5 alternative workouts to try to become a better runner in 2024 (and beyond)

Want to improve your running? Try these non-running workouts!

Man doing hadstands in a liviung room with a child
(Image credit: Getty)

Runners gonna run – that's just the way it is. If you're into running training and enjoy this type of exercise, it makes sense that you want to do more. However, if you've been running for a while, you might realise that just running more won't necessarily help you become a better runner. In fact, it often gets people injured.

What you need instead is alternative workouts that complement running training. Some can be done parallel to your running training, while others are best done during the off-season. Some focus on cardio, others on muscle building. All of them will help you become a more efficient runner.


Skipping full body workout

(Image credit: Cecilie Arcurs/Getty Images)

The mighty skipping rope has been a playground staple for years. Meanwhile, boxers have long used the exercise to build endurance, improve coordination and develop speed as part of their training. 

Skipping isn't just a popular activity among little girls and enormous boxers – it's also an excellent full-body workout for runners that develops the calves and glutes, enabling you to run more efficiently.

Nike says that skipping has even been shown to increase bone [mineral] density and running speed! Not to mention its anxiety-reducing qualities. Best of all, it requires very little space and is one of the cheapest home gym equipment.

Resistance training

Man doing bodyweight squats

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Everyone should do more resistance training – a.k.a. strength training – especially runners, who can benefit loads from the occasional session in the gym. According to ASICS, pumping iron can increase running efficiency, reduce the risk of injury, and help you manage your weight better.

Muscle is what's called a high-maintenance tissue, which means it requires more energy to upkeep, even if you don't use it. This increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which helps you burn more calories in your idle state. Basically, you'll use more energy just sitting around!

Makes it easier to justify those post-run pints/pastries.

Hula hooping

Hula hooping is another one of those exercises that we end up not doing once we reach the age of 12. It's a shame, as this exercise does wonders to your balance and waistline, according to Holland and Barret. And thanks to the availability (and acceptance) of weighted hula hoops, you can scale up the exercise to match your fitness goals.


A fit man doing a handstand on a pier at a lake

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Runners often neglect their upper body, which is understandable, as you don't use it for running, do you? Wrong! You might not be running on your hands, but you use almost all your muscles to stabilise and move your torso forward. Just think about runners complaining about pain in their rib cage during marathon distance races – that's due to the lack of core strength.

A fun way to improve core and arm (especially shoulder) strength is to do handstands. Better still, reports claim that handstands "can promote cerebrovascular elasticity training and delay signs of ageing." Not to mention, it's also a pretty cool party trick...


Trampolining is a serious...ly fun way to get fit. The New York Times reported on a 2016 study in which participants reported less perceived effort than expected from such intense physical activity. Participants were having too much fun to notice the challenge, the NYT notes.

Running is great, but it can also be boring and repetitive. Adding a few trampolining sessions to your training calendar can help break it up without compromising on intensity. In fact, you might enjoy it so much that you end up running less, which is probably better for your joints, anyway.

Get Fit 2024

This feature is part of T3's Get Fit 2024 campaign. We’ll be bringing you a wealth of guides, features, deals and news to help you get healthy, fit and ready for anything the new year can throw at you. Whether you’re a newcomer to fitness or someone with a passion for it, we’ll bring you all the best workouts, diet advice and gear to set you on the right track.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.