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Health

Try this exercise: The ladder drill

Sick of the sweaty, fluorescent-lit, loud-music gym scene? Don't want to cough up dough for memberships you'll never be able to cancel short of divine intervention? Try getting fit at the park. Or the beach.

We asked personal trainer Mike Donavanik (www.mikedfitness.com) to show us simple outdoor moves that deliver. Here Donavanik — clients include actors Sara Underwood and Jayson Blair — demonstrates a ladder drill, part of regular training for baseball and football players. All you need is grass or a hard surface plus some duct tape or chalk.

Why you should try it: You'll develop speed, agility, balance, coordination and core strength. Leg, glute and core muscles stand to benefit most.

What to do: Create a six-square ladder from duct tape, electrical tape or chalk on a firm surface such as a sidewalk or lawn (each square should be about 1 foot square).

Start with feet just outside the first square. Hop (as if playing hopscotch) outside the ladder, facing forward, then bring both feet into square No. 1.

Hop again, bringing legs to straddle the ladder. Hop back into the next square, this time twisting the lower body to the left while keeping the torso facing front.

Hop outside the ladder and hop back into the next square, doing the mirror of what you did last time: twisting the lower body to the right while keeping the torso facing front.

Repeat the moves to the end of the ladder, then turn around and repeat. Do the drill continuously — no breaks between hops.

How much to do it: Start by going back and forth across the ladder four times. Increase as your fitness level grows.

jeannine.stein@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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