Sample Games to Develop
Strength, Energy, & Endurance

1. COMMERCIAL EXERCISES - An amazing amount of physical conditioning can be accomplished by the simple habit of exercising during commercial breaks when watching television.  Spaced repetition of particular exercises is an effective way of reaching your physical goals with little trouble.  The commercial reminds you it is exercise time and the resuming show signals when to stop exercising and relax awhile.  Consult an exercise book for the exact exercises that would do you the most good, but a few possibilities are listed below. 


Lie flat on your back.  Holding a fairly heavy weight in each hand, start out with arms stretched out to each side.  Lift the weights several inches from the floor, hold for several seconds, then lower weights to the floor again.  Repeat several times. 

Standing position.  Contract (tighten) shoulder and chest muscles as you pull down on a door frame or cabinet.  Hold tension several seconds, release, and hold tension again.  Repeat several times.

If you have a chinning bar available, do chin-ups.


Lie face down with hands behind your head.  Try to raise elbows and upper part of your body off the floor several inches.  Lower and repeat.

Lie face down with arms at side.  Try to raise legs off the floor while keeping knees straight.  Hold for several seconds and then lower.  Repeat.

Sit on a chair.  Lean forward so front, lower legs of the chair can be gripped by your hands.  Try to straighten up while continuing to keep a firm grip on the chair legs.  Hold tension for several seconds and release.  Repeat.


Push-ups.  Lie flat on floor face down.  Hands parallel to shoulders.  Push up so entire body other than hands and toes are not touching the floor and arms are straight.  Lower to floor and then up again.  If you are not ready for this exercise, make it easier by doing your push-ups with knees touching the floor.

Clasp hands in front of body so one hand can push down while the other hand pushes up.  Hold this counter pressure for several seconds, release, and do again.

Clasp hands together in front of you and try to pull your hands apart while keeping your grasp firm.


Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent and your feet under a couch, dresser, or other heavy object.  A partner could hold your legs down.  With your arms folded across your chest, try to raise your back and upper body several inches off the floor.  Keep this position to the count of five and then slowly let yourself down.

Stand up.  Breathe in while pushing abdomen out.  Then quickly contract and hold tight abdominal muscles while exhaling slowly.

Lie on back with legs straight and flat on the floor.  Slowly raise both feet 12 to 36 inches off the floor while keeping legs straight, then slowly lower them again.


Jog in step lifting feet from 4 to 8 inches off the floor.

Stand on tiptoes with arms held out in front while counting to ten, then down on heels to count of ten, then up on tiptoes to count of ten, etc.

Put your hands on your hips.  Keep your back straight.  Now bend your knees and assume a squat position, then up again to an erect position.  Do you feel your muscles grow?  Don't lose your balance.  Sometimes do this with your arms extended, sometimes with your hands behind your neck, and sometimes with your arms folded, but at all times keep your arms securely attached to your body.


2.  DEEP-KNEE-BEND PULL OVER - Two players assume deep-knee-bend position on opposite sides of a line.  At signal, they each try to pull the other one over the line.  Player doing so wins the pull.  The game winner could be first to win three pulls.


3.  DUCK RACES - Players hold hands with their hands and race toward goal line.


4.  CAREFUL THREE-LEGGED-RACES - Racing partners stand side by side.  The left leg of the one player is sort of secured to the right leg of the other player.  Sort of, that is, because such flimsy means as making tape or very light string is used.  This means the racing partners will have to be very careful during the race.  The winning team is the one that crosses the finish line first with their legs still insecurely tied together.


5.  KANGAROO JUMP-RACES - Each player places a piece of cardboard between his feet, and without touching it again with his hands, tries to keep it in place by keeping his feet pressed together.  At the starting signal, players start jumping (kangaroo fashion or whatever other means they ingeniously develop) toward the goal line.  A player is disqualified if he loses his cardboard.  First player across the goal line wins.  It might be interesting to have several obstacles (box, rope, pillow, etc.) they must jump over along the way.  An alternative to being disqualified if a player loses his cardboard, you may decide to allow players to try to get their cardboards back in place, but only by using their feet (not their hands).


