Cross-Training for Speed

What exercises can you do to help increase your speed?

Press ups!

YES believe it or not you get your speed from your arms!

So, if your upper body is weak then you need to work on that!


As before I will talk once again about efficiency so you will need to incorporate upper body exercises into your weekly cross-training routine AND you’ll need to do some arm drills to make sure that your upper body is moving efficiently to power your body through.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Arm Pulling Drill
  • Press-up stride drill
  • Arm rotation drill and check
  • Circuit training


Arm Pulling Drill

Run as normal for 50-100 metres, then “pull” your right elbow back further than you normally would exaggerating the backwards swing of the right arm for 25-50 metres. Then repeat for 2-4 times on that side before performing it on the other side.

Press up stride drill

Do 3-5 press-ups then run 50 metres forward. Do 3-5 press-ups and run (forwards) back to your starting point. (that’s 1 set) Repeat for a total of 5 sets.

Arm rotation drill

Hold a strap/band or even a dressing gown belt does a great job. Whatever it is it should be non-elastic – it needs to not stretch so a pair of tight wouldn’t work. Hold the strap in your hands with your palms down with your arms fairly wide so the strap is ‘tight’ across the front of your thighs. So, your arms should look like an upside down “v”. Raise BOTH arms up rotating your shoulders to bring the strap up above your head and ROUND so that your hands are now behind you and the strap is now touching the BACK of your legs. Now IF you CANNOT do this without making the strap go limp you MUST widen your hands so that you can. So, you might need to do this a couple of times to make sure you get the width of your hands/arms are right.

Once you’re happy with your position perform the rotation (back-forwards) 8-10 times.

Arm rotation check

Run as normal and hold up both arms with your palms facing away from you. Look through your hands and focus on one spot ahead of you. If you have TOO MUCH rotation in your upper body, then your hands will keep going in front and blocking the spot you’ve focussed on. Try to minimise the rotation so that your view to your spot isn’t obscured. Keep doing this as you run – run normally and every so often bring your arms up to check to see if your rotation is ok.

Once you’ve mastered this – clasp your hands together and try it again. This will feel like it’s working your as more (because it IS!)



Mix it up! So why not have a run round your local park - or trail where there are benches/logs/walls etc. Run - mixing up the speed or intensity and add in some reps of tricep dips and press-ups. It’ll make it fun and really will boost your workout and ultimately your speed (if you add in upper body exercises).

You could also do:

  • Mountain climbers
  • Incline press-ups
  • Donkey kicks
  • Mountain press-ups
  • Bear crawls backwards
  • Tricep dips
  • Tricep extensions
  • Curls and pushes

There you go – to go fast you need to work on your upper body.