Early each Saturday, the Scouts and dads in Troop 111 of Charlottesville, Virginia, work on getting stronger and fitter. And their weekly workouts as a group make staying fit fun.
Each session starts with the group forming a circle, and then one person choosing an exercise. After the first set, a Scout or dad to his left picks the next exercise, and so on. Life Scout Connor McGuiggan says anyone can take a rest any time: “We’re a team; we support each other.”
The Scouts say the weekly workouts have helped them do better in hikes and sports.
Here are some of their exercises for you and your pals to try:
Lie on your back facing up. Place your palms beneath your rear end. Straighten your legs and lift your feet about 6 inches above the ground. This is the starting position. Keeping your legs straight and feet elevated, spread your legs and then bring your feet back together. This is one rep. Without lowering your legs, repeat for eight to 10 reps.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, swing your arms down and behind you, and then drive your feet into the ground, straighten your legs, and swing your arms forward and over your head as you explosively jump as high as you can. Land on your feet and absorb the impact by bending your legs and preparing for the next explosive jump. Do 10 rapidly.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your right knee is bent 90 degrees. Make sure your front shin is vertical. Don’t allow your front knee to move forward of your ankle. Pause, then lift up and bring your back foot forward so you walk a step. This is one rep. Do 10. Alternate the leg you step forward with each time.
Get down on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees positioned under your hips. Lift up onto your hands and toes — keeping your knees off the ground — and travel forward, with your left leg and right hand moving simultaneously forward. The key is to move slowly and keep your back as straight as a tabletop. Travel 30 feet forward and then 30 feet backward.
Elevating your feet during a pushup puts more weight on your chest and arms. Assume a pushup position with your arms straight and shoulders directly above your hands. Place your toes on a step or a picnic table bench. Keeping your body straight from heels to head and your core tight, perform 10 pushups. Not quite ready to elevate your feet? Keep them on the ground for an easier adaptation.
Lie on your back facing up. Make fists and place them under your rear end to elevate your hips. Lift your straight legs about 5 inches above the ground. Quickly lift one leg about 6 inches and lower it as you lift the other leg. Quickly alternate this up-and-down movement as if kicking your legs while swimming. Count four kicks per rep — 1-2-3-1, 1-2-3-2, 1-2-3-3 and so on — doing 10 reps. Keep your neck in line with your spine during the exercise.
TAKE THE TROOP 111 CHALLENGE
Group exercise boosts motivation, creates a feeling of community and keeps members from straying from goals. And it’s an awesome opportunity to knock off requirements for the Personal Fitness merit badge and other awards. Here’s how to start:
- Set a regular meeting time for a workout.
- Ease into the routine with a short circuit of bodyweight calisthenics, bike ride or troop swim.
- Each week or month, have a different troop member plan and lead the workouts. Make sure every member can complete the workout. Leave no buddy behind.
- Mix up the exercises, such as circuits using loaded backpacks or water jugs for resistance; cross country runs or obstacle courses; relay races; or active games like volleyball, soccer, softball, basketball or street hockey.
The idea is to make fitness fun and let friendly competition motivate you until a workout no longer feels like work.