6.  SQUIRM - Players sit on the floor with backs flat against the wall.  Legs should be bent with knees against the chest, arms crossed across the chest.  Object of the game is to work yourself up to a standing position by squirming up the wall without using your hands.  If players sit at opposite walls they can see their opponents squirm.  First to get to a standing position wins.


7.  CRAB FIGHT - Players assume the crab fighting position by sitting on the floor with knees drawn up and palms flat on the floor behind them.  Players lift their bodies so only their feet and hands are touching the floor.  Hands and feet may not be used in combat, but only to move around.  Bumping and shoving with their bodies, players fight until one player loses his balance and falls to the floor.  When any part of the body other than feet or hands touch the floor, that's a fall.  If two players are playing, have the first player to win three falls wins the game.  If more than two players are playing, have the winner be the last surviving player.


8.  CRAB RACE - Players assume crab position.  (Sit on floor and raise body off floor so only hands and feet touch.)  First player to reach goal line wins.  Variations include doing head first, feet first, or even sideways.


9.  BLIND CRAB RACE - Same as Crab Race above, but players have paper bags over their heads so they can't see where they are going.  Blindfolds could also be used.  A funny game to watch or play.


10.  CRAB SOCCER - Two players.  Each player assumes a crab position by sitting on the floor and raising himself up so just his feet and hands touch the floor.  Players start at opposite sides of the room.  A wadded up newspaper (paper ball) is placed in the center of the room.  At the starting signal, both players approach the paper ball and try to kick or hit the ball to the other player's goal wall or line.  First player to score three times wins the game.  The same game could be played with teams.


11.  ARM WRESTLE - Two players sit at a table facing each other.  Players grasp right hands with elbows on the table.  The arms should be upward so the grasped hands are directly above the elbows.  At a signal, each player tries to force his opponent's hand to the left and down to the table.  Elbows must be kept in position.  First player to succeed three times wins.  The same game could be played with left arms.


12.  SQUAT JOUST - Two players assume a squat position with arms folded across their chests.  The object of the game is to try to bump the other player so he loses balance and falls down or comes out of the proper position.  First player to win three falls wins the joust.


13.  PUSH - Two players stand face to face about three feet from each other.  Players reach toward each other and put their hands on each other's shoulders.  The object of the game is to push the other player back three steps.  First player to do this wins.


14.  BROOMSTICK TWIST - Prepare for the game by taking a broom and tying one end of a rope (about 6 feet in length) around the middle of it.  Tie the other end of the rope around a brick or other fairly heavy object.  Each player takes a turn to see how fast he or she can wind the broomstick until the brick (or weight) reaches the stick.  Player must extend his arms out straight and hold the broomstick horizontally at shoulder height.  He then twists the broomstick with his hands so the rope winds around it and raises the brick from the floor.  Player keeps winding until the brick reaches the stick.  See who can do it the fastest.  Players could also try to beat their own previous best times.  If more than one broomstick is available, the winner could be the player who finishes first.


15.  TUG-O-WAR - This is one of the oldest recorded physical contests.  Roll a towel up and have each opponent grab one end.  Establish a line with a piece of string.  Players stand on opposite sides.  The object is to pull your opponent across the line.  First player to win three times wins the contest.  With a large beach towel or soft rope, you can have more than one player on a side.  This could help establish more even sides.  Example: One stronger player versus two other players.


16.  CLOCK TAG - First player lies on floor on his right side.  He lifts his body with his right arm.  Only the right hand and one or both feet should touch the floor.  The right arm becomes a pivot as player places one leg in front of the other and sort of runs in a circle.  Second player becomes the chaser.  He assumes same position half way around the circle.  His head and right hand should be next to the first player's.  At the signal, both players run.  First player to catch the other and tag him with his free left hand wins.


