Row, row, row for cross-training

Something funny happened when I got to the gym for what I’d intended to be a swimming day yesterday.

I just. Couldn’t. Do it.

I procrastinated by lifting for a while, hoping that would get me in the mood. Eventually, realized I’d have to just suck it up, and I decided to do one last set of calf raises before heading to the pool.

When I hit up the little stretching room where the steps and Bosu balls are kept, I got a surprise: A line of shiny, new rowing machines.

This came about a week after a recommendation from the good people at FIRST, not to mention my runner-friend Sarah, that rowing is one of the best cross-training activities for runners. It’s an all-body cardio workout that’s extremely easy on your joints. The rowing machines before me had to be a sign, right?

I alternated five- and 10-minute blasts on the rower with my physical therapy exercises — squats on a balance board, single-leg squats on a step, calf raises, etc — to equal 30 minutes of rowing. As usual, the FIRST guys weren’t kidding — rowing’s no joke! I broke into a serious sweat after the first five minutes, and was more than ready to be done when I hit 30 minutes.

I’ve avoided rowing in the past because I just wasn’t sure about form – do you lean forward and backwards, or keep your torso pretty stationary and let your arms do the work? To what extent do you use your legs? Do you look as silly as you feel? As luck would have it, SELF magazine’s most recent issue provides some pointers. I tried to find the blurb online without any luck. But this about.com tutorial echoes the SELF mag personal trainer, plus adds some helpful tips about the “catch” and “drive” phases.

I’ll definitely be adding this to the mix for my cross-training workouts. Though I’m back to running today and back to swimming on Wednesday, it’s nice to know I have another boredom-blaster in my arsenal.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Row, row, row for cross-training

  1. Pingback: How (and why) to cross-train « Amy’s Training Blog

  2. Pingback: Motivation Monday: Mixing it up « Amy Reinink

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