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The Ultimate Beach Workout For Runners

Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite exercises you can do on the sand to help improve your strength, speed and agility.

Therefore, if you are looking for ways to spice up your workouts, then keep on reading.

Where to Do the Sand Workout Routine

You can perform this workout routine on the beach (duh), but if you don’t live in a coastal city, then a long jump pit or a sand volleyball court can do the trick. As long as there is sand, enough space and it’s safe to work out there, you are in a good place.

Courtney Zoey Jenna

Image Credit – Fitness First Germany via Flickr

Benefits of Sand Workouts

Here are some reasons to do sand workouts more frequently:

Strengthens your lower body. Running in the sand can strengthen your ankles, toes and other muscles below the knee in ways that running on flat surface does not. The added resistance of the sand pushes your muscles harder and forces them to work much harder than they are used to.

Strengthens stabilizer muscles. As a runner, your stabilizer muscles are worked the least, but with the sand steadily shifting under your feet, these small stabilizer muscles are put to work because you need to engage them to keep balance and reduce the risk of injury.

More challenging. You can do plenty of bodyweight exercises on the sand, but the resistance of the sands will make these exercises more challenging than usual. So if you are looking to up the ante with your strength workouts in a new and creative way, embrace the sands.

Improve speed and agility. If you are looking to run faster and improve your explosive power, then the sand can help. Sand provides you with the extra resistance you need to challenge your muscles in ways they are not used to, which can help you run faster and become more explosive on your feet.

Hello to the beach. If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, then this workout is perfect and will help you break away from the monotony of a gym,  andimprove your mood from spending time in the sun.

Requires no equipment. The only equipment you need are your running shoes (or you can do it barefoot if you choose to), your bodyweight, and of course, sand, for a total body workout that will challenge both of your aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Model: Courtney

Image Credit – Fitness First Germany via Flickr

To shoe or not to shoe – that is the question!

I recommend that you do the below exercises barefoot because doing so will allow your feet to move through their natural range of motion, helping them get stronger.

In addition, working out barefoot activates more muscles in your lower body and improves your awareness of your body in space, or what’s commonly referred to as proprioception.

Nevertheless, it’s really up to you and your choice depends on how comfortable you feel on the sand. So base your choice on your level of comfort, especially if have a history of weak ankles, or feel the need for more support and protection.

Stay Safe

Before you head out of the door, please be careful, especially if you are just starting out. Just like any other training program, if you do too much too soon, you could get injured. Therefore, start with shorter workouts, lasting no more than 20 to 25 minutes, and build it gradually.

Plus, make sure to wear sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen, and carry a bottle of water with you to ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the workout.

The Ultimate Beach Workout For Runners

Without further ado, here is the sand workout you need to try:

The Warm-up

Start your workout with a proper warm-up. Jog slowly for 5 to 10 minutes, then do a bunch of dynamic exercises, such as squats, inchworms, lunges, etc, to fire your muscles and raise your heart rate.

Try this awesome dynamic warm-up.

Exercise One: Sand Sprints

Sand sprints will feel much harder because of the sands’ added resistance, making them much more challenging than your regular track sprints. So pace yourself here and be careful.

Start by marking out a line distance of 80 to 100 feet in a flat section of the sand. You can also mark the distance using two canes or whatever.

Next, perform the sprints by running as fast as you can from one landmark to the next.

Make sure that each sprint is lasting for at least 15 to 20 seconds. Take a 10-second break between each sprint.

Sprint with good technique at all time. The right form is vital here, and it will both make you go faster and protect you against injury. So make sure to run as tall as you can, with your back straight, torso and hips facing forward at all times. Plus, generate momentum by swinging your arms back and forth—locked at 90-degree angle.

Please be careful here if you a history of Achilles tendinitis or ankle sprains since running on sand can increase the risk of injury (or re-injury).

Courtney

Image Credit – Fitness First Germany via Flickr

Exercise Two: Single-leg Jumps

Begin this exercise by jogging to create the forward momentum.

Next, after a few feet, forcefully push off with your lead foot, leaping from one leg to the other with minimal contact with the sand as you drive your lead arm forward.

Stay light on your feet the entire time. Make sure to land with your knee slightly bent, moving immediately into the next jump.

Exercise Three: Prisoner Squat Jumps

Stand tall with your hands behind your head and feet shoulder width apart.

Next, while keeping your chest up, arms in place, and head up, squat down as low as you can, then explode up and jump forward several feet.

As you land on the ground, assume a squat position to absorb the impact, then jump again.

Repeat the squat jumps for 10 to 12 times, covering as much distance as possible without losing form.

Exercise Four: Walking Lunges

Assume a standing position with feet hip-width part, chest up and core engaged.

Next, step your right foot forward, and assume a low lunge position, bending both knees to a 90 degrees angle. Then pull your body up over the right foot and step forward to the next lunge.

Just be careful here, performing walking lunges with bad form can lead to a high risk for an injury to your back, hips, knees or ankles. So keep good form throughout the movement.

Exercise Five: Bear Crawl

Begin by standing feet hips width apart, then bend your knees, and fold forward and place your hands about three to four feet in front of you. That’s your starting position.

Next, while keeping your hips back and core engaged, bear crawl (by walking your hands and feet) 20 feet forward, 20 feet laterally to the right, 20 feet backwards, and 20 feet to the left back to starting point.

To make it more challenging, add 10 push-ups after every 20 feet crawl.

Exercise Six: High Knees

Begin by standing straight with your feet hip width apart. Then, run in place, bringing both of your knees up to your chest as you can.

Make sure also to pump your arms as fast as you can, aiming to land on the balls of your feet. And please, keep your core engaged, back flat, and chest up the entire time.

Exercise Seven: Butt Kicks

Begin by standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart, arms bent at the sides.

Next, flex your right foot and kick your heel up towards your butt. Then repeat on the other side and continue alternating between each leg as fast as you can without losing form, and doing your best to kick your heels to your glutes each time.

To gain speed and momentum, make sure to swing your arms as quickly as you can while using your core to control your body and to keep good form.

Featured Image Credit – Xavier Wallach via Flickr

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David Dack

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