Cross training is typically defined as an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness. It is exercise that makes your whole body stronger by performing a variety of different activities. In athletic training and in sports, the athlete participates in activities other than their usual sport. The goal is improving overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another.
Documented Benefits of Cross Training:
Reduced risk of injury. By spreading the cumulative level of orthopedic stress over additional muscles and joints, individuals are able to exercise more frequently and for longer durations without excessively overloading particularly vulnerable areas of the body (e.g., knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows and feet). People who are particularly prone to lower-body injuries from running long distances causing impact and muscular imbalances should consider incorporating low-impact activities such as elliptical training, cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates, stretch and weight training into their regimens. These activities will supplement their running. They build strength and flexibility in muscles that running doesn't utilize. It may help to prevent injury by correcting those muscle imbalances that develop during training for individual activities/sports.
Enhanced weight loss. Individuals who want to lose weight and body fat should engage in an exercise program that enables them to safely burn a significant number of calories. Research has shown that such a goal, in most instances, is best accomplished when individuals exercise for relatively long durations (i.e., more than 30 minutes) at a moderate level of intensity (i.e., 60 percent to 85 percent of maximal heart rate). Overweight individuals can effectively achieve a reduction in body weight and fat stores by combining two or more physical activities in a cross-training regimen. They can, for example, exercise on an elliptical trainer for 20 to 30 minutes and then cycle for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
Improved total fitness and weight management. Cross training should include activities that develop muscular fitness, as well as aerobic conditioning. The added benefits of improving muscular strength and endurance can pay substantial dividends. For example, research has shown that resistance training can help individuals prevent injury, control body weight and improve functional capacity. Higher active muscle fibers developed and maintained through weight training will help the body improve its metabolic activity (you will burn more energy while resting). Aerobic conditioning will help to improve cardiovascular function and burn calories, which will help with weight management. Not to mention it is an extremely valuable stress buster.
How Can I Get Started?
The essential fundamentals of cross training are the same whether you are exercising for improved health and fitness or for competition. Try varying your exercise program from workout to workout by engaging in different types of activities, or simply add a new form of exercise (e.g., resistance training, Pilates, Stretch or Yoga or HIIT, Circuit or No Limits class) to your existing workout routine.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate cross training is to alternate between aerobic activities (e.g., run one day, stair climb the next, cycle the next). You can also alternate activities within a single workout (e.g., walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes, exercise on an elliptical trainer for 10 minutes and cycle for 10 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes of exercise). Group Fight Class one day, followed by Group Power or yoga the next, and so on.
Depending on your time allotment for fitness, there are a million and one ways and activities to choose from to cross train. It is best to consult with your Fitness Professional to develop a program suited for you specific goals.
ORC offers a wide variety of activities to keep you cross training for a long period of time with over 110 Group Fitness classes with various muscle conditioning classes, Circuit, HIIT, Aqua Fit, various cardio, stretch, yoga and relaxation classes. Not to mention activities in the fitness center, squash and tennis.
Check out the new Water Running class where you will run in deep water. This challenges your fitness without overstressing your joints. Do your body a favor by swapping out the concrete, and plunging into the pool for your next cardio workout. (See Aqua Fit schedule for times)
Also new this winter- No limits. This 45 minute class is not for the faint of heart. Are you ready to work hard and get real results? No Limits will work the whole body with gritty resistance and cardio exercises, done in quick succession with little or no rest in between.
The moral of the story is that cross training can offer you a refreshing physical and mental challenge. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and give something new a try!
Cross Training Challenge for all Biggest Mover Participants. Tell us how you tried something absolutely new inside the ORC and you can earn 1 bonus point per week.