Best Blog Design

Shape up: old school exercises that work

You’re it! Is getting wedding fit proving harder than you thought? Try a few fun ways to
shift that pre-wedding weight and see how you get on….

How are you getting on with ‘operation wedding body?’ I have to admit that with my own W-day looming, unless I get myself motivated PDQ, my figure-hugging gown is gonna be feeling a little more snug than I’d like. I was sitting (!) in the park today with my son’s preschool teacher who was reeling off a list of all the games she’d been playing with the kids that morning. Old school faves like hopscotch, tug of war and hula hoop. She’d had fun and got fit at the same time. (This is a woman happy to wear shorts by the way….) I sprinted home (that’s an over statement) to ask Stuart Wall from David Lloyd’s Personal Training Academy whether playing around like a 5 year old would better help me up my bridal-body ante. He came up with this pulled- out-of-the-playground exercise plan…..


Tug of War

What it does: burns calories and works the muscles in your arms,legs and back

How to do it: Start in a standing position with your legs slightly bent and feet hip width apart. With a few metre gap between you and your MOH, take the tension of the rope using your arms to pull. Once you have even tension, bend your knees into a squat position, tighten your core muscles, pull and walk backwards pushing with your legs until you or she steps over the middle point (or falls down!) Aim to keep it going for between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You may want to wear weight gloves to prevent rope burn (imagine explaining that to your fiance.)

Piggy back

What it does: targets the legs, glutes and core

How to do it: Choose a partner of similar build (unless you want to make it harder) and get them to climb onto your back whilst you’re still standing with slightly bent knees. Once they’re on, set yourself two points (cones, lamp-posts or trees for instance) then either run or walk from one point to the next. Once you’re there, turn around and return to the start point or switch with your partner. If you want to make it more challenging, incorporate 5-15 squats to really work your legs and burn more calories when you reach each point. Ensure you keep your hips tilted back slightly (as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair) and your pelvic floor muscles on major squeeze with your back straight, head up and looking forward and chest pushed out. It’s gonna be a giggle!


What it does: tones your legs, particularly your thighs and calves

How to do it: Start by drawing some squares on the ground with chalk (or follow the slabs of your patio.) Throw a stone then hop towards it before jumping 180 degrees and hopping back to the start line. It’s not a race so go at a controlled pace, unless you want to turn it into a more calorie-burning cardio workout, in which case you can speed up. Just make sure to land after every hop in a one-legged squat with a slightly bent knee. Keep going for 3-5 minutes.

Double dutch

What it does: works the upper body (arms, shoulders and core for the person swinging the rope) and legs (particularly calves for the jumper)

How to do it: This exercise is known as the all-rounder because it works your whole body, plus is an excellent cardio workout if you can keep going for a long time. Start in the middle of the rope, with a bridesmaid at either end swinging it around as you jump for as long as possible. Aim for 1-3 minutes and if that seems a cinch, make it more complicated by introducing a second rope and speed up the swing. Be sure to land on the ball of your foot each time with your knees slightly bent.

Hula Hoop

What it does: tones your hips and waistline

How to do it:Think Shakira Shakira as you swivel your hips and waist aiming to keep the hoop up for as long as possible. Your circular swivelling will work all the muscles in your tummy whilst the thrusting phase will hit your glutes. Don’t worry if you can’t keep it up for long at first – with practise it’ll get easier. Aim for 30 seconds to begin with, building up to two minutes. If you want to make it more challenging, use a weighted hoop.

Stuart suggests finding a friend or coaxing your MOH into doing circuits with you 3-4 times a week. Work on an exercise for the recommended time then switch to the next one after a few seconds rest. Three full circuits should give you both a great workout. And I bet you’ll have tons more fun than pounding that treadmill for thirty minutes too. I’d love to hear what you think – and any other suggestions for old-skool exercises to try. (I’m tempted to borrow a space hopper from a small child.) Obviously if you’ve got any hilare stories about getting stuck on someone’s piggy (back) or falling into something smelly after losing tug of war, send ‘em my way!

All games suggested by Stuart Wall from David Lloyd Leisure’s Personal Training Academy Global Advanced Certified.


  • I have a strict workout regime. Lift brew. Put brew down. haha x

    6 years ago : Maddy Court
  • Thanks for these tips. I talked my man and a group of friends into a tug of war competition at the weekend. It was great fun (tho we were all on the kiwi cider also… Hic!)

    6 years ago : Jess brownlow
    • well it sounds like it was thirsty work! x

      6 years ago : Sarah Green
  • I can vouch for hula hoops – but make sure you use a weighted one. I was hopeless using my daughters my hips need help

    6 years ago : b2bmandie
    • Good point Mandie – plus a weighted one will make your workout more intensive x

      6 years ago : Sarah Green
  • Does it count if I’m always the piggy??????

    6 years ago : Dawn