The Benefits of Cross Training

What are some of the benefits of Cross training? Cross training is term that you have probably heard before, but is it really worth doing? Let’s take a look at what it is, why it helps you, and some common training modalities. That way you’ll be able to make up your own mind and see if it’s something worth adding to your current training plan.

What is cross training?

Simply put, cross training is where you supplement some of your sport specific training with a different activity. A common example would be a long distance runner who goes for a bike ride a couple of times a week. They’re still working all of the same muscles, but in a markedly different way.

The benefits of cross training

You can think of cross training as the physical equivalent of increasing your general knowledge. Yes, it’s great to know a lot about one thing. But it’s also clearly very beneficial to know a little bit about a lot of different things too. If you cross train you can supplement your targeted training with a secondary activity that gives your body something else to think about.

As you do the same exercises over and over again your body will adapt to them. This is great because it’s how you get fitter and stronger, but you’ll reach a point where you run out of ideas to push yourself. Cross training gives your muscles a whole different set of problems to try and solve, and in the process it promotes growth and improvement.

Lower body cross training

Cycling is a predominately lower body cardiovascular workout. This makes it a great choice for runners who are looking to vary things up. Because it’s non impact it doesn’t run the risk of causing muscle or compression injuries, but it does generate an amazing lactate burn. Swapping out one of your long slow runs for a 2 hour bike ride in the hills is a great way to get your blood pumping.

Upper body cross training

If you regularly lift weights but want to vary things up and work on conditioning, hitting the pads in the boxing gym is a great idea. You’ll not only get to improve your muscle endurance and aerobic capacity, you will also get to work on technique and hand-eye coordination. Something that will be of great benefit if you want to improve your technique on the bench press by fine-tuning your motor skills.

All-body cross training

Swimming is one of the best cross training activities on the planet. It works the entire body, can be enjoyed all year round, and is zero impact. If you take a dip in the pool once a week you can work virtually every muscle in the body and have the satisfaction of mastering a new discipline at the same time.

Perfect for not only refreshing your body, but refreshing the mind too. Just what you need to do if you want to keep those motivation levels sky high.