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Homeschool Gym Class: A Backpack for the House or on the Road

Getting in shape doesn’t have to be that complicated. We had such a fun time growing up making workouts out of the weirdest objects on the farm. Fence posts, bricks, hay bales, gates, and more were all things used to wear ourselves out. Looking back, I'm sure our parents didn't mind sacrificing a fence post or two to bring our energy down!

Whether you're a parent working from home, or a student taking online courses, a tool that most everyone has is a backpack. Today, we will go over how to turn your trusty backpack into your newest torture device.

First, to load your backpack as needed, you can use old textbooks, canned food, old cement plates you have sitting around, whatever. Cater the weight towards your needs and try to slowly progress it upwards to keep your body adapting.

Movement #1: Back Squats

This movement is pretty darn straight forward. Put the backpack on like normal, then sit and stand with your typical squat pattern.

Movement #2: Front Squats

Now put the backpack on backwards so the weight is on your front. This will try to pull you forward more so you have to stay upright in your squat. As before you will sit and stand, just be sure you keep that chest nice and open and pull your shoulders back to maintain good posture and keep those straps from falling off. Hopefully you feel your upper back, core and quads challenged in this movement.

Movement #3: Step Ups

With the backpack on your front or back, dealer’s choice really, step up a stair or onto a short box if you have one. Lower back down with control and repeat on the other leg. One of the many options you can play with are stepping up two stairs (just be sure you’re careful up and down) and hugging the backpack to your body front carry style instead of wearing it.

Movement #4: Curls

Grabbing the straps towards the top of the backpack, stand tall with locked out arms. Curl the backpack up, bending only your elbows. Don’t let the elbow kick forward allowing your shoulder to cheat the movement. Lower it back down and repeat.

Movement #5: One arm farmer walk

Holding the top strap in one hand, carry the backpack on the outside of your body. Keep a tight core and upright posture to make sure your body stabilizes the asymmetrical load. Also, keep the bulk of the backpack to the outside so it doesn’t constantly hit your leg. It also makes it more difficult for your core, so two birds.

If you don’t have a safe space to walk back and forth for this movement, you can stand at attention with the backpack not touching your body, or perform side bends.

Ok, workout time!

As always, warm up as needed. Do your best to not let the backpack touch the ground the whole time! If you do need to set it down, set it down less and less each time, until you've progressed enough to keep it off the ground.

Minute 1: Back Squats

Minute 2: Curls

Minute 3: Front Squats

Minute 4: Step ups

Minute 5: Left hand farmer carry

Minute 6: Right hand farmer walk

Repeat for 3 rounds. I highly recommend using an interval timer so you don’t have to keep track of a clock and slow yourself down.

We won’t be including any wildly ballistic movements which could increase the risk of damaging your backpack like swings. But if you have backpacks to spare, by all means, add in some swings!

Have fun with this one! It’ll be great when stuck in the house or on the road. Let us know how it goes!



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