How to do Heisman exercises for cardio and agility

How to do Heisman exercises for championship-level cardio and agility

Even if you’re not a football fan, you have a lot to gain from the Heisman exercise.

Named for how it mimics the ball carrier over college football’s Heisman Trophy, this lateral jump develops strength, speed, agility and cardiovascular fitness.

“The Heisman is a full-body plyometric movement and a great conditioning exercise that raises the heart rate, increases metabolism and burns fat,” says Tony Carvajal, CSCS, a trainer in Miami.

Here’s how to do the Heisman exercise correctly.

The Heisman Exercise: Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, chest up and arms at your sides.
  • Spring from your left foot to your right, landing softly on your right foot and lifting your left knee above hip level as you pump your right arm forward.
  • Immediately spring to your left, reversing the motion of your arms and legs.
  • Continue in opposite directions, not letting both feet touch the floor at the same time.

Benefits of the Heisman Exercise

  • Strengthens legs, core, hips and glutes.
  • Increases heart and breathing rate to improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Hones reaction time and agility.
  • Improves your ability to generate energy.
  • No equipment and minimal space required.

More exercises like the Heisman

Whether you want to scale the Heisman up or down, here are some variations.

1. Double Heisman

  • Add a stutter step between each high knee of the Heisman exercise to shuffle from left to right.
  • Think: step, step, step, high knees. Step, step, step, high knees. Both feet will not be on the floor at the same time.

2. The Heisman Lunge

  • Holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, step your right leg into a reverse lunge and rotate your torso to the left.
  • Push through your left foot to stand and bring your right knee toward your chest as you rotate your torso toward your right knee.
  • Immediately drop to the next rep and repeat for the prescribed number of reps. Then switch sides, performing equal reps on both sides.

3. Ski jump

  • Jump from side to side with your feet together and your arms swinging at your sides (like you’re holding a ski pole).
  • Land with your knees slightly bent to minimize injury.

4. Skater Jump

  • Picture the Heisman exercise with only big jumps. Once you plant your jumping foot, cross your opposite heel behind it.
  • Then tap the floor near your planted foot with your opposite hand before immediately launching into the next rep.

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