Cross training can benefit everyone. But what is cross training and how can I benefit from it?
Cross training is a simple concept. It means exercising in a variety of ways, like including cycling, running, and strength training in one week, instead of doing just one of these day after day.
For athletes, cross training can be used to achieve better performance. For example, the goal might be improved overall performance and mobility in running, or something sport-specific, like greater agility for a soccer player.
But, why is it important to integrate cross training workouts into your overall routine? And what’s the hype? There are many reasons, and they apply to every single person. Keep reading for reasons as to why.
Improved overall fitness. Perhaps the most important reason to use cross training in your workout plan is that it leads to better overall fitness. Hitting the elliptical five days a week will have benefits, but they will be limited to the specific set of muscles used in that exercise. But if you do the elliptical one day, cycle the next, strength train a couple times other days, jog another, and do mobility and stretching on the weekends, that will target more muscles and improve different areas of performance, fitness, strength and flexibility.
Lower risk of injuries. Playing one sport or doing one type of exercise, day after day, is repetitive. Using the same muscles and putting the same kind of impact on the same joints in every workout will inevitably lead to an injury, especially if not cared for properly. By varying stress on different parts of the body, incorporating active rest days and proper nutrition, you lower the risk of getting hurt.
Better performance. If you want to be a better say, runner or soccer player, the best thing you can do is to practice running routines and practice soccer, a lot. However, cross training can add in benefits that will improve your fitness and add to your performance. For example, doing stretching routines regularly can help you learn to control your breathing and improve flexibility, both of which would make you a more efficient in those.
To give yourself an effective yet varied workout schedule, consider the different components of fitness and choose types of training that will hit all of them.
Cardiovascular fitness: running, jogging, cycling, elliptical and stair climber machines, swimming.
Strength and muscle endurance: lifting weights, powerlifting, cross fit, Pilates, bodyweight exercises.
Flexibility: yoga and stretching.
While you want to hit different aspects of fitness, you also want to make sure the choices are of interest to you make and you feel good. Exercise should be rewarding, fun and something you look forward too!
Cross Training Workouts to Try: bodyweight strength training, Pilates, power lifting, sports, HIIT, various cardio machines.
Cross training is an essential part of fitness for every level and goal. Be thoughtful about how you choose and incorporate cross training, keeping your goals, interests, and motivation in mind.