Running more than three miles at a competitive pace requires grueling effort, practice and discipline. When training for cross country, you need to focus primarily on endurance; but don’t make the mistake many cross country athletes do of avoiding the weight room. This ends up restricting the number of valuable ways you can improve and generally stay healthy. (See Strength Training For Cross-Country.)
To maintain intense training, you need to add specific strengthening exercises to your program. Add these five exercises from Core Blend Training to gain the strength you need to stay healthy and keep improving on the course.
Sissy Squat – 3×10
This exercise helps strengthen the knees for the repetitive pounding they take when you run long distances. Stand up on your toes, then squat down, continuing to hold your heels off the ground. Perform one set with your toes pointing out, one with toes straight ahead and one with toes pointing in.
Glute Bridge – 3×10
Glute Bridges strengthen the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. With your heels on a physioball or a bench, the rest of your body on the ground and your knees at a 90-degree angle, raise your hips up until your body is in a straight line, then lower back down.
Face Pulls – 3×8
These help strengthen back muscles that tighten up when you run for a long time. Holding a band or a rope attachment, pull your hands horizontally toward your face, ending with your hands next to your face.
Chin-Ups – 2x Max
Chin-Ups strengthen the parts of the back that are not hit by the Face Pull exercise. They also engage the biceps. Pull yourself up above the bar and lower back down with control. If you are doing more than twelve reps, add weight with a belt or vest.
Planks – 3x 60 seconds
Strengthen your entire core with this essential stabilization move. Resting on your elbows and toes, hold your entire body straight for time.