Go Back to School with “Practice” Workouts


I was a cheerleader in college at Syracuse University, and never had to force myself to go to the gym, because we always had “practice” where I just had to show up for several hours with my best friends and do stunts (plyometric muscle builders), push-​​ups for when the team scored during games, and all the choreographed fight songs and routines (cardio).

After school I needed another fun and social forced workout like PRACTICE, so I became a group fitness instructor and later a trainer. Now I live in NYC, teach at gyms here and have a line of 7 fitness DVDs.

My latest theme of group workouts brings me back to college and sports. I do basketball, football, baseball and track drills! I even have a fitness playlist with fight-​​songs and game-​​day favorites to get you in the mood (get it at http://​www​.nikkifitness​.com/)

NikkiFitness Practice Workout (you will need an aerobic step with 2 risers on each side):

Basketball Toe Taps: Face the short side of the step. Start straddling a step-​​type bench or a basketball. Tap your right toe on the bench or ball and balance on your left foot. Next, hop the weight onto your right foot while putting it on the floor and taping the left toe onto the step or ball. Jog your arms while continuing to shift your weight and tapping your toe. Continue for 30 seconds. For the second 30 seconds, do one bounce (dribble) and one shoot with your arms.

Basketball Double Dribble: Face the long side of the step. Step with your right foot on the left corner of the step and hop up as you pretend to “shoot” a basketball, and kick your straight left leg behind you in a glute raise. As you come down to the floor and switch sides, “dribble” twice. Step your left foot on bench and shoot the ball as you kick your straight right leg up and behind you to complete one rep. Continue this drill for 60 seconds.

Football Tire Runs: Level 1– Stand on top of a short bench or aerobic step, facing one of the short ends. Step down with the right foot, and then the left, to straddle the step. Without pausing, step back up with the right then left foot. Jog faster in a right, left, right, left pattern with high knees as if jogging through tires. Repeat for 30 seconds. Level 2– From here straddle with the right foot down then the left and hop both of them on top together. Perform that for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side at level one for 30 seconds and then on level two on the left for 30 seconds.

The Heisman: Jog twice to the right and then pause in a crouch with your left knee up and Heisman pose your hands. Then jog to the left two quick times and hold the Heisman pose with the right knee up to a count of (right) one, and two (pause), then travel left for counts three and four (pause).

Goal Posts: Stand facing an aerobic step bench. Jump onto it with your feet and knees pointing out to the sides in a plie squat and arms in a goal post/​biceps flexing position, elbows bent at 90 degrees and out to the side at shoulder level, fists clenched and hands at head level. Step down right then left, and then jump again with both feet landing at the same time. Step down left then right to complete the set. Perform this straddle hop with goal post arms for 60 seconds.

Baseball Pitcher: Stand with your left side body facing forward. Throw the “ball” with your right arm, winding up with your left leg. As you let the “ball” go and follow through, bring your right leg forward and down your body to face the left side of the room and land in a deep squat with your right leg in front. Stand and wind up with your left arm and right leg and land forward with your left leg coming forward into a squat as you release the “ball” with your left hand. Continue “throwing” with opposite arms until you walk/​squat forward 4 times. Run back “home” to start again. Do the drill for 60 seconds.

Fitness — fit it your practice this sports season.

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