a whole series of downs.

Field Goal Hands

If you’d rather be a referee than a player, this one is for you. (And, like the plank, this can be done during play).

The exercise involves “standing with your elbows in tight to your body, then moving them up and out and raising your arms into a field goal position [meaning: arms coming straight out from your shoulders, elbows bent so hands point upwards] and back and forth just continuously,” says Hines.

“I did this once, and I was like, ‘No way this is going to do anything,’ but I was so sore the next day. If you do it for a long enough period of time and just kind of don’t take breaks, it’ll sneak up on you.” If you do this, your friends will think you’re just really into the game, but you’ll know you’re getting exercise. Sounds like a winner.

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About Michael Davis

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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

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