This one’s for you runners. Many of us don’t like to admit it, but exercise trends come and go faster than Dennis Rodman’s hair color.
It’s hard to keep up with what’s new, what’s effective, and what’s reasonable.
For the avid runners out there, don’t fix something that isn’t broken. If running is something you love to do and has worked its way into your routine- keep it up.
But let us give one valuable suggestion- add in a few simple calisthenic exercises for variation and balanced training.
The addition of these simple movements will not only give you an increased sense of achievement but will build your endurance and make you a better runner.
What are Calisthenics?
Many runners have been incorporating calisthenic exercises into their routines without even knowing it.
By definition, these exercises require no equipment and rely on body weight only.
Not only do they build strength and muscle quickly, but they increase mobility and prevent injury. They are also easy to work into a routine, time-efficient and adaptable to all sorts of environments.
Running is an effective way of improving the circulation of the blood in your body, building fitness for other exercises and increasing cardiovascular health and immunity.
It is not necessary to run long distances to see these benefits. In fact, an endurance run of only 30 minutes will boost your lipid metabolism and warm up the body sufficiently.
If the goal is to burn fat or build muscle, we use this boost in metabolism to challenge the body and force it to act differently.
If we constantly encourage the body to adapt by varying exercises, runners will see increased progress in endurance, weight loss and muscle strength.
Here we help you create that challenge by giving you a series of simple exercises to vary your routine, challenge the body and burn more fat.
5 Simple Calisthenic Exercises to Do on Your Run:
Don’t forget about those arms.
Tricep dips are a great way to activate the upper body and get the heart pumping.
This exercise also gives you the chance to be creative with what’s available around you. Many objects can be used to complete these tricep dips, from a park bench to a swingset.
Find an object knee to waist high and place the palms of your hand on the edge while facing away from it.
Walk your feet out away from you, creating a comfortable angle. The further the feet are from the object, the harder the dip.
Repeat the exercise 10-15 times to start, and challenge yourself by increasing the angle and slowing the speed of the movement.
Effectiveness of suspension activities on increasing core muscle engagement has been proven time and time again.
Your core provides functional strength and mobility, and should never be left out of a workout. What’s better is that a short core workout every day can provide fast results.
While there are many simple ab workouts that can be added onto a run, why get fancy when you can stick with a classic favorite- the plank.
All you need for this exercise is a level piece of ground. With your belly facing down, place your elbows on the ground and your hands directly under your shoulders.
Press your forearms into the ground creating a 90-degree angle at your elbows, engage your core and lift your hips, knees and heels to the sky keeping the toes touching the earth.
Maintain a flat back posture for the duration of the exercise, keeping your neck relaxed and straight, and your eyes facing the ground in front of you.
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, rest and repeat. For an extra challenge, push through the palms, straighten your elbows and hold your plank in a push-up position.
Ready to engage your glutes and muscle up your quads? Bodyweight squats are great for flexibility and build running strength fast.
Be careful not to overdo it with these exercises after a long run, we don’t want to be working the same muscles too hard without giving them a break.
Instead, use them to drive strength, create intensity, and boost that metabolism.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, shift your weight back towards your heels and bend your knees like you are going to sit down in a chair.
Keeping your back straight and your shoulders and neck relaxed, sink the tailbone down towards your feet, trying to get your quads parallel with the ground.
Once down in the squat position, drive power through your heels and bring yourself back up to a strong standing position. Repeat 10-15 times.
For an extra challenge focus on engaging the core, slowing the squat and holding the chair position. You will feel the burn in the hamstrings, the quads and the glutes.
If you are feeling a strain in your back during these movements, make sure the back is remaining straight.
Drop down and give us 20! The push-up works the shoulders, back, chest and arms and can be done almost anywhere. And with tons of modifications, there is no excuse not to incorporate these exercises into every run.
Like tricep dips, you can get creative with push-ups and use different objects to balance on.
As a general rule, the more elevated your hands and shoulders are above your feet and legs, the easier it will be. So if you are just starting out, try doing push-ups off of a bench, a rock or a fallen tree to make it easier. Even starting with push-ups from your knees is better than nothing!
If you wanted an extra challenge, we recommend having a go at shoulder tap push-ups.
Start with a normal push-up, touching the nose or chest to the ground and extending back up to a plank position.
Once you reach the top of your push-up, bring one hand up and tap the opposite shoulder lightly. Repeat, switching hands every repetition.
We know, lunges are hard. And while they are not always a crowd favorite, they are incredibly effective at activating the glutes and the hamstrings, vital muscles needed for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The traditional forward lunge is accomplished by creating a wide stride, sending one leg out in front of you and bringing the opposite knee to the ground.
Your front leg will be in a strong 90-degree angle to your engaged core while you drive through the back heel and bring your body back to a standing upright position. Switch legs and repeat.
These lunges can be done in place, or even moving forward in a slow and strong “walking lunge”.
For an extra challenge and a bit of fun, jump lunges require a bit more balance and power.
Instead of stepping forward into our lunge, we jump into position and drive up through the back heel, switching legs midair and landing in the opposite lunge.
We suggest practicing forward lunges first until you are familiar with the movement.
So next time you are out for a run, try throwing a few of these calisthenic exercises in to give yourself an extra challenge.
Trust us, you’ll be surprised how quickly your endurance and strength grows.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.