Top 15 Running Cross Training Workouts

Roughly 90 per cent of people who partake in running will face a sports-related injury at some time in their journey, as revealed in a study printed in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Although strength training can increase one’s resilience, many runners still choose to avoid weights.

Scott Johnston, an elite mountain athlete and coach, as well as co-author of the book “Training for the Uphill Athlete” with Kilian Jornet, believes that any hesitancy people have about weightlifting is simply an excuse.

Doing strength exercises will help to reinforce any physical areas that may be lacking and improve how the body moves, but their advantages reach further than just avoiding getting hurt. Stronger legs will also improve your running economy.

Your legs become less effective as they become exhausted, meaning that you need to use up more energy with each step while you have the least amount of strength left. Johnston states that it is akin to getting poorer fuel consumption the more distant you get in a competition. Training your muscles with weights makes them more resilient to fatigue and cancels out the tiring impact.

Try including one or two hours of a different type of exercise in addition to your current running regimen, but be mindful to not do too much.

Jason Koop, a running coach and director of coaching for Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado, claims that taking time off to rest is the most effective way to become a tougher runner. You should only do a strength training program if you have extra time and energy available. If you are aiming to be a long-term runner, consider our list of the best exercises for you.

The Best Cross-Training Workout for Runners

Johnston’s exercise program covers all the major muscle groups that runners rely on. Perform the exercises in succession without any pauses in between. Take a break of sixty seconds between each activity and after completing the cycle of exercises, rest for three minutes.

Begin with doing two cycles and gradually increase to four, two times a week with a minimum of 48 hours of rest in between for optimal healing. Start exercising by going for a mild run or skipping rope for a few minutes, and do some stretches that involve movement. It is more important to do the exercises correctly than to do more of them.

The goal of these workouts is not to build muscle, so don’t continue until exhaustion (which encourages muscle growth). When you are beginning, try to use lighter weights while doing more repetitions. As you become more powerful, you should increase the weight and reduce the number of repetitions, as well as increase the intensity.

1. Squat with Resistance Band

This phrase suggests that the quads, glutes, and hip abductors can be strengthened to increase stability and regulation of the knees.

Put a loop of resistance band specific to your knees and stay upright with your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Keep your torso straight, bring your shoulders back and slightly down, and tighten your abdominal muscles.

Move your weight back onto your heels, and lower yourself until your legs are level with the floor. Push through the heels to stand back up.

Push your knees away from each other against the band during the exercise to keep them equal. Pay attention to the proper way to move and ensure that your knees are in the right position while keeping your spine straight.

Begin only using your weight as resistance, and do 20 repetitions until you are no longer able to maintain the correct form. In several weeks, build up force with a bulletproof vest, a kettlebell (grip it in front of your torso), or a barbell placed on your shoulder area. Reduce weighted reps to six to eight per set.

2. Push-Up to Side Plank (with Hip Dip)

Exercising the upper body and centre of the body, including the obliques, helps keep posture and stability when running.

Begin by getting on the ground in the standard plank position, with your palms just below your shoulders, legs close together, and a straight back. Ensure that your arms are completely outstretched and that your feet are not more than a foot apart.

Do a stringent press-up: lower your body until your arms are even with the floor, with your elbows pointing behind you, and then raise yourself up to the original position, maintaining a firm plank the whole time.

Shift into a side plank position by turning onto one side so that the hip is at a right angle to the floor, the feet are touching each other, and your top arm is expanded reaching towards the ceiling. Drop your hips toward the floor, then lift them back up, emphasizing the obliques.

Come back up to the high push-up position, and perform the same sequence of the push-up and the accompanying exercise on the other side. Alternate sides every rep.

If a regular push-up proves too difficult, begin by placing your hands on something elevated such as a platform, bench, or even a tabletop at a higher level. You could also try the exercise on your knees as well.

When you can do more than ten repetitions of this exercise with ease, you can make it harder by putting your feet on a box, a bench, or an exercise ball, or by wearing a vest with extra weight. For additional upper-body strength training, grasp a pair of lightweight dumbbells. Eight reps total.

Develops the muscles around the hips to provide increased stability and control of the knees.

Position yourself with your feet close together and bend your knees slightly, then tie a resistance band around your ankles. Put your hands on your hips and hold them at the same level. Step aside with a distance equal to the width of your hips and move your second foot slowly to join the first one.

Take 12 to 15 steps in one direction, and then backtrack in the opposite direction. Pay close attention to proper form. Ensure that you extend your feet when taking Three to four batches of 20 strides in both directions or until your technique falters.

4. Forearm Plank

Provides strength and steadiness in the abdominal muscles by using an immovable position.

Kneel down, placing your elbows directly under your shoulders and your forearms shoulder-width apart on the floor. Stretch out your legs behind you, making sure your feet are touching and your toenails are tucked underneath, forming a flat line starting at your heels and finishing at the top of your head.

Engage your core. Maintain good posture; don’t allow your back to slump, bend, or tilt at the hips. Keep your chin lifted to ensure your head is aligned with your spine. Maintain this posture until your body starts to lose its proper shape (when your hips drop or rise).

Remember to breathe. Start by doing multiple short holds of 15 seconds, with 15 to 30 seconds of rest in between, and move towards gradually getting up to a minute of holding the form in place.

If one minute plank is too simple, try doing planks with three points of contact with the ground (a change in which limb is lifted each set), wear a vest with additional weight or have a friend add a plate weight onto your back.

5. Powerful Bodyweight Arm 

Neglecting the muscle groups in the arms of a runner can be easy to do as they may not seem to be critical. Though it may not look like it, our arms are capable of making a huge impact when we are tired or running uphill.

