Calisthenics for Runners

Strength & Cross Training Advice
Calisthenics for Runners

Calisthenics is a form of resistance training using purely body weight exercises, such as push ups, pull ups and squats. These exercises can be modified to make them more or less challenging, and therefore are suitable for all fitness levels.

If you are new to this form of training it would be ideal to have someone there to assist you and ensure you are doing the exercises with correct form. Form is of vital importance in all types of training, and calisthenics is no exception. By using incorrect form you will not be getting the full extent of the benefits you should be getting from performing the exercises. You may also be risking injury if you use incorrect form repeatedly.

As a general rule, if you are maintaining a ‘neutral’ position you should be on the right track! ‘Neutral’ is ensuring you keep your feet roughly hip distance apart, knees soft, glutes tight, hips neutral, abdominals braced (stomach tight), shoulders back and down, spine long and head facing forwards. The ‘neutral’ position applies whether you are standing up, lying down or seated (as in the lower phase of the squat position, for example) – basically no matter what exercise you are performing.


  • These exercises can be done at home or in the gym. It’s easy to create a challenging workout in any location using body weight exercises.
  • This type of training, if done correctly and consistently, will increase core strength, and is therefore a welcome addition to any running training schedule – a strong core will increase your efficiency as a runner.
  • Calisthenics can be done alone or with a partner or in a group, depending how you prefer to train.
  • This type of workout can be done at little or no cost at all, as you require little or no equipment.


  • Ideally you would have someone there who can check you are using correct form and performing all exercises safely. This may not always be possible, however, using a mirror to keep an eye on your own technique would also be a solution.
  • Runners do not always have the motivation to vary their training away from purely running, so initial motivation to begin and consistently carry out a body weight programme may be a challenge. However, if you can overcome this hurdle you will likely see results quite soon and be driven on by this.

Sample Body Weight Programme, for Muscular Endurance

Squats: 3 sets of 12
Pushups: 1 set to failure (as many as possible)
Plank: 3x 60 secs (or 30 secs depending on fitness level)
Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 12
Lunges: 3 sets of 10 (each side)
Hip Extensions: 3 sets of 12

Squats: 3 sets of 12Calisthenics for Runners: Squats

Pushups: 1 set to failure (as many as possible)Calisthenics for Runners: Pushups

Plank: 3 x 60 secs
(or 30 secs depending on fitness level)Calisthenics for Runners: Plank

Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 12

Calisthenics for Runners: Tricep Dips Calisthenics for Runners: Tricep Dips

Lunges: 3 sets of 10 (each side)Calisthenics for Runners: Lunges

Hip Extensions: 3 sets of 12

Calisthenics for Runners: Hip Extensions Calisthenics for Runners: Hip Extensions

These are exercises that we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

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