Running, cycling and jogging are all challenging exercises to help you get fit and stay fit. But what about your arms? If you've noticed, your arms are probably less developed, less firm and less toned than you would like, but some cross-training can fix that problem. Cross-training is simply alternating between different types of exercise. Runners and cyclists tend to focus on the legs, core and cardio for strength and endurance. Adding some arm workouts two days each week can help strengthen your arms and upper body for better athletic performance. You can even work cross-training into your daily exercise routine by alternating between your regular routine and a new arm workout. Your arms will look terrific, too.
Benefits of Cross-Training
Cross-training helps to keep your whole body conditioned and in peak physical shape. It also helps to stave off the boredom that can set in from doing the same old exercise routine day after day. Add a little spice to your workout and try something new. Cross-training reduces your risk of overuse injury. Doing the same exercise every day can take a toll on your muscles and joints. Switch up your routine by adding some arm exercise to give your other muscles and joints a little rest. By working your arms as well as the rest of your body, you will also enjoy better overall physical fitness.
You use your arms to counterbalance your lower body motion when you run, jog and walk, so strong arms are essential to getting the most from your daily workout. Chair dips help to strengthen your triceps, one of the most neglected arm muscles. Resistance band rows and pushups work your entire arm and chest area. Do 10 repetitions of each exercise before your daily run or alternate one day running and the next day arm body-weight exercises.
If you want to look good in a sleeveless top or swimsuit, you'll want firm, toned arms. Although looks are important, strong arms are essential to improving endurance and power. You'll need some dumbbells and an exercise band to do some resistance training at home. Use weight machines at the gym. Shoulder presses work your entire arm and shoulder area. Do rows at home using either a resistance exercise band or dumbbells, or put those dumbbells to work for the back of your arms by doing some triceps kickbacks.
Cross-training circuits turn a regular workout into a fast-paced routine that will keep your muscles humming for hours. Mix up your daily routine twice each week by combining your regular cardio routine with some arm strength-training circuits. Start out with your regular cardio workout, whether it's cycling, running or swimming. Do your cardio for about 10 minutes, then stop and do some pushups for five minutes. Immediately start your cardio again for another 10 minutes. The next arm workout can be some pullups or five minutes of dumbbell biceps curls. Preplan your circuit so that you move smoothly between cardio and arm-strengthening exercises.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.