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Are You Cross-Training? Why You Should Be

Posted Jan 17 2011 6:00am

Credit: Jim Bahn

How would you like an exercise program that banishes boredom, improves your fitness, develops new skills and prevents injuries? Sounds like an infomercial, but it’s not! It’s cross-training, and you can do it whenever and wherever you are in your fitness journey. Read on for the skinny on this beneficial activity.

What Is Cross-Training?

Often written as “X-training,” the term cross-training refers to a workout routine that involves several different forms of exercise. So instead of always running or walking for your cardio, you mix things up regularly, swapping out a day of running for another activity such as swimming, dancing, using the elliptical, biking, or any other form of exercise. Cross-training isn’t just about cardio, although that is what it typically refers to. This method can be used to improve strength as well, by mixing in a variety of strength training activities into your workout plan (Pilates, yoga, free weights, body sculpting classes, etc.).

Why Cross-Training Programs Rock

Cross-training has long been used by professional athletes. Although the pros have to train specifically for their sports, practicing the same movements over and over again can lead to overuse injuries and even burnout. It can also result in muscular imbalances, by overdeveloping the muscles used for their sport and neglecting others. So a basketball player may focus on shooting free throws and running drills on the court, but also cross-train with yoga and other strength exercises. This prevents injury and boredom and develops an all-around fit body.

Jenn


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