Cross Training with Box Drills
Box drills are an excellent addition to any runner’s regimen—especially for anyone desiring a quick burst of speed. Some gyms are starting to put out boxes in the free weight area, which shows their up-and-coming popularity. For those unfamiliar with box drills, the “boxes” are simply very sturdy elevated platforms. Generally there are a series of boxes—small, medium, and large.
If you are working on speed, try standing on top of the box and allowing yourself to “fall” (on your feet) to the ground. When you reach the ground, you pounce off as quickly as possible landing back on top of the box. Resting or re-balancing is done on top of the box for this drill. You’ll do 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps. You can add light ankle weights or dumb bells. You don’t really want to add any heavy weights to a “burst-of-speed” drill like this one.
If you are more interested in using the box drills for strength training, you can add a weight bar over your shoulders, a backpack, heavier ankle weights and dumb bells. For strength training, you’ll base your movements from the ground and work on jumping up (rather than starting on top of the box and hopping down). You can jump two-footed or one-footed. If you are trying one-footed jumps, this will not only improve strength but also balance and core strength. For your first one-footed jumps, try the smallest box available first without weights. You can also work on lateral movements with a small box. Rather than hopping up and down on the box, you’ll simply hop from side to side. This can be both a strength and speed drill.
Don’t forget that cross training is an important part of becoming a stellar runner. Plus, you’ll need time to listen to your other workout music than just your MP3 running tracks!