How to Turn Hopscotch Into a Tough and Fun Outdoor Workout

Transform this playground game into a sports-performance workout with guidance from STACK Expert Jim Carpentier.

Hopscotch is a generations-old game in which children toss pebbles and hop on numbered squares on playgrounds all over the world.

This article describes how you can transform this common childhood game into two challenging and diverse full-body workouts incorporating bodyweight, free weight, and med ball exercises performed on the numbered squares. Athletic skills are maximally tested—resulting in greater size, strength, lower-body power, endurance and flexibility for optimum sports performance!

The goal: Complete each exercise using the numbers on every square from 1 to 10.

Guidelines

If there are no numbered squares available on nearby playgrounds, make your own by cutting and numbering cardboard or paper squares and placing them in a hopscotch pattern outdoors on grass, turf or pavement or indoors at home. Or get chalk and shape the squares from 1 to 10 on pavement.

  • When you perform the exercises on a playground, your feet will be directly on the numbered squares. If you perform the movements using numbered cardboard or paper squares indoors or outdoors, do them with your feet situated alongside, not atop, the squares for safety (to prevent the squares from sliding).
  • Do a dynamic upper- and lower-body warm-up (e.g., Arm Circles and Lunges). Finish with upper- and lower-body cooldown static stretches for enhanced range of motion and flexibility.
  • Reps are done according to the number on each square for each exercise.
  • Sets: 1 (only one set is needed due to the demanding number of reps for each exercise).
  • Rest: 60 seconds between exercises.

Equipment

  • 10 cardboard or paper squares numbered 1 to 10 (unless workouts are performed on a playground hopscotch pattern).
  • Chalk (if making the squares on pavement).
  • Water bottle.
  • Timer (optional).
  • Moderately-heavy med ball (70-80% RM).
  • Two moderately-heavy dumbbells (70-80% RM).

Workout 1 (Bodyweight Exercises)

Push-Ups

  • Assume a push-up position with your hands inside square 1 (or adjacent to the square if using cardboard/paper squares) and do one rep.
  • Continue to square 2 for two reps, square 3 for three reps, etc.— attempting non-stop Push-Ups all the way to square 10—if you're still able to do 10 Push-Ups!

RELATED: 6 Ways to Improve Your Push-Up Strength

Jump Squats

  • Assume an athletic stance with your hands extended overhead, jump as high as possible and land with both feet in each square, performing the number of Jump Squats per each numbered square from 1 to 10.

This is an intense lower-body explosive power-building movement that also tests endurance when you attempt to complete the requisite number of Jump Squats for all 10 numbered squares!

Inchworms

A wonderful flexibility-enhancing exercise that simultaneously strengthens upper- and lower-body and core muscles.

  • Assume a push-up position behind square 1.
  • Perform Inchworms (bringing your feet to your hands and returning to start position) the length of the hopscotch outline up to square 10.
  • Without rest, do reverse Inchworms (bringing your hands to your feet and back to start position) as you backtrack down to square 1.

Single-Leg Hops

  • Start with your left foot airborne and hop with your right foot onto square 1; hold for one second.
  • Hop next onto square 2 for two seconds, then to square 3 for three seconds, etc., until you reach square 10 for 10 seconds.
  • Immediately turn around, switch feet (right foot now airborne/left foot holding) for 10 seconds on square 10.
  • Hop with your left foot onto square 9 for nine seconds, etc., hopping on to each square and holding for the number of seconds indicated on each square back down to square 1.

Promotes balance and core stability—key sports performance-enhancing facets.

RELATED: 4 Quick Fixes to Improve Single-Leg Exercise Form

Workout 2 (Free Weight/Med Ball Exercises)

Upright Rows

  • Hold the dumbbells at waist level starting at square 1 and bring them up to chest level for one rep.
  • Go to square 2 and do two reps, then three reps on square #3, etc.
  • Stop after doing five reps on square 5.
  • Hydrate and rest 30 seconds to give your shoulders and arms a breather and save your energy as you resume for six reps on square 6, then doing seven, eight, nine and 10 reps on the remaining successive squares.

Squats

  • Hold the dumbbells with a shoulder-level underhand grip on square 1 and do one Squat, then two, three, four and five reps on the successive squares.
  • Rest 30 seconds on square 5.
  • Continue with six, seven, eight, nine and 10 reps on the remaining squares.

Med Ball Slams

  • Assume an athletic stance on square 1 with the ball held overhead and slam it on the square for one rep.
  • Move to square 2 , do two reps and continue non-stop to square 5. Do the five reps and rest only 15 seconds.
  • Continue doing the numbered reps on each square up to square 10.

Builds upper body explosiveness.

RELATED: Med Ball Slams: The Surprising Benefits of This Ancient Exercise

Med Ball Jogging In Place

  • Hold the med ball overhead and jog in place for 15 seconds on each square until you reach square 10.

An upper- and lower-body endurance exercise.


Topics: SQUAT | LOWER BODY | PUSH-UP | UPPER BODY | BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES | MED BALL | ROW