Do you wish to include arm exercises in your routine but don’t own any dumbbells? Then this workout is for you. This intense arm routine does not need any special tools and makes use of bodyweight-based moves to give resistance and tone and strengthen your arms for your next race.

6. 20-Minute Recovery Yoga 

One of the best ways for runners to cross-train is to do active stretching exercises. If you would like to do a form of exercise that demands little effort and allows for an easy recovery afterwards, this yoga exercise is a perfect choice.

This Recovery Yoga Sequence is an excellent choice if you do a tough session or a lengthy run straight before it.

These yoga poses are tailored to runners needing to strengthen the major muscles used for running. You will be rejuvenated and invigorated after completing your cross-training session, ready to tackle the next week of hard workouts!

7. 15-Minute Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere

When you don’t have much time, it can seem like a difficult task to find an exercise session that still melts fat and increases strength. This no-equipment bodyweight exercise is brief but intense, taking less than a quarter of an hour to do.

This cross-training exercise regimen includes a selection of powerful HIIT drills to rapidly boost your heart rate and switches back and forth between dynamic and static activity for optimal gains in strength.

You could be astounded at what you can achieve in a quarter of an hour.

8. The Ultimate Spell Your Name Alphabet 

Enjoy creating a personalized fitness routine instead of adhering to a set plan. This Spell Your Name Alphabet Workout is a great cross-training exercise that enables you to control the duration and intensity of your workout.

In this physical activity, each letter of the alphabet is paired with a particular exercise.

Write the spelling of your moniker, your top choice expression, the four weeks, or anything else that you can think of. If you wish for an extensive workout, search for an extended expression; however, if you’re looking for a rapid strength and fitness routine, just use your name.

9. 20-Minute Tabata Core Challenge 

The core of your body is the main area of power throughout your whole body. Having a solid centre can assist you with improving your stance, raising your digestion, and even refining your running form.

Having a stable midsection is known to enhance your running performance, so putting in some extra effort to work on your core should really be beneficial.

This Tabata Core Challenge is fast and straightforward yet highly potent.

The Tabata system of exercise provides an uncomplicated approach whilst still allowing your abdominals to feel a significant impact. This is an excellent way for runners to rapidly firm and reinforce their core muscles.

10. Full Body 30-MinuteAt Home HIIT Workout

The joy and contentment experienced after a demanding and perspiring exercise routine cannot be rivalled Are you in search of a way to get your cardio in without going to the gym? Well, this 30 Minute Full Body HIIT Workout could be just the thing for you.

This exercise session is designed to maximize the intensity for thirty minutes through the use of assorted movements that include bodyweight exercises. This workout consists of bounding and rapid motions to accelerate your pulse and enables you to shed a lot of calories. You’ll definitely feel the burn with this HIIT Workout!

11. Lucky 7 Workout for a Full Body Burn

Getting into a dull and monotonous exercise pattern can be effortless. This exercise regimen puts an entertaining spin on your workout by focusing on sevens. This workout consists of 7 different exercises, each with 7 repetitions, with a total of 7 sets. You’re sure to be lucky with this routine!

This exercise routine focuses on all areas of your body with a mix of dynamic and isometric movements. The fast-paced nature of this exercise routine makes it feel like it is passing in the blink of an eye with each series of exercises.

12. Stability Ball Workout for Full Body Strength

Strength training is a must for any runner’s workout plan, and this Stability Ball exercise will provide the extra intensity that you need.

The use of a stability ball adds balance to each strength exercise done in a class setting. This exercise is short but extremely effective for building up the whole body. It will be necessary for you to attempt this exercise a couple of times and pay attention to how your strength and stability enhancements.

13. 30-Minute Full Body Strengthening 

This Full Body Strengthening Routine combines a range of key strength training activities for joggers into one big workout. This exercise regimen consists of workouts to fortify your arms, core, legs, glutes, hips and much more.

Include this Strengthening Workout in your schedule each week to keep your muscles utilized when running.

These exercises offer a great opportunity to stay fit on the go and can assist in preventing injuries when training increases – making it a superb cross-exercise for those who run.

14. The Ultimate Pyramid Workout for Runner’s Strength

Doing the same strength training workouts every week can become tiresome. No matter how useful they can seem, your body will adjust and then it’s too late–your long workout regimen won’t be giving you the strength gains you expected.

This Runner’s Strength Pyramid Workout is an excellent variation of a regular strength exercise regimen.

This exercise regimen follows a pyramid-like structure, with multiple levels of activity repeated for a specific amount of times. Give this exercise a go to mix up the routine and make things more exciting!

15. 30-Minute Spin Workout for an Epic Calorie Burn

When your children are entertaining themselves in the living room and your spouse is cosied up enjoying a film, it can be challenging to exercise at home and remain concentrated.

If it becomes increasingly hard to stay focused while doing workouts at home, why not try going to the gym and cross-training on a stationary bike?

This 30 Minute Spin Workout mixes in hills, sprints and rest stops to give your body a workout that lasts the full period. Go for an exercise routine that involves spinning rapidly, running uphill, simple saddling drills, and many more. Give the gym a go to make your cycling session pass quickly!

It is a good idea to have a variety of cross-training exercises for runners in your routine, as it will help to make your exercise schedule more interesting when it gets too repetitive.

Doing the same exercise routine every week makes it so that your body is familiar with the movements, resulting in no growth in terms of strength and physical fitness.

Work through the workouts on this list one at a time and take your time, or pick a few favourites when you feel like your routine isn’t satisfactory.


It is essential to include different kinds of exercise in a running program, but these new forms of activity need not take up a lot of time. Keep experimenting with various forms of cross-training until you discover something that excites you – and your running performance will benefit.


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