Cross-training is the incorporation of a variety of different exercises in a training or fitness program. A cross-training workout includes cardiovascular, strength, stretching and balancing exercises. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, cross-training is ideal for the development of a balanced fitness regimen that provides a total body workout while helping prevent injury.
A cross-training program includes aerobic activities, strength training and flexibility exercises. Aerobic exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness include walking, jogging, stair climbing and swimming. Strength training activities, such as weight lifting and resistance training, help build and develop muscle mass. Flexibility exercises, such as yoga and Pilates, improve muscle tone and nimbleness. To incorporate cross-training in your workout regimen, you can perform a different activity each day, or alternate between short intervals of varied exercises during a single workout.
Many people who attempt to lose weight find their workout programs monotonous. Performing the same exercise each time you workout also increases your chance of injury because the same muscles are repeatedly stressed in the same way each time you workout. Boredom and pain are two factors that increase the rate of dropouts in workout programs.
When you cross-train, you vary the parts of your body you work each day and you can choose to do a different activity each time your exercise. This reduces boredom and fatigue, which enables you to workout longer and encourages you to stick to your exercise program. Because you are working different muscles each time you workout you also reduce your chance of an overuse injury.
Total Body Workout
Cross-training enables you to perform a variety of activities that improve aerobic conditioning, muscle mass and flexibility. For example, you can exercise on an elliptical machine for half an hour one day and then swim for 30 minutes. The following workout session you could focus on strength training and flexibility. If you like, your workout can combine half an hour of aerobic exercise such as walking or running with half an hour of strength training or yoga. The only rule of cross-training is to vary your activities so you get a well-rounded workout.
Even though people who cross-train have a lower risk of overuse injury, sometimes injuries occur because of insufficient rest or an unbalanced exercise regimen. In such cases, it is not necessary to discontinue your fitness routine. You can work on the uninjured parts of your body, and modify activities based on your doctor’s advice. This allows you to maintain your fitness level whereas an individual who focuses on only one type of exercise would probably have to discontinue working out if there was an injury.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.