Finding cross training workouts for runners should be easy, but often comes as a bit of a challenge. Not only can the type of workouts effect what strength you build and how much, but they also play a role in your enjoyment of the training season.
Taking the time to learn what best cross training for runners is will help boost your strength, endurance, fitness and attitude during training.
What is a cross training workout for runners?
In most cases, a training plan that designates a “cross training” day usually refers to any type of exercise besides running. Most cross training workouts for runners typically involve an activity that is similar in nature – aka, cardio.
On the other hand, strength training usually refers to (you guessed it), more strength based workouts. These activities are a bit more stationary, less focused on increasing the heart rate and more focused on increasing resistance.
Does cross training make you a better runner?
In just about any situation, adding cross training workouts on a weekly basis has the potential to improve your running. Cross training helps build strength and endurance in muscles that may otherwise be ignored on the run. It helps prevent muscle imbalances, which can reduce the risk of injuries.
Cross training workouts also help mix things up during training to prevent overtraining or burnout.
What are good cross training workouts for runners?
Activities such as walking, hiking, bike riding, HIIT workouts, or using the elliptical or spin bike are great examples of running-specific cross training.
Runners can benefit from cross training workouts of any kind. A day off from running prevents overtraining, while adding a different type of activity builds full body strength and endurance.
How to find the best cross training for runners?
With so much information out there, it can be a bit difficult to narrow down the best cross training workouts for runners. There are so many workouts out there that it can be challenging to decipher which workouts are the most beneficial.
The best cross training workouts for runners often involve very little equipment. Most cross training can be completed effectively using just your bodyweight, both to create resistance and increase your heart rate.
To make the search a bit easier, we’ve filtered out 12 of the best cross training workouts for runners. These workouts require minimal equipment, yet are a great way to maintain fitness, reduce muscle imbalances and keep you energized and motivated during training.
12 Best Cross Training Workouts for Runners
1. 30 Minute Cross Training Workout Challenge
If you’re looking for a high intensity cross training workout – this 30 minute challenge is a must. The challenge is simple: complete all exercises three times, within 30 minutes. That sounds easy, right? Wrong!
With a combination of bodyweight exercises that’ll quickly get your heart pumping, this cross training workout challenge will have you burning calories like crazy. It’s a great choice for runners hoping to increase their fitness level with each workout.
2. Powerful Bodyweight Arm Workout
It’s so easy to neglect those seemingly “unimportant” muscles as a runner – aka, the arm muscles. While it may seem like our arms play a very insignificant role in our running, they actually have the ability to contribute greatly when we are fatigued or running uphill.
Want to incorporate some arm exercises but don’t have any dumbbells? Then this workout is for you. With no equipment required, this Powerful Arm Workout incorporates a variety of bodyweight exercises to create resistance and strengthen and tone those arms for your next run.
3. 20 Minute Recovery Yoga Routine for Runners
Some of the best cross training workouts for runners involve nothing more than some active stretching. If you’re looking for a low impact, easy recovery workout, this yoga routine is for you.
This Recovery Yoga Routine is ideal if your cross training day falls right after a long run or hard workout. These yoga poses are specifically targeted towards runners and focus on all of the major running muscles. You’ll finish your cross training workout feeling refreshed and rejuvenated for a new week of hard training!
4. 15 Minute Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere
When you’re short on time, it can feel nearly impossible to find a workout that still burns calories and helps you gain strength. This Bodyweight Workout requires no extra equipment and takes less than 15 minutes to complete – but is still intense as can be.
This cross training workout combines a variety of some of the most intense HIIT exercises to quickly increase your heart rate, while alternating between dynamic and isometric exercises to provide maximum strength gain. You might surprise yourself by what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.
5. The Ultimate Spell Your Name Alphabet Workout
Sometimes it’s fun to make your own workout and not have to follow a structured plan. If you’re looking for a cross training workout that puts you in charge of length and intensity, try this Spell Your Name Alphabet Workout.
