By: Gary Canam, BA
Cross-training is just as it sounds, going from one type of exercise to another. It’s no different than what most people do in the gym, though, cross-training allows you to tie in several aspects of training in order to target and maximize your overall fitness. Cross-training gives your body necessary active “rest” from your usual routine in order to allow for training adaptations. If you’re constantly doing HIIT, one type of cardiovascular exercise, or just never changing your workout routine, then consider cross-training once or twice a week. Not only does it help prevent overuse injuries, it also helps with muscle imbalances, training plateaus and mental burnout.
This type of training is ideal for anyone–beginner, all the way through to an expert exerciser. It can be seen as the backbone of any well-developed program, allowing one to choose what works and what doesn’t. When including this type of training into your gym routine, it can help surpass the common trap of repeating the same routine week in and week out. In the fitness world, accomplishments from cross-training can range from losing weight, gaining muscle, becoming more stabile, or suppressing medical health issues. You must keep your body and muscles on their toes if you want the best chance to improve and to be able to reap all the benefits exercise is able to provide. The general thought of having to train certain muscles over and over again without modification to exercise could set yourself up for over usage. This can lead to possible injuries down the road and in reality, nobody needs that extra stress in life.
A common question might be, “what should I include in cross-training?” There are a bunch of avenues one could go down when it comes to this type of training. Combining different types of training into a specific workout or into your training program isn’t as hard as you might think. A few examples of cross-training include: resistance training, aerobic training, strength training, and flexibility and mobility work. If it’s hard for you to come up with a program that fits several types of training, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you’re feeling stuck, working with a personal trainer can help. That’s what we’re here for at Intelligent Fitness!
All in all, cross-training is a viable tool when trying to improve your training methods. It allows balance as it is a good way to schedule out your weeks and it tends to keep you focused and not bored with the same bench press or 5 mile run on the treadmill. Don’t get me wrong, sticking to the same workout for a couple months may show improvements in the beginning, but over time it can limit your progress and may even become detrimental to your overall health.