get-me-outside plyos workout

In an attempt to shake things up, Zain and I went outside recently to put together a new workout.  I’m pretty good and getting caught up in workout ruts, so having the chance to put together something new was a blast! I felt like Jillian Michaels, Jr.

We wanted to do something short and intense instead of the typical slow, steady sweat session that I sometimes get caught up in. Zain grew up in Texas and played football in high school so needless to say we had a whole arsenal of plyos workouts to choose from. I also have experience with plyos from back in the day when I played varsity basketball and our team would join the football players for their outdoor plyos workouts. I remember being on the football field running ladders and sprints and some of the guys would end up throwing up. Wimps! But it shows you how tough plyos can be.

What are plyos, you ask?

In short, plyos are a type of high-intensity training that taps into energy stored in muscles to encourage muscle development, agility, cardio functioning, stamina, and speed. The exercises require tons of energy in order to perform them, so they torch calories in a short amount of time.

In other words, poor man’s Crossfit.

I love plyos because they really break up the monotony of “hey should I run or go on the elliptical today?” Plus they are perfect for when it’s nice and sunny out and you want people to look at you and your boyfriend skipping in the park wondering what the heck you’re doing.

ImageFeel free to Google any of these exercises, but I think for the most part if you’ve done any team sports in the past you’ll recognize most of the warm ups. Warm up is a pretty lax word here – these exercises are half the workout! Dynamic stretching is great because it allows your body to stretch and move at the same time – it’s one of the key components to true athleticism, because it propels the muscle into an extended range of motion. Feel free to do any types of dynamic movement you want – jump squats, jumping jacks, just something to get your heart rate up and get your body moving.

For the 4 cone drill, we just grabbed 4 objects from the apartment and set them up in a square about 20-30 feet from each other. We then used that square for a bunch of exercises!

  • 4 cone drill: stand in the middle of the four corners and have your partner point to random corners that you have to run to. Return to the center after touching each corner. Make ’em sweat by telling them the same corner sometimes! Your body won’t be expecting to spring back and forth but the toughness will pay off.
  • 20 yard shuttle run: start in the middle between two “cones” set up about 20 yards between them. Remember the shuttle run from your Presidential fitness test? Recreate the fun! (I say that with total sarcasm because this is my least favorite)
  • 4 corner shuffle: Start in the bottom right corner of a four cone square. Sprint forward to the top right cone. Continue by side shuffling to the top left cone and then back peddling to the back left cone. Shuffle from the back left cone to the back right cone and repeat three times through.

Hopefully those descriptions are easy to visualize – it was a blast and we ended it with a run along the lake. If you’re more of a picture-person here are some awkward photos of me doing the cone drills. Look at our “cones” aren’t we professional?



Now that spring is pretty much here, try this workout outside! It’s the perfect excuse to get moving and get people to look at you like you’re a crazy person, especially when you’re bounding.




  1. haha glad you had fun with this workout! i am a huge plyo fan. my trainer runs our sessions like little boot camps and we do a lot of this sort of stuff…always a great workout. but better outdoors, as you’re demonstrating! 🙂

  2. I just found your blog – yay! I love your pics – I’ve only really been to Chicago once but I loved running there and I found it to be a great city in general!

  3. That looks so refreshing when I think about this winter and the treadmill haha I can’t wait to give it a try!

  4. I am a big fan of ploymetrics and incorporate them into a lot of workouts! The 4 cone drill is one of my favorites – I will add in burpees, pushups, high knees, and shuffles to mix it up every once in a while 😀

      1. Haha, I do too. And in all actuality, I’m usually the one telling people to do them, not doing them myself. Easier said than done – especially when it comes to those!

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