If you’re looking to stay healthy and fit, cross training is a great way to do it. Cross training allows you to get a variety of cardio and strength-training workouts all in one go, which means you don’t have to miss out on any fitness sessions. Plus, it’s a great way to mix up your routine and avoid boredom.
In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of cross training and provide you with a list of the best Cross Training exercises for different purposes. From improving your cardio fitness to building strength and endurance, cross training is a great way to get more out of your workouts. So read on to learn all you need to know about cross training!
What is cross-training?
Cross-training refers to engaging in multiple types of physical activity or exercise to improve overall fitness and reduce the risk of injury.
It can also be a way to break up the monotony and prevent boredom in a workout routine. It typically involves a combination of cardio, strength, and flexibility training.
The goal is to develop multiple aspects of fitness and use different muscles, which can help reduce the stress on the body from the overuse of specific muscles. It can also lead to better performance in the primary sport or activity.
What are some common examples of cross-training?
Some common examples of cross-training include:
- Cardio cross-training:
Activities such as cycling, swimming, or rowing, can provide an aerobic workout without the same impact on joints as running does.
- Strength cross-training:
Weight training, bodyweight exercises, resistance training to build muscle, and core strength.
- Flexibility cross-training:
Yoga, Pilates, and stretching improve flexibility, balance, and body awareness.
- Balance cross-training:
Exercises like Tai Chi or other martial arts will help improve balance.
- Adventure sports:
Outdoor activities like rock climbing, surfing, kayaking, etc., can be great for developing upper body and core strength.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
It combines cardio and strength training. Also aids in weight loss, better heart rate and wellness.
The key is to choose different activities that work with multiple muscle groups and energy systems to help you become a well-rounded athlete. It can help reduce the risk of injury, improve overall fitness, and reach performance goals.
FIVE benefits of cross-training
- Reduced risk of injury: Cross-training can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries by allowing the muscles, tendons, and joints to recover from the repetitive motions of a primary sport or activity. By engaging in different forms of exercise that use different muscle groups, you can distribute the stress on your body more evenly.
- Improved overall fitness: Cross-training allows you to develop multiple aspects of fitness, such as cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility. It can lead to better overall health and an improved ability to perform in your primary sport or activity.
- Increased endurance: By engaging in different forms of cardio exercise, such as cycling or swimming, you can increase your overall endurance and stamina. Also, it improves muscle imbalances.
- Better mental health: Participating in different types of exercise can break up the monotony and prevent boredom in a workout routine. It can lead to greater enjoyment of physical activity and better mental health.
- Increased motivation: By varying your workouts and incorporating different types of exercise, you may find yourself more motivated to continue your fitness routine. It can be refreshing to try new activities, and that can motivate you to stick to your fitness goals.
What are the best cross-training exercises for runners?
The best cross-training exercises for runners are low-impact, aid in recovery, and complement running training by improving performance, even for marathons. Some examples to become a better runner include:
- Swimming: Swimming is low impact and helps to improve cardiovascular endurance. It also aids in recovery by providing a form of exercise that is both solitary and physically challenging.
- Strength training: Strength training can help runners increase muscle strength and endurance while reducing the risk of injury. Activities like squats, deadlifts, lunges, and bench presses are essential for improving performance on foot races or long runs.
- Cycling or biking: Cycling is another low-impact workout that improves overall fitness while aiding recovery from running activity. Additionally, cycling is a great way to increase cardiovascular fitness and better mental focus.
While these are some of the more common cross-training routines for runners, there are dozens more (Boxing, spinning, push-ups, sit-ups, downhill skiing) for improving recovery and boosting performance. The key is to try different activities and find what works best for you and increase the level of fitness.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days a week should you do cross training?
Most experts recommend that beginner runners cross-train twice a week, while more experienced exercisers may benefit from cross-training three times per week.
Is cross training suitable for beginners?
Yes, cross-training is beneficial for beginner runners as it helps to improve overall fitness and build strength and conditioning. Consider good nutrition and a trainer-suggested cross-training schedule to improve your running performance.
How do you properly cross-train?
The best way to cross-train depends on your fitness level and training program. However, some cross-training activities include swimming, cycling, strength training, and running.
Cross training is an important part of a runner’s fitness routine and can help to improve performance while reducing the risk of injury. Try different activities and find what works best for you, increasing your level of fitness.
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About the author
A retired corporate strategy professional by choice who now lives in the Himalayas and spends his time writing articles about the mind, fitness, generation alpha, and human behaviour.