Whether you run to compete, or just to stay fit, incorporating a strength- and plyometric-training program into your running regimen is essential to increase speed, maximize performance, and prevent injury. Kettlebell training with KettleWorX does just that.
Running isn't only about having strong legs; it's also about having a strong core and using efficient form to increase cardiovascular endurance and speed. Running is the most universal athletic movement, and it's linked to just about every sport and recreational activity known to mankind.
Think about it, we run to train—and cross train. We run to lose weight. We run to compete. We run to play with our kids. We run to be the first in line at the grocery store. We run everywhere.
A full-body strength-conditioning program using kettlebells is the perfect cross-training compliment to any running regimen. These innovative three-dimensional workouts get your body moving in three directions and on three planes for a more effective and efficient workout.
Not only do you engage more muscles with kettlebells than you typically would with traditional weight training, but you also get a full-body workout in very little time, burn significantly more calories, and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Studies show that when performing kettlebell movements you burn up to 20 calories per minute, while also increasing your VO2 Max, which we know is an important goal for most runners, and especially elite athletes.
Here are three essential kettlebell moves that every runner—novice to elite—should integrate into their training program.
1. Alternating Reverse Lunges With Torso Rotation
If you're looking to increase power, boost speed, and improve balance, then this exercise is the one for you. This move combines a lower-body exercise with an upper-body movement isolating the core to increase stability and strength while getting your heart rate up. The kettlebell is used to add resistance and intensity.
Hold the kettlebell in your right hand; the kettlebell is at chest height and close to the body with a bent right elbow. Take the left foot and step directly backward into a reverse lunge (right foot stays planted and anchors the body). Then bring the left knee forward with the left foot off the ground moving into a runner's stance. At the same time rotate the torso counter-clockwise bringing the right elbow toward the left knee. Do this movement 10 times holding the kettlebell in the right hand, then switch to the left hand and repeat the movement, rotating in the opposite direction. Recover for 15 seconds, or as needed. Repeat the set four more times for a total of five sets.
Make sure to focus on balance throughout the exercise. Avoid overextension in the reverse lunge with a slight bend in the knee, and then drive the elbow toward the knee on the forward movement.
The main muscles worked are the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and core.