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The World Cup-Watching Workout


By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie


For many soccer fans, the World Cup is a great excuse to explore different beers from around the world while sitting on the couch (or barstool) for hours on end. But if watching those fit bodies sprinting around the field has you inspired to work on your muscles rather than your beer gut, we’ve got just the thing for you. In lieu of the popular World Cup drinking games out there on the Internet, we’ve created a World Cup-watching workout so you can have fun and get fit while you watch!

Ready to get started? Here’s what you do: Before the start of each match, choose a team to root for. Each time one of the following 11 calls is made against your team, do the activity below. Keep in mind, 90 minutes is a long time. Depending on how your team is doing, you might want to start by playing just for the first half, or even the first 20 minutes. Add more minutes of working out every match you watch and, by finals time, you may just be ready for the draft.


1. Offside: Do 10 squats

2. Corner kick: Do 10 chair dips

3. Free kick (direct or indirect): Do 10 push-ups

4. Penalty kick (excluding shootouts): Do 10 burpees (“punishment” for your team committing the foul that resulted in the PK). If the kicker does not score, those rooting for the kicker’s team have to do 10 burpees (as “punishment” for their team missing the shot on goal).

5. Yellow card: 10 lunges (5 per side)

If a player is given his second yellow card in one game resulting in a red card, ignore the yellow card rule and proceed to the red card rule.

6. Red card: Sprint around the house for at least 30 seconds + run up a set of stairs. (If you don’t have stairs, follow the free kick rule or the penalty kick rule).

7. Dive: Stand up out of your seat and jump, reaching your hands overhead.

8. Goal against your team (except penalty kick goals and shootout goals): 20 crunches

9. Goal for your team (except penalty kick goals and shootout goals): 10 supermans

10. Shootouts: 20 jumping jacks every time your team misses a goal.


Soccer Cheat Sheet

Offside: A player is called offsides when he gets the ball with fewer than two defenders (including the goalie) between him and the goal. Essentially, the rule was created to prevent players from waiting for the ball right by the goal (lazy!). The assistant ref will make this call, and the ref will either uphold it or overrule it.

Corner kick: When the ball crosses the goal line but misses the goal, and a defender was the last one to touch it, a corner kick restarts the play. The assistant ref makes the call by pointing with his flag to a corner, and the ref determines the corner the kick will be made from (the one closest to where the ball went out).

Free kick: This is awarded when the referee stops play for certain fouls and allows the opposing team resume play with the ball in their possession.

Penalty kick: This is awarded if an offense is committed by a player inside his own penalty area. One player from the opposing team may then take a direct free shot at goal from the penalty spot 12 yards away.

Dive: When a player attempts to gain an unfair advantage by diving to the ground and even faking an injury, to make it seems as though a foul has been committed.

Shootout: A last resort if a winner cannot be determined during the course of the 90-minute soccer match. One player from each team will take penalty shots until one team scores more that the other and the other team is eliminated.

Yellow card: A warning for repeatedly fouling or for tackling another player.

Red card: Two yellow cards equal a red card, and if received, the player is ejected from the game. A player can also get an immediate red card by tackling another player from behind.


Fitness Cheat Sheet



Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward, hands on hips. Bend your knees and push your hips back and down, as though sitting into a seat. Then, press into your heels to stand.


Chair dips

Chair dips

Start seated on the edge of a chair or the couch, feet planted on the floor. Place your palms on the edge of the seat next to your hips, fingers pointing forward. Shift your hips forward off of the seat, weight on your hands. Bend your elbows straight back to lower your hips toward the floor until your elbows are bent to about 90 degrees. Press into your palms to raise your hips back up to seat level.




Kneeling, place your palms flat on the floor shoulder-width apart, and walk your feet back until your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels, arms extended straight. Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the floor, then straighten to return to the start position. If full push-ups are too challenging, don’t drop to your knees. Instead, place your hands on the seat of a chair or couch (make sure it won’t slide). The elevated angle will make the move less strenuous while still challenging your core muscles for stability.




Stand up and jump, reaching your arms straight overhead. As soon as you land, bend down and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Hop your feet backwards, then hop back in toward your hands. Jump again and repeat the sequence. For a more advanced move, do a push-up when you jump your feet back.




Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, hands on your hips. Step forward about 3 to 4 feet, then bend your hips and knees to lower straight down, front knee forming a 90 degree angle with your knee above your ankle. Step back to the start and repeat.



Lie on your back on a carpet or rug, bending your knees to place your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows out to the sides and place your fingertips lightly behind your head. Squeeze your abs as though bracing because someone was going to punch you in the stomach. Then peel your shoulders and upper back upward off the floor. Pause and hold, then reverse.




Lie on your front, legs extended straight back, elbows bent, hands behind your head. Simultaneously lift your legs and upper body off the floor, pause to hold in the up position, then lower. For more of a challenge, extend your arms forward in a full flying Superman pose.

Jumping jacks

Jumping jacks

Just like elementary school gym class, jump your feet together and apart as you swing your arms as though making a snow angel from the sides of your legs to reach up overhead.


Published June 24, 2014.  

Natalie is a freelance writer, editor and ACE-certified personal trainer based in Syracuse, NY. She's also the author of Tone Every Inch (Rodale).


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