When the weather gets warmer, the options to stay in shape are greatly increased. The sun and the air just feel great! However, many options can sometimes lead to indecision. Don’t worry, I got you covered. The following 5 activities will absolutely provide you with a quick yet effective workout when you feel like going outside to increase your body’s conditioning levels.
1. Hill Sprints
- No equipment necessary
- Short duration
- Less chance of injury
You say you want to go outside and work hard? Go find a hill, run to the top a few times, and then go home. Short, effective and challenging. Hill sprints are especially tempting for someone who has not been running all that much, so they are probably at a higher risk of a sprinting related injury (hamstring strain, groin pull, etc). The incline on the hill forces your body not to over stride. You will land in a technically correct position, even under duress. There is also less stress on your joints because there are lower ground reaction forces. Your feet literally land higher on each step, thus reducing impact.
Run the uphill, walk back down. Repeat 7-10 times depending on your starting conditioning levels.
2. Agility Drills
- Works on change of direction
- Makes people feel more athletic
- Only equipment necessary is a couple of landmarks
Tired of running in a straight line? Bored by your hill? Then change directions! Agility drills aren’t just reserved for high school football and soccer teams. Agility drills will allow all types of people to improve coordination, lateral speed, and change of direction ability. This will come in handy the next time you play a pick up basketball game… you will no longer get juked out of your shoes! Agility drills also have the distinction of being almost limitless. Set up a few cones, and let your imagination run wild. Set up a bunch of cones that resemble your favorite letter and run it! A few of my favorite drills are as follows:
1. 4 Cone Drill
Set up cones to resemble a square, each cone approximately 10 yards a part. Sprint to one cone, shuffle laterally to the next, then backpedal, and then finish the drill by shuffling again.
2. Pro Agility Drill
Set up 3 cones in a straight line, each 5 yards apart. Start the drill by standing over the middle cone. Sprint to the right, touch the cone. Immediately sprint to the furthest left cone and touch the cone. Finish the drill by running through the middle cone. Try to stay low to the ground when you change directions. Lower your hips to stop as fast as possible on your turns.
3. “V” Drill
Set up 3 cones in a shape of a “V”. Have the landmarks about 10 yards away from the center cone. Start the drill by sprinting to one cone. Break down as quickly as possible, and backpedal to the starting cone. Change direction and sprint to the other cone. Breakdown again, and backpedal to the start cone.
3. Sled Work
- Intensity is easily scalable
- Eccentric is de-emphasized
- Can be used for recovery or conditioning
- Requires weights and a dragging sled or Prowler
Nothing can really compare to a hard sled workout in the Summer heat. Your lungs will burn, sweat will pour down your forehead. You really can’t dog a sled workout. Because the sled is loadable with weights, you can work out harder in the same time frame as a previous workout. This is perfect for people that just hate doing anything longer than 20 minutes. Also, sleds lessen the role of eccentric muscle action, which is responsible for most of the soreness and injury in weight training and athletics. This means recovery can happen a bit quicker with sled training, allowing athletes to train more frequently with less negative effects.
Set up a cone 50 ft away. Drag the sled to the cone and back. Repeat 4-5 times. Rest 1 min in between rounds.
- Wide variety of movements
- Joint friendly
- Only need one KB for a challenging workout
Kettlebells are my favorite way of increasing strength endurance. They allow you do repeated, weighted movements that get your heart rate up. They also take a far less toll on your ankles, knees and hips when compared to traditional sprinting and jogging. Kettlebell specific movements such as the swing, clean and snatch are also a great way to increase the endurance of your hamstrings, lower back and glutes – all muscles heavily involved in athletic events. Kettlebells are a great way to bring weights outside (to do shirtless, obviously). All you need is a 24 kg (53 lb) kettlebell for men, or a 10 kg (22 lbs) for women. Throw it in the car or bring it in the backyard. It is a very portable method of conditioning.
Do all exercises consecutively. Take a brief (30-60 seconds) rest after completing all exercises. Repeat the complex 3-5 times. DO NOT put down the weight until finished with the complex.
1A. Suitcase deadlift (left hand) x10
1B. Row (left hand) x10
1C. Clean (left hand) x10
1D. Swing x10
1E. Clean (right hand) x10
1F. Row (right hand) x10
1G. Suitcase deadlift (right hand) x10
5. Jump Rope
- Cheap equipment
- Coordination and endurance
- Easy excuse to get some sun outside during Summer
I do have a special spot for jump roping. I credit jump roping for drastically improving my footwork and coordination as a high school football player, and I have been jumping rope ever since. I love that I can bring the rope anywhere, virtually limiting any excuse to get a session in. I love how you can scale it to your ability – go crazy learning double unders, side swings and other tricks, or just hop on two feet the entire time.
Jump Rope Workout
2 leg hops – 30 secs
Left leg hop – 30 sec
Right leg hop – 30 sec
Sprint in place – 30 sec
Repeat 6-12 times
Get outside and get moving! If you are tired of going for a jog, give one of these different activities a try. I guarantee it will kick you butt!
Mulligan Fitness and Hylete.com
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