Functional Fitness for runners


Why should runners cross train?

Runners, especially short distance runners who run 5k or 10ks, need good upper body strength. The very short explanation is the more force that is exerted by the lower body, the more exaggerated the upper body motions have to be to absorb the momentum. Since short distance runners run faster, a stronger upper body will help in this regard. Think of the buff Olympic sprinters.


Longer distance runners tend to have more lean muscle, however, a strong core will still be necessary to maintain good posture, especially with a relaxed frame. And strong shoulders are still needed. 

What about trail runners?

Trail runners have a whole other reason to cross train. One word here— balance.

Any other reasons to cross train as a runner?

There are a few other benefits from cross training with a Functional Fitness program such as Kemme Fitness. One benefit is the ability to produce fatigue and facilitate recovery. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is built into most of our workouts and can be an excellent substitute for speed work.

Another benefit is the variety that is inherent in the program. Trail runners in particular can appreciate variety in a training program. Intense exercise is a mental game, and there are simply those of us who need to change things up to keep in that game. And sometimes you just get burned out with running. Cross training is a way to fill that void until you are ready to add the miles back. And when you do so, you will be able to run better!

Finally…let’s just face it. Doing Burpees with a slosh tube and other crazy exercises is just plain cool!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Wade

    Additional benefits

    A 10 week study, on what the authors have coined High-Intensity Power Training (HIPT) which they say differs from High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) by eliminating the rest.

    The participants did functional fitness workouts for 10 weeks – the number of workouts per week was not published in the synopsis I read. My interpretation is this is Kemme workouts without rest intervals, The study is being published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

    The male participants improved their VO2 Max by 13.6% and reduced their body fat by 4.2%. The female participants increased their VO2 Max by 11.8% while reducing their body fat by 3.4%.

    More aerobic conditioning and less weight to carry over a 5/10K run what more could a runner ask for?

    1. Kemme Fitness


      Thanks for the info. I’ll check out the study. I know some of the newer HIIT studies are decent (the first ones were not – small populations of college athletes and not very useful for older or less athletic folks). That would be interesting to see how this HIPT fits in. The results you quoted are quite impressive. I have a feeling there will be more on this!

      1. Wade

        I can send you the synopsis that I have, I just did not want to post it on your site. Email me if you would like a copy.

  2. Kemme Fitness

    And for our readers who might now know, but VO2 Max is the rate at which your body processes oxygen. Essentially, the higher the VO2 max, the better you can intake and use oxygen. (again, simple answer and I’m not an expert, but you get the point).

  3. Kemme Fitness

    Wade, I found the synopsis and it looks like at this time you have to subscribe to the site to get the full article. Let me know if you get the whole study, because I would love to set that. The synopsis leaves me with questions yet.

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