5 fun exercises that will make your workout feel like a game

These fun exercises build cardio and strength. But most importantly, you can play with them and move around.

Credit: Flashpop / DigitalVision / GettyImages

There was a day, not so long ago, when you loved to move. It was your favorite way of playing. You ran, jumped, maybe you climbed bars of money or you were a rebel, scurrying up slides on your hands and knees.

Then finally – let’s guess – movement became “exercise”. And exercise became a chore.

So if you’re bored with your usual workout routine, or just having a difficult start, take a deep breath and know we’ve been there too.

And we also felt the joy when we enriched our workout routines with creative, entertaining exercises. Exercises where building muscle and palpitations are really about getting back to playing.

Get moving and start smiling with some of our most popular fun and creative exercises.

According to Kristen Lettenberger, DPT, CSCS, a New York-based physical therapist and personal trainer, this movement, a stand-still version of crabbing, helps build shoulder stability and strength in your core and buttocks.

How it goes

activity

Body weight training

body part

[
“Abs”,
“Shoulders”,
“Butt”
]

  1. Start with your hips, hands, and heels on the floor and your arms behind you. Support your core.
  2. Push through your hands and heels, squeezing your glutes to raise your hips until they’re parallel with the floor.
  3. Reach over your head and to the left with your right arm at the same time. Stop here for a moment.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement with your left arm.
  6. Alternately back and forth

Show instructions

top

Would you like to heat up your glutes even more? Place a small resistance band around your legs just above your knees. During the exercise, focus on maintaining tension on the ligament by keeping your knees hip-spaced.

Pull 2: dowel hand reaction

This fun exercise doubles as a brain game and lower body workout, says Noam Tamir, CSCS, owner and founder of TS Fitness. And if you don’t have a dowel on hand, you can use PVC pipe or a broomstick.

For this one, you might want to grab a partner. But if you train on your own, that’s cool too (more on that below).

How it goes

JW Player placeholder image

activity

Body weight training

body part

[
“Abs”,
“Legs”,
“Butt”
]

  1. Partner 1 and 2 face each other while partner 1 holds the dowel.
  2. Partner 2, always keep your left hand by your side and keep your right hand ready.
  3. Partner 1 aims the top of the dowel at the other person and tilts it to the right.
  4. Partner 2, grab the tip of the dowel with your right hand as quickly as possible.
  5. Once they tap the dowel, partner 2, point the lower part of the dowel at your partner and tilt them to the left.
  6. Partner 2, crouch in good shape to tap the dowel.
  7. Keep showing your partner different parts of the dowel, varying your pattern as much as possible.

Show instructions

No partner?

No problem. You can solo this move while a song is playing in the background. Stand facing a wall and grab four sticky notes. Place the stickies in a rectangle on the wall. Assign a different sticky note to different lines or words of the chorus and tap the appropriate note while the song is playing.

Switching to music is a surefire way to add a little fun to an otherwise standard workout. Lettenberger recommends combining the breakdancing kick with your favorite high-energy playlist.

The movement helps build explosive strength in your shoulders, trunk, and legs, she says. Try to switch from side to side as quickly as possible while keeping in good shape.

How it goes

JW Player placeholder image

activity

Body weight training

body part

[
“Abs”,
“Shoulders”,
“Legs”
]

  1. Sit in a low squat with your knees pointing outward and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor behind your body.
  3. Shifting your weight to your right hand and foot, straighten your left leg forward, and tap your heel down.
  4. At the same time, reach straight up towards the ceiling with your left arm.
  5. Return to the initial low squat and repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Alternately back and forth.

Show instructions

top

To make this movement more difficult, you can jump out with both feet at the same time and balance on your back hand.

Another partner move (see below for tips on how to do it on your own). This fun but challenging exercise trains your stability and coordination of the entire body. This exercise particularly focuses on your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps strength as these muscles work to balance your body, according to Tamir.

If you screw it up don’t worry, the point is to challenge your stability by standing on one leg while your other leg moves in different directions, he says.

How it goes

JW Player placeholder image

activity

Body weight training

body part

[
“Butt”,
“Legs”
]

  1. Partner 1 and 2 face each other while partner 1 holds the dowel.
  2. Partner 2, lift your right foot a few inches off the floor and balance on your left. Hold this position throughout the exercise.
  3. Partner 1 points the lower part of the dowel at the other person.
  4. Partner 2, tap the bottom of the dowel with your right foot.
  5. Partner 1, swap the position of the dowel so that the lower end points to the right of your partner.
  6. Partner 2, tap the dowel with the outside of your right foot.
  7. Take turns driving back and forth in different positions, varying the pattern as much as possible.

Show instructions

Try it out on your own

If you want to make this partner-less move, all you need is a song and a chair. Face the chair. Assign different lines or words in the chorus of the song to different parts of the chair (backrest, seat and legs). Then, while the song is playing, tap (or point) the chair appropriately with your foot.

The bear walk is definitely a way to feel like you’re screwing up. As one of Lettenberger’s most popular all-fun exercises, you can add the Bear Walk to a high-intensity interval circuit or do it as a standalone exercise to get your abs going.

This movement targets your core, but it also helps strengthen your shoulders, she says.

How it goes

JW Player placeholder image

activity

Body weight training

body part

[
“Abs”,
“Shoulders”
]

  1. Kneel on all fours, knees in line with your hips, palms in line with your shoulders.
  2. As you exhale, raise your knees an inch or two above the floor. Keep this hold throughout the exercise.
  3. Step forward with your left foot and keep your knee close to the floor.
  4. At the same time, move your right palm forward a few inches.
  5. Then repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Take several steps forward, then several steps back.

Show instructions

top

For an added challenge, turn this into a side exercise. Instead of stepping back and forth, step right and left and maintain the bear hold position.