Hell Drills

This is a list of calisthenics and what not borrowed from sport fencing and other sources to build up your body’s capacity to execute actions smoothly, efficiently, and quickly.

These aren’t a race to get to the “finish” line, and you rob yourself of improvement by trying to get the exercise over with ASAP, so adjust your forward motion with each exercise accordingly.  Do not sacrifice form for speed.

These are a great time to practice good breathing. Whenever you are contracting the target muscle(s), you should forcibly exhale, then inhale as you relax.



Setup: Two masks some distance apart from each other (call it 10 lunge/redoubles apart).  Do one of the exercises below out, then jog back (except where instructed otherwise). Pick and choose, mix it up.

Always start with Peter Pans. Self-consciousness gets in the way of improvement. Kill it early.

Peter Pans: Skip as high as you can, bringing your knees up to chest level as you do so.  Explode off the ground off one leg while explosively contracting the other knee to your chest.

Think of it as trying to get your (contracted) knee as high above the ground as you can. One leg gives altitude by skipping, and the other gives altitude by contracting.

Throw your arms out to the side like you’re flying. Just because.


High Knees: Extend your hands straight out like Frankenstein’s monster.  Walk forward bringing your knees up to your hands with each step.  Explosively contract your quads and abs to pull your knee to your chest.


Butt-kicks: Jog forward bringing your foot to your buttocks with each step.  Explosively contract the calf, glutes, and hamstring to bring your heel to your buttock.


Zig-Zag Skips: Skip, zig-zagging.


45-degree Leaping Step: Leap to your right, bring your feet together.  Leap to your left, bring your feet together. Zig-zag up the field. Exploding off your legs is the objective.


Bunny Jumps: Quad-powered jumps.  Bend your knees to 90 degrees and explode upward and slightly forward


Zig-Zag Bunny Jumps: Bunny jumps, but jumping to the side and forward (keep facing straight ahead)


Pogos: Ankle-powered jumps.  Keep your legs straight and drive from your calves. Don’t land on your heels – land on the ball of your foot and “break” your descent appropriately. Go for height, not distance.


Zig-Zag Pogos: It’s like skiing moguls! Pogo jump in a zig-zag pattern.


One legged hop: Hop out on your right foot, return hopping on your left foot.


Crouched Advances/retreats: En garde, then drop your center of gravity down until your knees are at ninety degrees.  Advance out, retreat back.


Forward Lunges: Exercise lunge, not fencing lunge.  You can find video on Youtube of the right way to do these.  Do them the right way.  Backward Lunges back.


Crabwalk Forward and Backward: On your hands and feet, but with your back towards the ground.  Optional: one-armed and/or one-legged


Monkeywalk Forward and Backward: On your hands and feet, facing towards the ground.  Optional: one-armed and/or one-legged


Tassin Dance: Start in a wide stance, facing perpendicular to the line of movement.  Pivot 180 degrees clockwise on your lead foot, then pivot 180 degrees clockwise again, and so on.  The track of your feet would end up looking like a scalloped edge.  Go counter-clockwise on your return.  Do it again out, alternating clockwise and counter-clockwise. Maintain balance.


Hammer Dance: Feet turned 180 degrees outward, shoulder width apart, butt-in,   Small, quick steps to one side out, to the other side back.


Lunge-redoubles: Fencing lunge, then redouble the lunge, then redouble the lunge, then… you get the idea.


Grapevine: Step to the right at a slight forward angle, cross your left foot behind your right foot, step your right foot out to the right again, and bring your left foot over to close it up.  Then do the same thing going to the left (except left foot in front, right foot stepping behind).  Jazz hands are recommended, but not required. Forward distance should be minimal.


Goose Steps: Yay fascism!  Try to get your feet above your hips.  Stretch your hips and hamstrings, pulling with your abs.
Baseballer: Start with your feet together and your left hand extended straight out.  Step forward with your right foot.  Rotating only at your right hip, touch your left fingers to your right toes (your left leg should be straight out behind you).  Step forward with your left foot, switching hands, and touch your right foot to your left toe.  And so on.

Posted September 25, 2016 by Wistric