What is Cross Training?
Cross training is a method of athletic training that involves numerous activities in a variety of forms. Think of it as crossing over between sports. Cross training offers many benefits to both the average fitness enthusiast and the pro athlete alike. Not only will your level of fitness, ability and strength capacity improve, you’ll avoid all possible monotony and boredom in your program.
Cross Training Keeps Things Balanced
Let’s say you’re part of a recreational rowing team. You spend hours a week out on the water with your team, training and practicing. When you’re not on the water, you’re at home on your rowing machine doing intervals and getting that heart rate way up there. You’re in great shape right? So you decide to sign up for a 10 k race with a few friends. Two km in you hit the wall. You’re exhausted and your legs are screaming.
It’s not because your cardiovascular system has failed you, it’s because the sport of running is not within the realm of your training and your body is simply shocked. This is exactly why cross training is crucial to improving conditioning. A balanced, well rounded routine that incorporates numerous activities is sure to offer optimal results to both your level of fitness and the appearance of your physique.
Cross Training Targets Every Muscle
While our bodies may be made of many different muscles, those muscles do not work independently of each other in real life movements. For example, if your back muscles are weak, that will affect your ab training. If your hamstrings aren’t as strong as your quads, that will affect your one rep max for squats. Adding multiple sports or methods of training to your program will ensure that all muscles are targeted and strengthened appropriately.
Again, this comes back to the benefit of balance. A routine that offers a variety of disciplines will only further your progress in your sport of choice.
Cross Training Keeps Boredom Away
The number one reason people have for falling off the workout wagon is boredom. Cross training can certainly help keep things interesting and eliminate any potential monotony.
Let’s say your favourite sport is running. Even though you may love it, those long distance training runs can become quite boring after awhile, making it difficult to maintain motivation. By breaking up your program with some swimming or light weight training or maybe cycling, you’re cardiovascular and muscular systems will benefit along with staving off the potential monotony.
Cross Training Helps Eliminate Injury
One of the biggest hindrances to making progress in a fitness routine is injury. A pulled hamstring, runners knee, a popping shoulder or tendonitis are all annoyances caused by overuse and will put a hold on your training most definitely. This can be very discouraging as you may end up in a position where you are constantly taking two steps forward and one step back.
By using the cross training technique, overuse injuries are less likely to occur since the method of training is broken up, allowing for sufficient rest and recovery of the involved muscles and joints. In addition, the body is more balanced and strength and fitness are more evenly distributed. This helps alleviate excessive stress from certain over worked muscle groups.
Cross training adds fun, balance, variety and stimulation to your training program. By exploring different sports or training methods you may just come across a certain activity that you had never imagined you’d be trying. You may discover a true passion or simply have some fun trying out new things and meeting new people.
By using the cross training technique, your body and mind will always remain stimulated. This will lead to greater strength gains, more calories burned and a healthier, more attractive physique.