The term cross training refers to a training routine that involves several different forms of exercise. While it is necessary for an athlete to train specifically for their sport if they want to excel, for most exercisers cross training is a beneficial training method for maintaining a high level of overall fitness. For example, you may use both biking and swimming each week to improve your overall aerobic capacity, build overall muscle strength and reduce the chance of an overuse injury. Cross training limits the stress that occurs on a specific muscle group because different activities use muscles in slightly different ways.
Benefits of Cross Training
Reduces exercise boredom
Allows you to be flexible about you training needs and plans (if the pool is closed, you can go for a run instead).
Produces a higher level of all around conditioning
Conditions the entire body, not just specific muscle groups
Reduces the risk of injury
Work some muscles while others rest and recover
Can continue to train while injured
Improves your skill, agility and balance
What exercises should make up a good cross training routine?
Cardiovascular Exercise (Think about adding 3 different exercises from the list below):
Skating (inline or ice)
Racquetball / basketball / other court sports
Calisthenics (push ups and crunches and pull ups)
Tubing and Bands
Flexibility (stretching, yoga)
Speed, agility, and balance drills
Circuit training, sprinting, plyometrics and other forms of skill conditioning
With cross training, you can do one form of exercise each day, or more than one in a day. If you do both on the same day, you can change the order in which you do them. You can easily tailor cross-training to your needs and interests; mix and match your sports and change your routine on a regular basis.
Exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, bones, muscles, joints, reduce body fat and improve flexibility, balance and coordination. But if you want to see all of these benefits, you’ll need to start cross training. What better time to start than now? I hear your friends have taken up snowboarding.