Lindsay, from Chasing The Kenyans, asked what I do to get my arms and shoulders tone. It's funny...I get this question a lot, but the truth is I don't do anything crazy. My secret is...wait for it...push ups! Yeah, I know, not much of a secret, and when I tell people they don't usually believe me. Seems so simple, but those push ups (when done correctly) are hard!
It all started freshman year in college. My coach instructed us to do 3 sets of 10 push ups 5 days a week. He also showed us the correct form. When I tried it for myself in my dorm room, I realized I couldn't even do two consecutive push ups correctly! I was beside myself with irritation. I mean, honestly, how hard could it be. As it turns out, for me, getting to 3 sets of 10 was difficult. I worked at those push ups every day. By the end of the season, I could finally do my sets. Then I started making a set longer, until I could 20 as a set. Then I started adding sets. By my junior year, I was doing 6 sets of 20 push ups 5 days a week. Sounds like a lot, but it only takes about a minute to do a set of 20. Push ups are great because you don't need anything special to do them. You can do them anytime, anywhere. And unlike certain weightlifting exercises, push ups work your whole core.
Truth is, push ups, are the only strengthening exercise I do for my upper body. I don't lift weights. Not that I'm against lifting per se, I'd just rather be running or doing some other form of cardio with my precious workout time. I do love the row machine, which I discovered after college. When I'm training for a specific race, I try to do one or two row workouts a week. The row machine is cool because it works most of the same muscles as push ups (plus some others), and it's also a great cardio workout.
Here's where I have to admit that I've been slacking off a bit when it comes to the old push up routine. I don't do 6 sets of 20 like I did in college. I do try to do 3 sets of 20 most days, but the last month or so I've fallen off the bandwagon. Sigh. Now that I've written a whole post about them, I feel compelled to get my butt in gear and start up the routine again. I'll let you know how it goes. What do you guys do to tone your upper body? Do you have any stellar secrets to upper body toning?
In other news, I've still been tired. I'm off the inhalers again, which is great, but I still have a runny nose. I guess I'm not completely over whatever I had. It's okay though. I managed to squeeze in 40 miles last week, albeit slow miles, but still...
Training Journal 1/4 - 1/10
Total Running Miles: 40
Total Running Time: 6 hrs
Average Pace: 9:00
Total Stationary Bike Time: 2 hrs