To run faster, longer, and stronger, add these CrossFit-style exercises into your workout routine.(Photo: Corbis/Buck Studio)
If you want to be a better runner, it’s important that runningisn’t the only activity you do.
While jogging has plenty of benefits — cardiovascular health, weight loss, and stress relief, to name a few — mixing up your routine can help you run faster, feel stronger, and avoid aches and injuries.
To learn the best cross-training exercises for runners, Yahoo Health went to the cross-training experts: CrossFit. Pick up your pace with these exercises from running coach Sadie Wells, a CrossFit competitor and coach at Reebok CrossFit Miami Beach.
1. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are a great ab exercise for runners. (Photo: Getty Images/Xavier Arnau)
“Running is very taxing on the core, so if your core is solid and strong, it makes everything easier,” Wells tells Yahoo Health. The kettlebell swing is typically thought of as a power or conditioning exercise, but it also rips your core. That’s because swinging the kettlebell pulls your body forward; your core has to engage in order to control the momentum of the swing and to keep you from falling on your face.
2. Box Jumps
Box jumps help you run faster and power up hills like a pro. (Photo: Getty Images/Erik Isakson)
You need a lot of explosive power to thrust your bodyweight upward and land on a box. That explosive ability is good for people who want to run faster, Wells explains. Box jumps will also help you pull your knees higher when you run (which is especially important for running up hills).
3. Air Squats
Prevent knee aches with proper squat form. (Photo: Getty Images/Hero Images)
When some people run, you can see their knees caving inward. That’s a big problem, Wells explains, because it puts strain on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the major ligaments of the knee that is especially prone to injury. Squats — when performed properly — train your body to keep your knees in line. Be sure your knees are in line with your ankles when you squat down (and not caving inward or pressing outward).
4. Toes To Bar
Toes to bar is an awesome lower abs exercise.(Photo: Getty Images/Cultura RM/Holger Thalmann)
“Core is everything [for runners],” Wells says. “A strong core is a big part of keeping yourself away from injuries, especially injuries to the back and hips.” Another one of her favorite core exercises is called toes to bar, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: While hanging from a pullup bar, lift your legs and try to touch your toes to the bar. Tip: If you can’t touch the bar, raise your feet as high as you can; you’ll get better at it with practice.
5. Double Unders (Double Jump Rope)
Jumping rope is an excellent form of cardio. (Photo: Corbis/Buck Studio)
Double unders are a more intense way to jump rope. Instead of swinging the rope once and jumping over it, you swing the rope around your body twice during each jump. It takes a lot of practice to learn the skill, but keeping at it will train you to stay light on your feet, Wells says.
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