It’s not uncommon for people to take up running when they want to lose weight, improve health or get their cardio fix.
First of all, running is extremely hard on our joints and lower back especially if you have poor shoes, a hard running surface, or poor gait pattern. If you missed it I shared a great blog on running mechanics, check it out http://hurkensfitnessandwellness.com/why-you-shouldnt-be-running/.
If you are seeking running because you decided one day that you want to get in shape and ended up laced up the old runners and went at it, you could be harming your body rather than helping it. Your desire for a change in health is great but there are much safer alternatives than going for a run.
Some of my favourite conditioning exercises are; battle rope training, kettlebells, ball slams, wall balls, boxing, and prowler pushes.
These are great exercises that will challenge a beginner and an advanced lifter. A huge benefit with these exercises is they are low impact. They also will not cause you joint pain or increase the chances of it further down the road.
Battle ropes are a great exercise that can be done in several different styles such as, in-sync, out-of-sync and fly’s. You can also build off of battles ropes by incorporating squatting, side shuffles or lunges to help achieve a whole body effect.
Kettlebells are extremely versatile. You can do lifts with these like snatches, deadlifts, jerks and more simple exercise like rows and shoulder press. For a conditioning component, a kettlebell swing would be an excellent choice. It is minimal impact, teaches you how to hip hinge (if taught correctly) and will work your cardiovascular system.
Definitely one of my favorite exercises for taking out some frustration, plus you get a workout done in the meantime! What’s better than slamming something against the ground? Ball Slams are tough and tiring. They incorporate the whole body which will help burn more calories and give you a great cardio workout. Important to keep in mind that you are picking up the ball properly with a flat back and a hip hinge for lower back health.
Probably seen in Crossfit, this exercise is will require a little coordination with timing the squat and ball throw but will come over time. This is great for whole body conditioning.
Another great conditioning exercise that will also incorporate whole body function and improve coordination. For boxing, you can hit a heavy bag, have a friend hold pads, or throw air punches.
The Prowler. Everyone knows it and loves it but also absolutely hates it. This is one of the most intense cardiovascular exercises I’ve done. It is very easy to learn/teach; just get low and push. It doesn’t have the high impact of running but can be a good alternative if you’re trying to simulate running.
Leave the running in the dust and try these safer alternatives!
If your goals are also body composition change and you are seeking a leaner physique cardio is not the best option. Check out this blog I wrote on how to achieve a lean, strong and healthy physique through a balance of weight training and HIIT.
It’s important to keep in mind that when the intensity goes up duration goes down. For an example, you will not be able to prowler push 300lbs (intensity) for 100yards (duration), rather try 300lbs for 10yards. This is solely just an example of intensity vs. duration the proper balance would have to take a few considerations into account.
All of these exercises help change up your conditioning routine rather than just running, stationary biking, elliptical or whatever you do. They’re fun (well I’ll let you decide that one), and low impact. Save your joints, improve your cardiovascular training, add some excitement to your workout and implement these conditioning exercises to further your fitness!