17.  WHEELBARROW - Pairs of players compete in a race.  One player acts as the wheelbarrow and gets down on his hands, while the walker stands behind him and grabs hold of his ankles.  A variation would be to play Bumper Cars.  Players would try to force the other wheelbarrows to collapse.  Last surviving wheelbarrow wins.


18.  CROSS-LEGGED RACE - Each racer must cross one leg over the other one as he runs.  For example, left leg crosses over his right leg, then right leg crosses over his left leg, etc.  This can make a fun relay race for groups.


19.  INDIAN WRESTLING - Players stand facing each other.  Place your right feet together and grab each other's right hand.  Your left foot should be placed in a position to give you good balance.  Try to push or pull your opponent so he moves one of his feet.  First player to win three times wins the contest.


20.  BICYCLE TRIPS - Bicycle riding is an excellent exercise to strengthen the legs and develop general endurance.


21.  WALKING AND JOGGING - Plan an interesting route around your neighborhood.  Walk and jog the route before breakfast.


22.  GROCERIES - If the grocery store isn't too far away, make it a habit to walk there and carry your groceries home.  Two or three members of the family could be used if there are too many groceries for just one person.  You will find it becomes an enjoyable time to talk to each other and grow closer as a family.


23.  EXERCISE AND DANCE TO MUSIC - The catchy rhythm of music, and its power to generate emotion and interest, is a great help in initiating and continuing a regular exercise program.  Just put the music on and the body seems ready to start.  Time passes more quickly and we seem more able to complete a series of exercise routines.  Players could freely choose the exercises the music suggests to them, or they could do a planned set of exercises until the music stops.


24.  TELEVISION OR VIDEO PROGRAMS - There are several television programs that introduce viewers to various exercises for each part of the body.  They offer encouragement, demonstrations, and pacing.  Make it a habit to watch a certain program and do the exercises that are demonstrated.  Some programs are scheduled early in the morning so viewers can participate before starting their regular day.  There are also a number of quality programs on video you could use according to your own time requirements.


25.  EXERCISE AUDIO TAPES AND RECORDS - There are a number of fun exercise records and tapes available.  Their particular value is that the encouragement and direction they offer can be instantly available at your convenience.  A number of children's recordings promote fun movement and dancing games and activities.


26.  WORLD RECORDS EXERCISE - Each player performs a particular exercise as many times as he can successfully.  For example, a certain number of knee-bent sit-ups.  This starts his or her world record.  Over the next few weeks and months, players try to continually establish new records by breaking the old ones.  Have a prominent place to list each new record.  A good place would be the refrigerator or the kitchen bulletin board.


27.  HIKING - Take the family on outings or camping trips where good hiking opportunities are available, such as a state park with hiking trails.


28.  TIMED HOUSEWORK - Many important chores and responsibilities at home can become excellent opportunities for exercise.  This is especially so if they are timed, and players try to do an excellent job in limited amounts of time.  Cleaning a room, putting things away, dusting, mowing the grass, sweeping the sidewalk, washing windows and woodwork, can be as effective as any other exercise program.  They offer the additional advantage of saving time for other interesting or needed activities.


29.  JOG-IN-PLACE - Player jogs in place and counts each time his right foot touches the floor.  Each day he tries to get five counts higher than the previous day.  For example, the first day he jogs 50 steps in place.  Next day he tries for 55, next day 60, etc.


30.  BROOM-AND-PAPER RACE - Each player is given a broom and a sheet of binder paper.  The papers are placed on the floor in front of each player.  Players try to sweep their paper to the goal line first.  Variations include playing a game of Paper Hockey.  Set goal areas and use one paper as the puck.


31.  BREATHING EXERCISES - Practice breathing fully.  Once or more a day, take a few minutes and concentrate on deep breathing.  As you breathe in, think of breathing in strength.  As you release your breath, think of breathing impurities out.