The weather is warming up, and you probably want to get out of your dark, smelly weight room and into some sunshine.
Sand training is not only a fantastic tool for developing speed, stability and full-body strength, it's also a great way to incorporate the outdoors into your training. Whether you live close to a beach or will be vacationing at an ocean-front destination this summer, sand training is a fun and challenging way to spice up your workouts.
The key to its effectiveness is that sand training is fundamentally more difficult than running on a hard surface. In fact, running on sand requires 15 percent more mechanical work and expends 60 percent more energy than running on a hard surface. Add the fact that sand training is easier on your joints, and it's hard to deny the benefits of the occasional beach-based workout. With that in mind, here are five drills you should include during your next session in the sand.
You can perform the following sand drills wearing athletic shoes, but going barefoot can help you strengthen the small stabilizer muscles in your feet, ankles and lower body.
The T-Drill forces you to sprint forward, backwards and side-to-side, all while constantly changing directions. It works on your speed and agility, and also improves your balance and body control. You can tweak the distance of the T-Drill to make it either more of a short agility drill or a longer, top-speed drill. Performing the T-Drill in the sand forces your body to get acclimated to stabilizing itself while moving in a variety of directions. Check out the video player above for a demonstration.
Burpee to Broad Jumps
Running in the sand is great, but it isn't the only movement worth performing. Burpee to Broad Jumps are a challenging full-body exercise that forces you to stabilize yourself while putting your body in a wide variety of positions. Broad Jumps are a perfect exercise to perform in the sand, since they allow you to land softly and lessen the impact your legs endure when performing them on a harder surface.
The Box Drill focuses on your ability to change directions quickly and fluidly. When performed in sand, it requires you to focus on good body mechanics to make effective cuts. Shuffling in the sand really challenges your glutes and hips, and this drill will quickly have you feeling the burn.
Walking Lunges are great at the beginning or the end of your beach workout. If you have dumbbells or a weight you can carry, great. If not, Walking Lunges are still awesome to do on the beach. They target the glutes and hamstrings, and the instability of the sand ratchets up their effectiveness. You can alternate sets of Walking Lunges with sets of Reverse Walking Lunges, which will challenge your lower body in a different way.
Sprinting is all about the amount of force you can create by driving your feet into the ground. By sprinting on sand, you add a new dimension of instability. Forcing your body to adapt to the sand will make you be able to move faster when you run on solid ground. You can experiment with your starting position for Short Sprints by including drills like Scrample Ups or Falling Starts. Sprinting for a short distance like 10-20 yards ensures you won't get burned out after only a couple of reps.
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