Tuesdays and Thursdays are supposed to be cross-training days… I hate to admit that most Tuesdays I end up sleeping in and call it a rest day.
Rest is important too, right?
However, when I do manage to get my butt in gear to head to the gym, I do a whole bunch of different things. I do it because it’s good for me, and because stronger muscles help me have better form (I used to dance, I’m PSYCHO about perfect form) and be a better engine. I haven’t seen physical evidence that these activities are having any impact on my physique (other than baby-biceps hanging out under the thin layer of fat in my arms), but I’m still doing them. If anything, it brings me great satisfaction to be able to cross Thursdays off on the training calendar hanging in my living room.
So here’s what I usually do on cross-training days:
- 15 minutes on the elliptical on no particular setting – I go hard enough to sweat, but not so hard that I feel like dying
- 500 meters (approx 2 minutes and 30 seconds) on the rowing machine, paying specific attention to breathing and perfect form
- 15-20 minutes of body weight / free weight exercises using dumbbells or kettle bells between 8 and 20 pounds depending on the exercise, 12 reps repeated two or three times depending on my attention span, a random mix of the following:
- Arms / Shoulders
- bicep curls
- hammer curls
- triceps extensions
- straight-arm front and side raises
- kneeling single-arm rows
- kneeling single-arm triceps kick-backs
- weighted oblique twists (aka: Russian twists)
- weighted standing side crunch
- lying leg raises
- Legs / Booty
- Fire hydrants
- Arms / Shoulders
There are probably a bunch more things I should incorporate into my weights, but I’m petrified of not having perfect form, so until I feel confident that I can do them correctly, I won’t do them at all.
I don’t like to go too hard on cross-training days, simply because I don’t want to be so sore that running the following day is akin to torture. I like to be sore enough to know that I worked out, but not so sore that the impact of my feet hitting the ground sends vibrating pain throughout my sore muscles.
Also, notice that planks aren’t part of my workout… it’s because I hate planks. Hate. With a fiery passion. Unless I’m in a group-ex class where planks are part of the program, I don’t voluntarily plank. There are tons of articles and blog posts out there about why planks are essential for runners (just Google: “planks for runners” for proof). I don’t care. No. Just no.
When I’m feeling uninspired or am lacking attention span, I have been known to use the weight machines which I hate to do, because the complicated pulleys create tension where there normally wouldn’t be any, and reduces the weight you’re actually lifting (please disregard the thumbs up I’m flashing in the featured image for this post – it’s an old photo, and it’s the only proof I have that I’ve ever lifted weights). I also like to take advantage of the three body weight workouts included on my FitBit Blaze, via FitStar: Warm It Up, 7 Minute Workout, and 10 Minute Abs (here’s a great post that summarizes each workout). I’ll tell you, the 10 Minute Abs… my abs are always sore for a few days afterward!
I also occasionally skip the gym entirely in favor of other activities such as hiking, trail walking, yoga, dance classes, indoor rock climbing, and recently SUP (stand-up paddle boarding). I’ll post more about some of those activities later.
Do you cross-train? What activities do you like to do on cross-training days?
Please Note: I am not a professional athlete or doctor. I am just a normal person who is sharing my personal training plan with you. These are the things that I have picked up as I experiment with what works for me. Please discuss any new training programs with your doctor or with a professional coach.