Skip to main content

Cardio workout: off-road race training plan

Off-road events
(Image credit: Unknown)

In This Series

The gym circuit

‘To replicate the full-on nature of race day, do this at maximum intensity,’ says Gladwin. ‘Do as many reps as you can of each exercise for 3sec, with 30sec rest between each. Every week from week 3, add five seconds to the time you spend doing each exercise, so by week 8 you’ll be doing one minute of exercise. 

‘Repeat the moves for a total of three circuits, with three minutes’ rest between circuits. If you’re feeling comfortable after week 3, add an extra circuit, and again after week 6. For the barbell moves, use the heaviest weight that you can complete all the moves with using perfect form.’

Squat thrust 

Start in a press-up position, with your legs out straight behind you and your hands 1½ shoulder-width apart. 

Explosively pull your legs forwards until they’re tucked under you, then kick them out behind you.

Keep your hands on the floor throughout the move.


Start with your hands 1½ shoulder-width apart and body straight from head to heels.

Lower yourself until your elbows reach 90˚, then press back up explosively.

Jump squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Push your feet into the ground and jump.

Good morning

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Rest a barbell across the back of your shoulders, not your neck, and grasp it overhand with your hands just outside your shoulders.

Bend forwards from the hips, not the waist, and bend your knees slightly.  

Lean forwards until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings, but don’t go beyond horizontal.

Keep a natural arch in your lower back and push your hips back to maintain balance.


Get into a press-up position.

Bring your legs in, stand and jump.  

Crouch back down and kick your legs back to return to the start. 

Overhead press

With feet shoulder-width apart, hold a bar on your upper chest, gripping it overhand with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. 

Keep your chest upright and your core muscles braced.

Press the bar straight overhead until your arms are fully extended.

During the lifting phase, keep your core braced and don’t tilt your hips forwards.

Lower the bar back down to your chest and repeat. 

Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.