Nov 1, 2018
5 basic exercises that produce results
By Training & Conditioning

track and field runnerBasic exercises are often the most effective. When it comes to improving overall athleticism, there are a handful of relatively simple yet effective exercises that are easy to learn and require minimal equipment. These can be great for athletes in any sport and at any level of training.

   » ALSO SEE: 4 simple exercises that teach athletes to bend

1. Jump rope.

According to, jumping rope has a variety of benefits that can often be overlooked.

  • Coordination: To jump rope successfully, athletes need to have a certain level of coordination. As they do more reps, they can improve their coordination and have better control over their bodies.
  • Endurance: Even though it looks easy, jumping rope can be challenging, especially if done for an extended period of time. Challenge athletes to jump rope for more than five minutes, and you will help build their endurance.
  • Ankle and foot stability: Jumping rope can strengthen the muscles and tendons in the ankles, which can help prevent injuries.
  • Finesse: Athletes need to be in tune with the rope and get their timing down. This helps even the biggest and most powerful athletes improve their footwork and finesse.

2. Burpees.

This probably isn’t your athletes’ favorite exercise. It’s challenging and requires a lot of energy. But if you explain the benefits that burpees provide, that might change how they look at it.

  • Endurance: If done on a regular basis, burpees are a great way to build endurance. They can tire athletes out very quickly, but if you build it into your conditioning regimen, burpees will quickly whip them into great shape. To test your athletes’ endurance, have them try to do 50 burpees as fast as possible, and then encourage them to go even faster the next time.
  • Strength: While other exercises might build the big power muscles, burpees can help strengthen smaller muscles in the core, arms, chest, hips, and legs, all of which will aid in athletic performance.

3. Kettlebell swing. refers to the kettlebell swing as “one of the best exercises on the planet.” That’s because it’s a simple yet great way to build athletic strength and power.

  • Power: The kettlebell swing helps athletes increase their overall power output, which is a huge factor in athletic success.
  • Strength: This exercise is also great for strengthening a variety of muscles throughout the entire body, especially those along the posterior chain, such as the hamstrings, glutes, and erector spinae.

4. Sprints.

Perhaps no exercise is more dreaded than sprints, but they are essential to improving overall athleticism.

  • Power: Sprinting builds explosive power. Particularly when an athlete starts firing their muscles to go from resting to full speed, they are training their body to become more explosive.
  • Speed: If an athlete wants to get faster, sprinting is a must. There’s just no way around this one.
  • Endurance: Research has shown that sprint interval training actually improves aerobic performance. Just be sure not to overdo it, or else you can put too much stress on your athletes’ bodies.
  • Strength: Sprinting builds muscle in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
  • Mental toughness: Since sprinting is so demanding on the mind, athletes will have to use their mental strength in order to overcome the challenge, which is an essential skill in any sport.

5. Squat jumps.

As mentioned before, jumping is a great way to build athleticism, and adding the squatting aspect also helps build leg strength.

  • Power: Squat jumps are one of the best jumping forms for building power. Make sure that athletes are exploding up on each jump and going all the way down to parallel when they get back in the squat. This will help them get the most out of the exercise.
  • Strength: Doing a squat along with a jump gives the lower body a challenging workout, helping build strength in an important area.

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