We can define cross-training as an exercise regimen that uses different techniques, types of equipment, or methods of training to develop both cardiovascular and skeletomuscular fitness. It provides overall development and ensures that training delivers the best results in a shorter period. There can be various goals for which one can adopt cross-training regimen. No matter what level of fitness one has, cross-training can be beneficial in many ways.
This fitness program has many components. Running, cycling, weight lifting, swimming, yoga, calisthenics, Pilates, battle rope, rowing, and many more such activities can become part of cross-training program. Depending on the availability of space, equipment, time, and level, one can include all or a few components of training to make the most suitable cross-training program to meet the goals.
Cross-training at home
Functional training, bodyweight workouts, yoga, stationary bike, treadmill, calisthenics, Zumba, pilates are fit to be done at home. We may not do all as mentioned above but chose what is available and interests us. At home, it is easy to start even if you feel your level of fitness is low. You may feel hesitant in hitting a gym or joining a group. But once you start doing regularly, it will not take more than three months to reach a good level.
Cross-training at gym
We have a large variety of equipment available in gyms. There are many gyms which have the latest equipment to deliver results faster. Treadmill, cross trainer, battle rope, weight training, resistance training, etc. You may also find a trainer in the gym to guide you in using equipment correctly.
Cross-training when on the move
Many of us live lives out of suitcases. The work makes us travel so much that we are not able to maintain the training regimen. So in a hotel room, all you need is a small place to do yoga, calisthenics, resistance band, suspension bands, etc. Packing resistance or suspension bands with your stuff is not difficult as these hardly occupy space and are almost weightless.
Benefits of cross-training
- Overall development of the body.
- Weight loss becomes effective.
- Body shaping in a shorter span of time
- Prevents various sorts of injuries.
- Increases performance in competitive events
- Improves posture
- Provides balance and mobility to muscles and joints.
- Boosts mental and physical health
- Helps in recovery faster from difficult/ hard days.
How to start
Fundamentals of cross-training remain the same irrespective of the purpose. Hence if you are doing it for fitness, weight correction, or competition the planning remains the same. All you need to do is vary your program from workout to workout by engaging in a different activity. You can sometimes add a different or a new exercise making the cross-training program more interesting.
One way of doing this is to incorporate cross-training on alternate days. Thus if you are a runner, cyclist, or swimmer, simply change your activity on alternate days. That helps you train better.
Alternate activity is another way of doing the activity. Here you mix your regular training program with other activities. Maybe you run on a treadmill for 10 minutes and then do a cross-trainer for 10 minutes followed by cycling for 10 min or any other activity.
Benefits are many and varied. No matter how much you love your preferred activity, you will feel dull doing the same thing over and over again. Adding variety to the training program keeps you motivated and interested in following an exercise regimen. Even if you are never bored of your main activity, you must cross-train so that your performance and overall fitness improves.
Article by: Capt Jitender Fitness expert H2F Care