I find it challenging enough to schedule three to five runs each week, to say nothing of fitting in cross-training. Of all the things I try to mix into my running program (yoga, cycling, swimming), strength training is the one that takes the lowest priority. I know I should do it, but I rarely do.

But today I tried something new at my gym (a YMCA): Kinesis, a simple series of four machines designed to allow customized circuit programs for individuals at all levels of strength. Working with a trainer, I performed a different arm motion—similar to lat pull-downs, rows, bench press, etc., but with cables instead of weights— on each machine while I stood in five variations of squats or lunges. For example, on one machine, I stood first in a squat as I lifted a rubber bar up to chest height for 30 seconds, and then, without stopping my arm movement, I transitioned into a deeper squat and then lunges, first with the right leg leading and then on the left. The final leg move involved lunging and then stepping my back knee up toward my chest, which required coordination and felt awkward at first.
Spending three minutes on each machine, with a one-minute break, my heart rate was up by the time I finished the 15-minute program and my arms felt like lead. With a 30-minute run preceding my session, I felt like I had a seriously well-rounded workout, all in less than an hour.
My trainer encouraged me to continue the program twice a week, as it builds to more complicated movements that work the core in conjunction with the arms and legs. Since it’s so easy and fast, I’m going to give it a try. Perhaps it is possible to do everything after all.