If you want to offer a class that helps participants break out of a rut, leave the group fitness studio behind and head outside to a playing field. Scout out a local football, baseball or soccer field and transform it into a training ground. Use the existing field design and the premarked lines (hash marks, yard line markers and goal lines) to create an exciting and dynamic class. Combine speed, agility, power and body weight strength drills to tap into the inner athlete in everyone.

Be creative! The following drills are for a football field, but they can easily be adapted for any type of field if you use agility cones.

Playing the Field Details

Goal/Emphasis: cardio and strength conditioning
Equipment Needed: stopwatch/timer, whistle, cones (optional)
Total Time: 60 minutes
Music: not applicable
Additional Notes: In drills 1-8, length of work effort varies. Create your own drill sequences, alternating shorter and longer efforts. Repeat any drill (except 9) once or more throughout class. Build in rest periods between drills; use this time to set up next drill and to give instructions. Perform drill 9 only once, as class finale.

Warm-Up (5–7 minutes)

Using goal line as starting point, participants jog width of field, power-walk 10 yards down field (use yard line markers) and then jog width of field in other direction. They repeat jog/power-walk sequence down entire field.

Players return to opposite end of field using similar sequence: still jogging width of field but replacing power walk with 10-yard lateral shuffle.

Drill 1: The Mix-Up

Players stand on goal line facing opposite end of field. Activity changes every 10 yards until participants reach opposite end. (Before each change, name drill, and blow whistle to start sequence.) Players wait at yard line marker in squat position for next drill.

Sample Sequence

  • jog (goal line to 10-yard line)
  • high-knee run (10- to 20-yard line)
  • right-lead lateral shuffle (20- to 30-yard line)
  • left-lead lateral shuffle (30- to 40-yard line)
  • sprint (40- to 50-yard line)

Repeat to opposite end of the field.

Drill 2: Hash Mark Hustle-Up

Players form teams of four to five. Each team gets 10 hash marks, which are placed at 1-yard intervals to simulate agility ladder. Teams run agility-based drills using hash marks. Every time whistle blows, activity changes.

Sample Drills

  • high-knee tire run
  • quick triple-step moving forward
  • jumping jacks moving forward
  • alternating right- and left-side pedal

Drill 3: Walking the Zone

Participants line up in plank position at back of end zone, which is 10 yards deep. They perform plank walk with alternating push-ups until they reach goal line. From there, they jog back to start position and repeat.

Drill 4: The Big X

Participants run “X” pattern using length and width of field. They form single-file line at back right corner of end zone and run length of field diagonally to far corner of opposite end zone. Then they jog width of end zone and again run length of field diagonally. They finish by jogging width of end zone. Pattern forms large “X.”

Drill 5: The Fan Leap

Players perform series of plyometric drills in end zone. To simulate celebratory leap into stands, they run from goal line to back of end zone and then perform set of creative plyometric leaps and bounds (cued by you).

For four more drills plus cool-down ideas, please see “Sample Class: Playing the Field” in the online IDEA Library or in the October 2012 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.