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Looking for a workout that builds balance, flexibility, and strength throughout your whole body? Stop LION around, and take some inspiration from the best athletes in the animal kingdom.
These animal exercises inspired by the animal kingdom are a fun way to liven up your exercise routine.
Tap into your wild side during a full-body workout with a bit of animal influence. If you’re skeptical, rest assured that these animal exercises aren’t as out there as they might sound at first. In fact, you’ve probably done some of them before – only they might have been called something else!
Warm-Up Activities: Get Ready to Workout!
Before jumping into cardio and strength-building exercises, it’s essential to do a few light warm-up movements. This series of activities gently brings you into an aerobic ready state and gets your primal energy flowing.
Plant your hands and knees on the floor, aligned directly underneath your shoulders and hips. From a neutral position, exhale and gently curve your spine upwards like a cat that just woke up from its nap. Then, inhale and release, arching the other way and lifting your neck and chest for cow pose. Repeat three to five times.
Plant hands shoulder-width apart and straighten your legs to move into downward-facing dog pose. Place your feet at hip-width, and keep a slight bend in your knees. Engage your shoulders, drawing them away from your ears.
For a deeper stretch, lift one leg at a time for three-legged dog pose. Bend your knee and open your hips to stretch your hip flexors and lower back.
It’s time to get the blood pumping. Stand with your feet apart and plant your hands on the floor to the right of your feet. Shift your weight to your hands and hop your feet to the other side of them.
If desired, hold an exercise ball in your hands. Hop to each side five to ten times.
Active Animal Exercises
Once you feel sufficiently warmed up, move on to some strength-building animal exercises. These activities target each of your major muscle groups. Choose some that appeal to you, and have fun.
Start in a forearm plank with toes tucked, elbows aligned underneath your shoulders, and palms flat on the floor. Engage your legs and abs. Slide one arm forward at a time, dragging your feet and legs behind you.
Lie down on your back with outstretched legs and fully extend your arms over your head. Then, engage your core and bring your arms and legs to the center. Grasp your shins with your arms for one full breath before extending outwards again. Repeat ten to fifteen times.
No hidden dragon here! Move into downward-facing dog pose with your hands shoulder-width apart and spine straight. Move to a push-up position and bend one leg at a time, bringing your knee forward toward your chest. To increase the difficulty, touch your knee to each of your elbows as well, returning to downward-facing dog between crunches.
Frog Jumps/Donkey Kicks
From a low squat, plant your hands shoulder-width apart in front of you and jump with one or both legs. If you’re doing donkey kicks, lift one leg as high as you can while jumping with the other. For frog jumps, tuck both feet simultaneously.
Balance Exercises with Animal Names
Next, build your core strength with some balance drills. Feel free to modify the movements to suit your needs.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. On an inhale, lift one leg and hold your foot above or below your standing knee. Keep your bent knee facing forward and extend your arms to the side or overhead. Hold the pose for ten seconds on each side, and repeat two or three times.
Lift your right leg and cross it up and over the left while bending your standing knee. For an extra challenge, wrap your lifted foot behind your standing leg. Spread your arms out horizontally, or wrap your left arm under your right one and hold your hands in front of your face. Maintain the pose for ten seconds, and repeat twice on each side.
Cool-Down Stretches for Your Animal Exercises
After a workout, it’s beneficial to cool down with some mild stretching. Here are a few animal inspired post-workout stretches.
With your feet wide apart, squat down with your hips as low as possible. Press your elbows into your knees and bring your palms together in front of your chest. Hold for ten seconds.
Lie on your stomach and lift your shoulders slightly. For a gentler stretch, assume cobra pose by placing your hands by your ribs and lifting your chest a few inches off of the ground. Get a deeper low-back stretch by resting on your forearms with elbows underneath your shoulders.
Bend one knee and extend your opposite leg behind you in a half-split. Lean forward over your bent knee and support your upper body with your arms. Hold the stretch for ten seconds on each side. If desired, support your outer hip with a pillow.
Exercising doesn’t always have to feel like work. Try out a few of these exercises with animal names next time you’re feeling a bit wild. Animal inspired workouts are an outstanding way to improve your balance, flexibility, and strength while letting loose and having fun.