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Outdoor/Indoor Workout Swaps: Hill Repeats to Pylometrics

When the weather turns frightful, get creative with your sweat sesh. Jumps can help simulate hills!

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What is your definition of perfect running weather? A cool spring morning with fresh air from a recent rainfall? A warm summer evening? A crisp autumn a.m.? One thing is certain: It is most likely not a gloomy winter day with a chance of the white stuff. Cold temps call less for outdoor run gear and more for indoor blankets and warm bevvies.

However, there are other indoor options to get your sweat on besides the dreaded treadmill. Try this workout to replicate the feeling of running hills.

Outside: Hill Repetitions
Inside: Pylometrics

Hill repetitions are a great way to add power to your stride. A typical session comprises 8 to 10 short runs up a hill, followed by a 2-minute recovery jog, all sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool-down.

Related: Tips for Treadmill Running

Jumping exercises, or plyometrics, make the legs more powerful—much the same as hill sprints do. A 2014 study by Chilean researchers found that experienced runners who added plyometrics to their training program for six weeks improved their race times by almost 4 percent. Plus they are fun!

You need…
An aerobic step or other platform that is 12 to 18 inches high and about a foot wide. If you’re getting crafty, use a step on your staircase or a soup can for the side hurdle.

Perform 5 minutes of slow jogging around available space, then 10 walking lunges per leg. Move on to these exercises, resting for 90 seconds after each.

Side Hurdle Jump
Stand with the step to your right. Lift your right foot, push off the floor with your left foot and hurdle sideways over the step, landing on your right foot. Repeat in the other direction. Complete a total of 12 side hurdle jumps in each direction.

Related: 6 Pylometric Jumps

Drop Jump
Stand tall on top of the aerobic step. Bend your knees slightly and leap forward, landing on the floor with both feet. Step back onto the platform and jump again for a total of 20 jumps.

Related: Basics of Foam Rolling

Split Squat Jump
Start in lunge position with your right foot in front and your left foot on the step behind you. Lower yourself down into a deep lunge and then leap upward as high as possible. In midair, reverse the position of your legs. When you land, sink down immediately into another lunge and then leap again. Complete 10 jumps in each position for 20 total jumps. If you feel more comfortable, leave the step out of the equation and perform jumping lunges from the ground.

Related: 6 Tips for Running While Traveling

Single-Leg Jump
Stand on your right leg facing the step. Bend your right knee, push off the floor and leap up onto the step. Plant your foot and leap backward to the floor, landing on your right foot. Complete 10 single-leg jumps, rest 15 seconds and then do 10 more with your left leg.

Related: 5 Critical Winter Running Tips

If you’re new to this workout swap, complete each exercise one time. After a few weeks, add a second circuit. Always cool down with 5 minutes of slow jogging.

Photography by James Farrell