Cross-training is basically a whole-body workout approach that blends together strength training, flexibility and aerobics. In other words, it’s indulging in alternate exercise forms. Such variation in workout techniques means there isn’t excessive focus or stress on a specific body area. This is likely to bring down exercise-related injuries, burnouts or muscular imbalances. Also, the training sessions turn out interesting and far more beneficial.

A typical cross-training session comprises an amalgamation of exercises. For instance, a 40-minute session could be a mix of a jog or walk, weights, and yoga without any breaks. The training schedule may entail weightlifting, running, yoga, boxing, swimming, etc. Actual exercises may however vary. Generally, the exercises chosen are based on the participant’s interests.

Benefits

  • Increased physical capability: The different disciplines and exercise varieties extract more from the body than traditional training routines. This variety and increased workload leads to improved physical strength and potential.
  • Prevention of injuries: Any form of repetitive exercising may lead to cramps, sprains, ligament tear or other injuries. Even lighter exercises such as walking, jogging, etc. could cause physical pain and trauma if done for a prolonged time period. This is because uniform exercising can put excessive stress on specific joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. A routine mix-up means the previously exercised body parts have time to recover.
  • Improved athletic performance: Cross-training also helps improve running performance, particularly for distance runners and endurance athletes.

Ideal for All

Cross-training works for everyone and meets all fitness objectives, right from an amateur wanting to lose weight to an expert who wants to bulk up or take his exercising routine to another level.

The key is to incorporate totally different exercises into the plan. For instance, cardio enthusiasts could try adding a bit of yoga to their schedules. Hard-core lifters, on the other hand, can sprinkle some more cardio here and there.

For beginners who aren’t sure how to mix up different exercises or where to start, external assistance in the form of a professional fitness or personal trainer, online workout videos, etc. may come in handy.

Mixing it Up

Cross-training’s basic idea will be nullified if the same variety routine is carried out every day or for weeks. Mixing up things in a day is not enough. The variations must keep evolving. For the highest benefits, it’s important to keep the body guessing. However, this doesn’t mean intensive planning and variations. Minor daily or weekly changes can help keep things interesting and fresh.