My Cross Training Routine

I finally have my cross training post ready!

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I don’t write about my cross training very often because it mostly consists of doing the same strength training routines over and over.

Here’s what I aim to do each week:

  • 2 days of upper body weights
  • 1 leg day
  • A mix of “other stuff” sprinkled throughout the week

Truthfully, leg day is the first thing I skip when I’m low on time. I really need to be better about this! 

When it comes to upper body strength training I like to do:

When it come to leg day I usually do:

I do a lot of variations of the squat to keep things interesting. I like the zercher squat, barbell squat, goblet squat, dumbbell squat and dumbbell squat with kick.

I used to lift heavy and maxed out on a zercher squat at 135lbs and barbell squat at 155lbs. When I’m not in a training cycle for running (which I pretty much always am these days), those are the types of squats I prefer to do. (editor’s note: I’ve been lifting longer than I’ve been running)

When I’m in a training cycle my focus shifts away from maxing out on leg lifts since it really affects my ability to get in high quality runs.

Right now on leg day I’m either doing:

  • goblet squats using a 60lb dumbbell @ 5 sets x 10 reps
  • goblet squats using a 100lb dumbbell @ 3 sets x 5 reps
  • dumbbell squats w/kick using two 15-25lb dumbbells @ 5 x 10-15 reps

I’m spending a lot of time here talking about the squat because I think it’s really important for runners!

I should mention that I’m obviously not a personal trainer of any sort. I’ve just been weight lifting for quite some time so I know what sets x reps and weights work for me.

Megan (from Meg Go Run) is a personal trainer with affordable rates ($40 for a 4 week plan) if you’re looking for some guidance.

When it comes to “other stuff” I like to do:

  • Planks
  • Russian twists
  • Hip lifts on stability ball
  • Reverse leg lifts on stability ball
  • Leg squeeze with butt lifts on stability ball
  • Anything else I can do on the stability ball

I love the stability ball. I never knew how to approach it before I read THIS post on Kim’s blog and now I’m a big fan and always looking for new things to try.

So, does all of this work?

I think so! I’m not the world’s best runner, but I do have strong legs and I can pick up heavy things.

I’ve also never had a real injury that has kept me from running for longer than a week at a time.

You could attribute that to the fact that I run slowly, but I think having strong muscles to support my running helps. I may be slow but I run a decent amount of miles and spend a lot of time on my feet running those miles.

This formula seems to work for me.

Last night I had a decent leg workout!

  • Squat with kicks – 5 x 10 @ 30lbs (15lb dumbbells)
  • Wall sit – 5 x 1 minute
  • Reverse leg lifts on stability ball – 25 total
  • Leg squeeze butt lifts on stability ball – 3 x 1 minute
  • Back kick on stability ball – 30 each side
  • Plank @ 1:15

And that’s a wrap!

Do you try to mix it up with different squat variations or stick to one type?
Any XT exercises you really like that I should try? 🙂



  1. February 20, 2015 / 6:34 am

    Yeah, when I am short on time, or just lazy, strength training is the first thing to go. That means I really have a hard time being consistent with it!
    You are VERY strong!

    • February 20, 2015 / 10:52 am

      Thanks Cheryl! I’ve been lifting longer than I’ve been running so I’ve had time to build up to those weights. I do like that I rarely ever have to ask Adam to help me pick something up 😉 Actually, it really annoys me when I have to ask for help picking something up! haha

  2. February 20, 2015 / 7:34 am

    Thanks for the shout out! I am finally back to lifting legs and it feels great! Although it sucks, too. I am keeping it to 4 exercises right now- leg extension, hamstring curl (i know, machines suck, but I am rehabbing!), kettle bell swings, and then step ups with a knee tuck and a backwards lunge. THEY SUCK. My legs wobble. I used to do them holding 30lbs but now I do them holding ZERO pounds. I’ll be back to my old self someday.

    Your gym is so pretty. 🙂

    • February 20, 2015 / 10:53 am

      WOW! With 30lbs! I have tried to do step-ups, box jumps and other things like that but I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to those moves. I think it’s because I have poor balance. I need to make improving my balance a priority!

      • February 21, 2015 / 7:42 am

        Maybe start with step ups but not a HUGE step. And just make the step a little higher when you are ready?

  3. February 20, 2015 / 8:12 am

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m impressed with your lifting! Those weights seem really heavy to me! Thanks for sharing this! It’s a good reminder that runners can and should lift as part of our cross-training.

    • February 20, 2015 / 10:55 am

      It’s so true! I think more runners would like lifting if we/they tried heavier weights. I know when I use light weights I don’t feel like I’m getting in as good of a workout as I do when I run, but when I lift heavy I feel every bit as awesome as I do after a hard speed workout!

  4. February 20, 2015 / 10:24 am

    Dang girl! You are a super lifter!! Nice work!

    I wish I could be more enthused about weight training, but my attitude toward it is the same attitude a lot of runners have toward the treadmill: I just can’t. It feels like a chore so I just avoid it.

    I do love at-home body weight strength training though: planks, wall sits, bridges, lunges, burpees, and any other recommendations that come my way. I love that I can just drop and do them any time I want.

    Do you do any other XT besides weights? I don’t yet, but Kevin and I are thinking of taking spin classes together at the Y. I also like to swim occasionally

    • February 20, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Thanks Hanna! I may not run fast, but I can lift heavy, so it’s an okay trade off 😉

      During the summer I swim, but I don’t really do any other cardio type things besides running. Sometimes I’ll do the stationary bike and I’ve thought about taking a spin class, but I feel like I get enough cardio with running and I’d rather use my time strength training.

      I also like doing the at-home workouts that Meg posts!

  5. February 20, 2015 / 10:30 am

    Holy cow! You are strong! I doubt I could even get a 100lbs weight off the ground. I keep telling myself that I should start lifting weights, but I struggle with it so much. I really need to start including a lifting regiment in my cross training to protect myself from potential injuries.

    • February 20, 2015 / 11:26 pm

      I didn’t think I would ever be able to pick up 100lbs when I started either, but you would be surprised at how fast you build strength/how strong your legs already are from running!

      When I started doing goblet squats I began with the 20lb dumbbell and worked my way up to the 100lbs in less than 3 months!

  6. February 20, 2015 / 11:36 am

    I SUCK at strength training. Really. I hate it. 🙁

    In my karate classes, we do all kinds of strength-based exercises (sometimes with light weights), and I feel like ALL we do is squat/lunge…so between that and running, my legs always feel DEAD. I can’t even wrap my mind around going to the gym and doing more. I’d still really like to try to be more consistent about incorporate at least ONE strength training day per week! But, like you said, I do think the additional form of cross-training has helped keep my legs strong and injury-free — knock on wood!

    P.S. You sound like a total badass!

    • February 20, 2015 / 2:59 pm

      I can only imagine! I’m pretty sure my whole body would feel dead if I had your workout schedule!

      KNOCK ON WOOD x 10!

  7. February 20, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    Fun to read your cross training routine!! You know I love to mix it up – I think that in April I will probably try to get back to heavier lifting:)
    Thanks for linking my post!!

  8. February 21, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    I love squats and planks for cross training as well! It’s so important for injury prevention. A stability ball is a great tool to help change things up. 🙂

    • February 22, 2015 / 9:25 am

      Hi Aimee! Thanks for dropping by! The stability ball has quickly become one of my favorite workout tools. There’s so many different ways you can use it!

  9. February 22, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    I really do need to stop SAYING I’m going to add squats and lunges etc back into my workouts and actually do it! This is a great rundown of your cross-training. Thanks for all the great info!