6 Cross-Training Exercises That’ll Boost Your Running Performance

POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly / AsiaVision

Attention all runners: adding 20 push-ups to your routine jogs could give you a leg-up when it comes to boosting performance and staying healthy.

Cross training is important for strengthening your muscles and connective tissues for injury prevention and rehabilitation,” Victoria O’Neil, an NASM-certified personal trainer and coach for STRIDE, explains.

According to O’Neil, building your upper and lower body, core, and feet muscles can also enhance your stability, endurance, forward propulsion, breathing, posture, balance, stride, coordination, and mobility.

By building leaner muscles, you’re increasing your metabolism, too, which can help to up your speed, muscle control, and oxygen intake, O’Neil adds.

So, if you’re looking to beat your personal record (and feel good while doing it), try out Steve Stonehouse, an NASM-certified personal trainer, and Courtney Braun’s, an ACSM-certified personal trainer, cross-training exercises ahead about two to three times a week, alternating with the days you run.

Related: A Trainer and Marathoner Shares the Ultimate Strength-Training Program For Runners

Squat Jumps

  • Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at the knees as you sit your hips back and down to at least knee height. Your weight should be on your heels.
  • Explode back up into a jump before returning to a squat position.
  • Repeat this movement until you’ve completed 20 squat jumps.

Side Lunge and Knee Drive

  • From a standing position, step your right foot out to the side, bend your right knee, and sit your hips back and down. Your left leg should be extended out to the left side.
  • Squeeze your quads and glutes and press through that same right foot to propel yourself back up.
  • In one fluid motion, bend and drive that right knee up in front of you and toward your chest as you stand on the left leg.
  • Return to the side lunge position. Repeat this series 10 times on your right leg before performing 10 reps on your left leg.

Curtsy Lunge and Oblique Crunch

  • From a standing position, take a long step back and across the midline of your body with your right foot – bend both knees 90 degrees to perform a lunge.
  • Standing back up, lift your right knee up and out to the side while crunching your torso in one fluid motion before returning to your curtsy lunge position.
  • Complete 10 reps on your right leg before performing 10 rounds on your left side.

Glute Bridges

  • Lay down on your back, bend your knees, and bring your heels in close to your glutes.
  • Drive your heels into the ground and push your hips up, squeezing your glutes – your upper back should stay on the ground.
  • Lower your hips back to the floor and repeat for 20 rounds.


  • Lay down on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you.
  • Squeezing the muscles around your lower back and your glutes, lift your chest and arms up off the ground. Then, slowly lower them back down to the floor.
  • Repeat for 20 rounds.


  • From a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, lower yourself toward the ground by bending your elbows 90-degrees. Then, push yourself back up.
  • Complete 20 reps.

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