In cross-training, two or more types of exercise are performed in one workout or used alternately in successive workouts. A distance runner in training, for example, may also lift weights twice a week, perform daily stretching exercises, and do high-intensity bicycle sprints once per week.
Exercisers turn to cross-training to fight boredom, but also because no single exercise can yield all the potential benefits of exercise. Jogging, for example, enhances aerobic fitness, but jogging contributes little to developing muscle mass, especially in the upper body. Weight training increases muscle mass, but it does not promote flexibility.
Cross-training offers advantages for both competitive athletes and those who train simply for health benefits. Cross-training helps you:
· Add variety to your workouts
· Develop your entire body
· Distribute the load of training, thus reducing the risk of overuse injury
· Keep training while recovering from injury
A cross-training program usually involves a combination of different exercises/activities, each performed for a specific period. Below are definitions and examples of the various types of exercise/activities available to be used in a cross training program.
Aerobic exercise (involves rhythmic movement of large-muscle groups for extended periods)
· walking briskly
· water aerobics
· elliptical trainer
· stair climbing
· upper body cycling
· inline skating
· zumba class
· martial arts classes
Anaerobic exercise (entails brief more intense bursts of muscle activity)
· resistance training with weights or elastic bands
· sports specific agility or speed drills
· boxing/martial arts training
· cross fit training
· Pilate’s exercises
· Yoga poses
To improve aerobic fitness, for example, you can bike for 30 minutes. To increase strength, you can lift weights for 30 minutes. You can do one form of exercise each day, or both on the same day. If you do both on the same day, you can change the order in which you do them.
Cross-training can include diverse exercises in a single routine to promote aerobic fitness, strength, and muscle endurance. For example, in circuit training you do high-repetition, low-resistance weight training and move quickly to the next exercise. Another example is step aerobics using light dumbbells.
You can easily tailor cross-training to your needs and interests. Just select exercises/activities from each of the exercise types in the previous lists (you don't have to limit yourself to the activities listed). Then build a program. Here is are some links to some other articles about cross training. physical therapist specializing in orthopedics or sports, when making up your workout schedule.