Playground Fitness: 6 Cross-Training Games

Three Fly's Up

Three Fly's Up requires at least one ball and two teams (the number of people per team is up to you). The teams stand on either side of the field, and the person(s) with the ball kick it as high as they can towards the other team. The goal is to catch the ball three times. The first person with three catches wins.

The more balls in the air, the more active and chaotic the game becomes. Kicking, sprinting short distances, catching, tackling, and shouting the whole time uses your muscles in different ways.


It only takes two people to play tetherball, unlike the previous two games. Tetherball uses hand-eye coordination, fast-twitch reactions and core strength to show you're the King or Queen of the circle.

From ducking to dodging, to twisting and jumping, your obliques, thighs and lower back will be on fire because of all the agility work you'll be doing. Reaching for high or low shots and blocks will have those shoulders burning in no time.

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Sharks and Minnows

There are two variations. The first one is the original game, which is played in a pool. Everyone, the minnows, line up on the walls. The shark stalks the center of the deep end. The minnows must get from one wall to the other without being tagged on the head, above water, by the shark.

The land-based variant involves a court or field of some type with the same set up. Everyone lines up on either side of the court or field, except for the person who will be "the shark". That person stays in the middle of the court or field. Everyone runs from side A to side B without being tagged. Once the shark tags someone, then they swap positions.

Fun modifications:

  • Zombie Sharks and Minnows: Everyone runs like zombies.
  • Robot Sharks and Minnows: Everyone runs like they are robots.
  • Skipping Sharks and Minnows: Everyone skips instead of running
  • Dancing Sharks and Minnows: Everyone dances instead of running.
  • Crab Walking Sharks and Minnows: Everyone crab walks in place of running.
  • Backwards Sharks and Minnows: Everyone has to run backwards.

With different modes and levels of movement, different muscle groups are engaged.

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Lava Monkey Bars

You have monkey bars. The ground is lava. The idea is to steer clear of the lava...or else you'll "burn in the lava". The challenge is to see who can complete the most back and forth treks before falling to their doom. You'll definitely use your core and upper-body strength as you try to avoid the hot ground.

Playground Madness

Who needs a Warrior Dash obstacle course when you have two slides, a fireman's pole, a pull-up bar, stairs, a captain's wheel, a spinning tic-tac-toe board and monkey bars all in one place? Come up with the most complicated obstacle course possible, which of course must include going up at least one of the slides, preferably the one that's a closed, twisting tube.

Playground structures allow you to create various obstacles, which utilize different muscles groups that you may not use during your normal exercise routine.

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