3 CROSS-TRAINING TIPS These easy-to-follow exercises will help anyone – from total beginners to elites – become a stronger, healthier, more balanced runner.


Running is wonderful, obviously. But it shouldn’t be all that you do, even if you're a pro. If you want to get stronger (or faster), you need to incorporate some cross-training into your schedule, too. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym every week, but you should regularly perform exercises and stretches that help build balance and mobility.

To get started, try these basic, yet super-effective exercises from Coach John Smith, a legendary sprinting champion, world record holder and elite Nike coach. Then watch professional sprinter English Gardner break down every move.



WHY: When workouts get tough and you begin to get tired, a strong upper body will help you push through, using proper form.

HOW: Do the perfect push-up (or 20). Get in plank position, with hands directly under shoulders, legs extended behind you, back flat, abs engaged, toes tucked under. Bend elbows to lower body toward floor in a straight line. Pause when your chest hits the ground, and then push back up in a controlled manner, maintaining proper form throughout.

WHILE YOU RUN: Keep your shoulders relaxed, your hands loose (no fists!) and your elbows pumping behind you.



WHY: Your abs and back muscles are responsible for keeping your stability, balance and posture in check while you run.

HOW: Do classic sit-ups. Keep both feet firmly planted on the ground, with knees bent and back flat. Without straining your neck, engage your abs and lift your upper back and shoulders off the floor. Once you’ve reached the top of the movement, slowly return to start.

WHILE YOU RUN: Stand tall, making sure your posture is strong, yet relaxed.



WHY: Working your quads, hips and glutes will improve mobility and flexibility, and help protect you from some of the most common running injuries.

HOW: Do high-knees. Push off and land on the front third of your foot (not your heel!), bringing your knee above your waistline with every lift. Pump your arms back and forth and avoid leaning too far back or too far forward as you go. Even though it’s a faster paced drill, take your time and stay focused on the movement.

WHILE YOU RUN: Use big, extended movements to prepare your body for more powerful strides. And allow every step to propel you forward, rather than upward.

Want more cross-training tips? Check out additional exercises and expert advice here.


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