In this cross training workout, each letter of the alphabet corresponds with a designated exercise. Try spelling out your name, your favorite word, the month, or anything else you can come up with. Look for a long phrase if you’re wanting a lengthy workout, or stick to just your name for a quick cross training session.
6. 20 Minute Tabata Core Challenge for Runners
Your core is the central area of strength for your entire body. A strong core can help improve your posture, increase your metabolism, and even improve your running form. It’s no secret that having a strong core will help you on the run, so taking the time to focus on your core each week will definitely pay off.
This Tabata Core Challenge is quick and simple, but still incredibly effective. The unique Tabata workout structure helps keep the workout simple while your abs are burning like crazy. This cross training for runners is a great way to tighten, tone and strengthen your core in a short amount of time.
7. Full Body 30 Minute At Home HIIT Workout
There’s hardly anything better than the satisfaction you feel after a tough, sweaty workout. If you’re looking for a cardio workout that won’t involve heading to the gym, this Full Body 30 Minute HIIT Workout might be just the right fit.
This workout keeps the intensity high for 30 minutes with a variety of different dynamic bodyweight exercises. These exercises involve jumping and quick movements to increase your heart rate and help you burn a ton of calories. You’ll definitely feel the burn with this HIIT Workout!
8. Lucky 7 Workout for a Full Body Burn
It’s easy to get stuck in a workout rut that can feel boring and redundant. This Lucky 7s Workout mixes things up with a fun theme: 7s. With 7 exercises, 7 repetitions and 7 sets, this workout is sure to bring you some luck.
This workout targets your entire body with a variety of dynamic and isometric exercises. The quick repetitions make this workout feel like it is flying by with each set.
9. Stability Ball Workout for Full Body Strength
Strength training is an essential part of any runner’s training plan, and this Stability Ball Workout takes strength training to the next level.
The stability ball enhances each class strength exercise by adding an element of balance to the mix. This workout is quick but incredibly efficient for strengthening the entire body. You’ll have to try this workout a few times and see how your strength and balance improves.
10. 30 Minute Full Body Strengthening Workout
This Full Body Strengthening Workout combines a variety of key strength training exercises for runners into one massive workout. With exercises that strengthen your arms, core, legs, glutes, hips and much more, this workout has it all.
Try incorporating this Strengthening Workout on a weekly basis to ensure you running muscles stay strong and active throughout training. These exercises are a great way to stay strong on the run and help avoid injury when training ramps up – making it the perfect cross training for runners.
11. The Ultimate Pyramid Workout for Runner’s Strength
Sometimes completing the same strength training exercises week after week can begin to feel redundant. No matter how beneficial they may be, your body begins to adapt and before you know it, your lengthy strength training session is no longer helping you get stronger.
This Pyramid Workout for Runner’s Strength is a great way to mix up your usual strength training workout with a pyramid style. This workout breaks down into a pyramid, with a variety of different levels of exercises repeated for a certain number of repetitions. Try this workout to change up the routine and keep things interesting!
12. 30 Minute Spin Workout for an Epic Calorie Burn
When your kids are playing in the living room or your husband is snuggled in watching a movie, it can be hard to workout at home and stay focused. If it’s becoming especially challenging to stay on track with at home workouts, try heading to the gym for a great cross training workout on the spin bike.
This 30 Minute Spin Workout incorporates a variety of intervals, hills and recovery to keep you on your toes the entire time. Spin through some sprints, hills, easy saddle sessions and more during this workout. Try it out at the gym to make your time on the bike fly by!
Keeping these cross training workouts for runners in your list of favorites is a great way to mix things up when your routine begins to feel stale. Completing the same workout week after week allows your body to adapt to the exercises, which eventually means that you won’t be gaining any new strength or fitness.
Take your time working through each workout on this list, or browse through and pick a few of your favorites when your routine has gotten stale.
Cross training for runners is key to any training plan, but incorporating a few different workouts each week doesn’t have to involve a lot of time. Continue to try different forms of cross training until you find an activity that you love – and your running will thank you.
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