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Cross Training

Making the most of your workouts!

Cross training is defined as utilizing more than one exercise in order to improve athletic performance and physical fitness.  There are several reasons why varying your exercise routine is valuable for your overall health.  

When we incorporate aerobics, strength training, and flexibility into our daily routine, we allow specific muscles groups to activate, enhancing our performance for well-rounded musculoskeletal development.  It also assists with increasing our aerobic capacity and reducing the risk of injury.

When the same muscles are trained using the same technique, the muscles become familiar with the activity and do not respond to the stimuli as well.  If you’ve been visiting a gym long enough, you tend to notice the same people usually performing the same routine without and visible physical changes.  

This is typically the result of “accustomed training”.  The body expects the same physical movements and does not respond, as it no longer challenges or stresses the muscle groups.

Also, if you train with heavy weight stressing the same muscles without a rest, the tiny tears in the muscle fibers that naturally occur with strength training become so damaged that the muscles are not able to gully grow, prohibiting a successful workout.  This is where aerobic exercise is valuable. 

You may not see the results of cross training overnight, but the effects will be noticeable quickly.  Incorporating a well-balanced diet will only enhance the effects of varied training.  Your cross-training routine should be re-evaluated weekly in order to mix up the workout to “shock” the muscles for growth.  

Even with cross training you can become too comfortable with your routine.  Keep a log of your training in order to ensure you are not repeating the exercise too often. 

Cross training is an ideal method to improve the entire body by using the three components mentioned earlier: aerobic training (cardio), strength training (loaded weight bearing), and flexibility (yoga, stretching, Pilates).  Cross training is recommended each day of training for 30-90 minutes, 5-6 days a week for maximum results.

 

Of course, any time you develop a new exercise routine, you should consult with your physician before starting it. 

Sources:
https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/cross-training
https://www.verywellfit.com/cross-training-improves-fitness-and-reduces-injury-3120769
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/36/what-is-cross-training-and-why-is-it-important