Doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but these exercises are effective enough to burn calories and strengthen the leg muscles for runners when performing “anywhere else”.
In the context of the whole country being isolated due to Covid-19, runners have to stay indoors and have no conditions to practice. Many people begin to worry that they will lose all their endurance and strength when they are allowed to run again after the interval. Others are concerned when the second round increases every day due to the lack of conditions to exercise and run outdoors.
To deal with this situation, the coaches of the BoiDapChay Club (Swimming-Biking-Running) advise the following exercises to keep fit, while helping to control weight gain and lose fat. These exercises are designed to be done indoors, do not require a lot of equipment, but are effective for burning calories and strengthening leg muscles.
Jump rope to stay fit
Jumping rope is a popular exercise practiced by many professional athletes around the world when Europe and the US are locked down in 2020. This is also a favorite exercise of famous coach Brett Sutton. He has coached Nicola Spirig – a gold medalist in triathlon Olympic London 2012 and many Ironman champions.
According to Sutton, jumping rope will help runners run faster and is the best way to maintain fitness, if you can’t go out due to social distancing. What the runner needs is a jump rope, a small yard. Jump ropes should be plastic because they are lighter in weight and can swing and jump faster. In addition, runners should avoid jumping on cement floors or hard surfaces, because there is a risk of injury to shin splints. It is best to dance on a wooden floor, or a yoga mat.
The dance moves are not complicated. Most of us also used to jump rope when we were young, just pay attention to stomping with our toes, knees slightly bent to reduce the impact on the feet when landing. Runners can refer to the movements of VnExpress Marathon Hue 2020 champion Le Quang Hoa.
Runners with a good physical foundation and experience as well as a long run can try jumping for 3 minutes, resting for 1 minute and repeating 5 times. In those 3 minutes, on average you can jump 300 times, with the same normal jumping speed as Le Quang Hoa in the video above.
If you are a newbie, not familiar with jumping rope and also new to running, you can start by jumping 50-100 times (takes about 30 seconds – 1 minute), rest a bit and repeat. Try to repeat 10 times or more. The recommended number of jumps is about 15-20 times.
Additional home gym exercises without equipment
In addition to the above-mentioned jumping rope exercise, to develop muscles, runners can also do additional exercises to support muscle groups used when running such as thighs, glutes and abdominal muscles. Because these exercises do not use heavy weights, runners can do these exercises anywhere and use their own body weight. Therefore, the purpose of this exercise is not to make the muscles grow bigger, but to increase the flexibility of the muscle bundles for running, thereby helping to avoid injury.
According to coach Cao Ngoc Ha of BoiDapChay, when it comes to supplements and injury avoidance, runners should not consider muscle bundles in the legs as separate blocks. In contrast, muscle bundles are connected and support each other. Even an injury to the knee or foot can result from a weak gluteal muscle group, causing the iliotibial band to not hold the kneecap in place, leading to knee pain. Therefore, when doing complementary exercises for running, we need to apply a comprehensive approach to training the muscle groups used in movement, instead of just focusing on developing a few major muscle bundles such as calf and thigh muscles.
The video below is an example of that holistic workout. Exercises like Squats will help to strengthen the thighs, Hip bridge for the glutes, Calf Raise (tilts) for the calf muscles, and Plank and Arabesque exercises that target the abs (central muscles), helping to keep the body balanced when running. These exercises are not too heavy, so they can be done after jumping rope. If you feel the exercise is too light, you can also hold more dumbbells (1-2kg per hand) to increase the difficulty of the exercise.
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