I recently explained that cross training was important or even crucial if you want to keep going without being injured. Many folks (especially in the ultra community lift weights). I always found that weight lifting was boring and had too many constraints: you have to go to the gym, be prepared, wait for the machine to be free, etc. In addition, being in a closed room with sun is depressing.
Year ago, a French guy developed a training method that rely completely on your body weight. What you need is a bar and two chairs, nothing else. You can even train on a playground, as long as you do not disturb the kids! So far, I did not see any disadvantages: no gym fee, easy, no need to wait for a machine and I can practice even when traveling! The French weight lifting community attacked the creator of the method, arguing that this was not efficient and useless but after a while, people that tried the method posted the results, which was quote astonishing (see below)!
The method proposed a plan to grow your muscles without using any machines, painful exercise and dedicate hours to your training. The core idea is to promote steady evolution of your fitness level by increasing the intensity of the activity and let the muscles heal, rest and grow. This is also where the method is disruptive: while many method recommend to spend hours at the gym facing big dudes, the Lafay Method has a contrarian approach.
As the Lafay method is not very time consuming, it can be a really good approach for cross training, especially after a short run. It will then help you to maintain your upper body in better shape and develop the core muscles of your body. On the long run, it will definitively help you: you will feel less sore and probably run faster.
Describing the complete method would not be fair because the book is a published material protected by copyright. On the other hand, it does not exist in English (but there is a petition for that!), so, I take the freedom to introduce one of the core exercise that would help every runner (and even non runners). This is a set of exercises (3) called La Triade:
- series of dip (not for the chips!) – you can do that even with two chairs (see the video)
- series of push ups with a 40cm space between hands
- series of push ups with feet elevated and a space between hands of 60 to 80 cm (basically, twice the distance between your shoulders)
The video below show how to realize these exercises. Combined with some abs here and there, I guarantee that incorporating these exercises will improve your fitness level significantly and makes you a better runner! Unfortunately, the complete method is not available right now and is limited to non-english language. On the other hand, it can be a good opportunity to learn French!