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5 Exercises That Will Get You In Better Shape Than Running

July 7, 2015

There's no question about it: Most people think that running is the best way to get in shape, whether you're looking to lose weight or just boost your fitness level. But unless you're all out sprinting or running up hills, there are several high-intensity exercises that will give you more bang for your buck than simply going for a steady-paced run ever will.

So for those of us who aren't the biggest fans of running, or if you're just looking to mix things up a bit, here are five awesome exercises that will get you in better shape than running:

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1. Burpees

Burpees are an amazing full-body exercise that will leave you feeling breathless, sweaty and like you've conquered the world. Try doing 100 for time for a real challenge! When doing burpees, try and focus on keeping your core tight and going as fast as possible to get the most out of the exercise. Watch the video below for a quick demonstration:

2. Tuck Jumps

If you're looking to burn calories and build incredible endurance quickly, look no further. Tuck jumps offer an amazing plyometric exercise that you can do with no equipment and very little space.

When doing tuck jumps, try and link as many together as you can before stopping to rest. Make sure to bring your knees up as high as you can towards your chest. Watch me do a tuck jump below:

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3. Jumping Rope

There's a reason athletes such as boxers include jump roping as a regular part of their workout routine: It's an amazing way to burn calories, get your heart rate up and build stamina in a very short amount of time. Try mixing up your basic jump roping with variations like high knees and double unders. If you're not convinced yet, here’s why you should jump rope every day.

4. High Knees

Switch up your usual long run by doing high-knee sprints to get more out of your workout. These basically mimic running in place, but since you'll be working a lot harder (think: as fast as you possibly can) than you would during a regular jog, you'll burn more calories, boost your stamina and get super sweaty in a short amount of time. Here's a quick tutorial:

5. Long Jumps

This staple of track athletes will leave your legs feeling super tired and help to build a strong, muscular lower body and core. Try doing three sets of 10-20 and feel the burn. Tip: If you don't have a lot of space to jump, you can always do a couple of jumps, turn around, then jump back the way you came from. In this video, I'm doing them in the backyard:

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Photo courtesy of the author

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Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT
Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT
Certified Personal Trainer

Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT is the author of The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Bodyweight and a leading expert on high intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight fitness. She currently lives in Venice, California, and is a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

From trying her first push up in college, to teaching herself to do pull ups and handstands, Krista is living proof of her philosophy that everybody is an athlete. She has helped tens of thousands of people to unlock their full athletic potential through her 12 Minute Athlete HIIT Workouts app and 12 Minute Athlete blog. You can find her @12minuteathlete on all social platforms.