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Agility exercises for runners

Agility exercises for runnersRunners tend to stick in the sagittal plane, which is a fancy way of saying we don’t move much beyond the simple forward motion. This is fine for most plodding around, but it can make you more prone to injury (strains, falls, etc.). Not to mention you’re ignoring lots of important muscles in the process.

To gain stronger, more responsive muscles overall, add some agility work to your regimen. Here are some exercises to start:

Agility drill. This lower body workout focused on your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and your quads. All you need is painter’s tape to mark off a hexagon on the floor. Then get jumping. The video depicts several different patterns to complete, but the whole drill lasts less than five minutes total. All your stabilizing muscles will feel the burn after you complete the session.

Box jumps. This popular CrossFit staple can help runners with agility. (Want to learn more about CrossFit? Check out this post.) If you’re new to this type of move, start slow and low. What’s important versus jumping as high as possible is correct form. The powerful explosive jumping movement can eventually help with stride length and balance. (Here are some more plyometric exercises to try.)

Tuck jumps. Tuck jumps are performed by jumping with both feet as high as you can and landing softly only repeat several times more (think 10 in all). Rest briefly, then do another set or two.

Shuttle run. Do you remember the shuttle run from the Presidential Fitness Test? Ugh. I sure do. But that pain comes with a big gain. Not only do you get the great side-to-side movement going (building strength in little-used muscles), you also get a great interval workout. Warm up and then set up some markers (cones, water bottles, etc.) 25 yards apart. Sprint from one cone to the next and back. Repeat five more times. Then rest five minutes and do it again.

Trail run. Those of you who hit the trails of a regular basis probably have some agility in their arsenals. When you’re on dirt and gravel paths versus sidewalks and roads, there can be many obstacles – from rocks to tree roots to animals. So, if you’d like to more organically add agility work into your everyday routine, try running trails once a week.

Written by Ashley Marcin.

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