Cross-training is a great way to develop different muscle groups and a new set of skills to support your running. Alternative forms of exercise have definite benefits such as improved fitness, quicker recovery, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. In the 3 best fitness exercises to boost your cross-training, we’ll look at your opportunities to vary your running training.
Adapting fitness exercises as a part of your running program reduces the boredom that comes in after many weeks of the same one-sided running training routines. Cross-training allows you to vary the stress placed on specific ‘running’ muscles and develop your cardiovascular system in another way. It also builds strength and flexibility in muscles that running doesn’t utilize.
Fitness Exercises to Boost Your Cross-Training
After months of running with the same movements, your body becomes very efficient at performing these movements. Even though it’s great for competition, it can limit the amount of overall fitness you possess and reduces the actual fitness you gain while running.
By performing cross-training, the load from your running movements is relieved, particularly when you land for each running step. It reduces the risk of repetitive strain injury and provides additional benefits.
So, when you develop a cross-training routine as a runner 1 – 2 times a week, the goal is to choose fitness exercises that require more gentle movements for Cardio training or specific strength training exercises. Below are 3 great fitness exercises to boost your cross-training that I have used for many years with success as competition runner.
For many people, whether you are beginner or an experienced runner, running can be hard on the joints and tendons. Although a treadmill is far more gentle than running outdoors, even this may require using other training in between, so as not to strain the body too much. An Elliptical trainer also called cross trainer comes in here as an ideal supplement to your running training.
With the cross trainer, you get the same good cardio training/endurance training as with running training. The same movements and muscle groups are used, but you avoid the shock load on your knees and back from when you land on the asphalt.
Tendons and ligaments are very exposed during running, and you can therefore easily get injured. It takes a long time to build up tendons and joints that can withstand this load during running. At the same time, with a good running shape, you can still run too much, and thus also overload the body.
If you are a beginner, it may be a good idea to build your shape and strengthen your body step by step, by supplementing the running training with training on the Elliptical Trainer trainer 1-3 times a week. Feel free to take the same distance with the same intensity as you had planned for the run.
The same applies to runners who are used to running many kilometers a week. The body has become accustomed to recovering quickly, and you may feel that you can just keep running. But it can overload the body over time.
So it’ll be reasonable to be injury-preventive and make sure to use the elliptical trainer once in a while. You can switch out a run from time to time, compared to spending several months on a cross trainer for rehabilitation if you end up with an injury.
A rule of thumb is if you one day feel soreness and doubt about whether you should run, then take a few days off from running and use the cross trainer. Then you prevent a possible injury get rest and are ready again faster. make sure to achieve the same heart rate/intensity as when you run.
Best Cross-Training Exercises From home
Cross-Training exercises are most often performed in the gym or in a CrossFit center. But fortunately, you can easily perform effective cross-training at home ex. on your living room floor.
Yoga mat and youtube videos
Yoga as cross-training can help you Avoid injuries and burnout from overtraining, raise your body awareness and improve your mindset which is particular essential during a long training period for a long-distance race such as a marathon – as beginner, you can start here.
Essential training equipment for training at home is a good training mat. The training mat helps you with more comfortable training and ensures that you stand non-slip throughout your training so you get the best out of it.
An exercise mat comes in many different variants and different lengths, widths, colors, and materials. Regardless of what kind of training you want to do at home, an exercise mat is a very good investment for you. Maybe you are looking for a mat for your yoga and stretching!
For example, if you want to do stretching exercises, you can choose an extra thick yoga mat, as I did for my physical exercises at home during the pandemic. I also found a stretching exercise youtube video with 60 Mio. views that I used every day for a long period. You can find the right training mat for you and your needs here!
Kettlebell training is obvious as cross-training for runners, as strength training you can perform in the gym and from home. You can choose kettle training exactly as you want and can. There are different weights and sizes to choose from. You don’t need a huge home gym to get whole body training. If you only have a kettlebell, you already have all opportunities for a good cross-training session.
Kettlebell training is fun and a great fitness exercise – once you know the technique, which is the alpha omega if you want to get the most out of your training and not end up with injuries. A kettlebell workout is therefore excellent when you want to challenge your fitness, while at the same time getting stronger and getting a good variety of muscle groups trained.
Another aspect that kettlebell training gives you is the development of fast muscle fibers. Therefore, an important part of the exercise is, that you use the explosive energy to complete the exercise correctly. Then you get trained both the fast and slow muscle fibers.
The benefits of kettlebell training are that you can complete an entire workout in just 15-30 minutes depending on your warm-up. You get your heart rate up, sweat on your forehead, and use muscles, so there’s no doubt that you will be sore the next day as beginner, which you should interpret as a good sign that it’s working. Kettlebell training strengthens your back in particular, and thus your upright posture for long running distances. As beginner, you can start with the video below:
Benefits of Performing Fitness Exercises as Cross-Training
- Research shows that cross-training offers runners many benefits. Whether you are a beginner runner or an experienced marathon runner, there are several reasons why you should consider cross-training.
- It helps balance your muscle groups. Cross-training can help strengthen muscles that are used less during running. You may want to focus on certain areas, such as your upper body and especially back muscles, which do not work as hard while running but are used to maintain your posture.
- You can continue training with certain injuries, giving them enough time to heal. Injured runners are sometimes told by their doctor to take a break from running while they recover from the injury. However, with certain injuries, you can continue with cross-training.
- You will maintain or even improve your cardiovascular system. Many forms of cross-training are excellent cardiovascular exercises, so they are based on the same benefits as running.
- It reduces the risk of injuries. By balancing weaker muscles with stronger ones, you can help reduce the risk of injury. Using low-intensity cross-training will also reduce stress on the joints, which often are sore spots for runners.
Running day after day will eventually exhaust even the most ardent running enthusiast. Cross-training gives runners a much-needed mental break from the sport, which is especially important for those preparing for long-distance races such as marathons.
When I had a fiber rupture in my hamstring, it was always possible to use the Elliptical Trainer because it’s so gentle on the legs. So, cross-training can help injured athletes maintain their fitness and better deal with frustration caused by a lack of support. In general, cross-training provides flexibility in your training needs and plans.
I hope you get something out of this post. If you have any questions about the topic or want to leave your own Personal review, please leave a comment below.