Moves that require major agility don’t just look badass; they also crush tons of calories. And since they usually call for quick changes in direction, they can help you be faster on your feet and improve your proprioception, or your ability to know where your body is in space without having to look. (A skill that comes in handy if, for example, you’re descending a flight of stairs with an armful of dirty laundry and you can’t see your feet.)
(Looking to gain muscle and a sexy, toned body? In her book, Lift to Get Lean, Holly Perkins, certified strength and conditioning specialist, explains how you can score a slim figure in four weeks.)
Speedy physical movements also require your brain to send signals to your muscles at warp speed, which improves your reaction time—oh, and workouts that focus on agility keep your ninja body hot by working your all of your muscles.
The workout: Do the recommended number of reps for all seven moves below, in order. Depending on your fitness level, complete two to four rounds of the workout, resting for one minute between each round.
Check out the whole ninja-worthy workout in the pinable image below, then keep scrolling to see instructions for each move.
EXERCISE 1 MEDICINE BALL TAPS
Place a medicine ball on the ground in front of you (A). Begin with your right foot on top of the ball, keeping your weight in your left foot (B). Quickly switch feet so that your left foot is on the ball. That’s one rep. Continue alternating feet while lightly tapping your toes on the ball. Do 30 reps.
EXERCISE 2 PLYO PLANK
Begin in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, keeping your core braced (A). Push off the floor with your feet to hop your knees up toward your right elbow (B). Keep your feet together, and immediately hop back to the starting position. Then, hop your feet toward your left elbow and back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps.
EXERCISE 3 SQUAT AND POP
Straddle a narrow box or standard step riser, and lower into a partial squat by pushing your hips back (A). Using your arms for assistance and power, quickly jump onto the box and bring your feet together (B). Jump back down to straddle the box, landing softly on your feet. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps.
EXERCISE 4 SINGLE LEG BURPEE
Begin standing on your right foot with your left foot off the floor (A). Use the strength of your right leg to lower down, and place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders (B). Keeping your left foot off the floor, use your right leg to jump back to a single-leg plank position (C). Pause, then jump your right foot toward your hands to return to the single-leg squat. Stand up to return to the starting position. Complete the same sequence, starting on your left foot with your right leg off the ground. That’s one rep. Do five reps.
XERCISE 5 QUARTER TURN SQUAT JUMP
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and lower your hips into a squat while reaching your fingertips toward the floor out side of your feet (A). Use your arms and legs to jump up and turn 90 degrees to your left (B). Land softly with your knees bent and return to standing. That’s one rep. Repeat the same movement, this time turning 90 degrees to your right. Do 12 reps.
XERCISE 6 SCISSOR SWITCHES
Stand in front of a standard exercise step with your left toe on the step and your right arm forward in preparation (A). Press into the box with your left leg, and jump upward to switch feet, landing with your right foot on the step (B). That’s one rep. Do 30 reps.
EXERCISE 7 DONKEY KICK
Begin at the top of a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet together (A). Squeeze your butt, and keep your knees soft. Bend your knees to prepare, then powerfully hop both feet into the air as if trying to kick yourself in the booty (B). Keep your arms straight without locking your elbows. Land softly with your legs extended and knees bent slightly. That’s one rep. Immediately kick your feet toward your butt again. Do 15 reps.
Holly Perkins is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, founder of Women’s Strength Nation, and author of Lift to Get Lean.