Frisbee isn’t just something you can pick up and play with your dog on a leisurely Saturday afternoon. Known affectionately to spectators and veterans as Ultimate Frisbee or just “Ultimate,” it’s a demanding sport that requires competitors to be strong enough to cover large swaths of the field and press towards the opposing end zone.
To that end, Ultimate Frisbee coaches like Tom Morrill have designed weight training programs to make their athletes more explosive at the point of attack.
“It’s strength before power,” Morrill explained to UltiWorld.com. “Strength is the precursor to power. We’ve got to build that base, build the capacity to produce force, and then we’ve got to do it in a short amount of time and that’s power.”
Here are some exercises that can help you step up your game:
- Kettlebell Swings
There are few exercises that can build the quick-twitch muscles of your body and shed that bothersome gut better than the kettlebell swing. When done properly, this low-impact move torches fat, strengthens the entire rear of your body and your core, and improves your athletic performance.
Start out by maintaining a neutral spine, bending your legs just a little bit and keeping them slightly over shoulder-width apart as if you’re going into a squat. Looks may be deceiving; the movement itself is actually less of a squat, and more of an explosive hip-hinge that develops the power necessary for sports like Ultimate Frisbee.
Position the bell under you, deadlifting it an inch or two off the ground, then swing it in front of you using only your core and legs — making sure to squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs at the top of the movement — until it reaches the level of your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat for sets of 15-30 repetitions.
- Agility Ladder Drills
Regardless of whether you’re looking to score a touchdown or land that retaliatory knockout punch, the agility ladder can improve your footwork, timing, and coordination. Ladder drills teach Ultimate Frisbee players how to run from side to side more effectively and move quickly within the confines of a phone booth, making it easier for them to get open for the winning catch.
We recommend that you mix it up with different drills every five repetitions so you can react more effectively to different situations on the field. These drills may look easy from a bird’s eye view, but it’s important to keep your head and arms up to maintain good form and ensure your entire body stays in sync.
- High-Intensity Rows
It’s important for Ultimate Frisbee athletes to remain in tip-top shape for the duration of the entire match.
Though it’s easy to associate rowing with slow, plodding cardiovascular exercise, it’s not that hard to get a high-intensity workout from a low-impact machine — and you only need a few minutes to become a better all-around athlete.
Men’s Fitness recommends using the rowing machine for short, intense bursts and throwing some resistance training into the mix. They have come up with a list of circuits designed to get you the body you need, and one of them involves a brutal pyramid that has you start off by rowing for 1,000 meters and performing 20 hand-release push-ups in between sets.
Do ten more push-ups and subtract 250 meters for each set you perform, and your endurance will shoot through the roof.
- Shuttle Runs
Shuttle runs develop the top-end speed and acceleration that Ultimate Frisbee players and other athletes need to get downfield in a hurry. Snappy high-intensity interval exercises like these trump aerobic exercise when it comes to fat loss, fitness, and heart health, too.
Set up by positioning two cones at least ten yards apart in a straight line. This is a four count exercise that requires you to sprint between them and touch the opposite cone with your hand before sprinting back. Do it again one more time to complete the set, and complete at least five of them to leave your legs and abs begging for mercy.
- Barbell Squats
It’s not that uncommon for Ultimate Frisbee players to make insane leaping grabs on the field. Heavy barbell squats develop the comprehensive strength that athletes need to jump longer, higher, and faster. Vernon Davis was one of the deadliest and most athletic receivers in the NFL, and his 685-pound squat undoubtedly aided his blazing speed and 40-inch vertical leap.
Start by positioning your feet hip-width apart and maintaining a neutral spine throughout your entire body. Get under the bar and position it onto the spine of your scapula.
To get into the starting position, unrack the bar by straightening your legs, then step back to clear the rack. Start the movement by tightening your abs and squatting down, imagining as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Now return to the starting position in one explosive motion by tightening your glutes and squatting back up.
Perform at least five sets of five heavy repetitions and add at least five pounds to the bar each time you visit the gym to keep getting stronger.