Fitness | Cross Training Part 1

Many athletes of all calibers have taken advantage of cross training to increase their cardio and strength abilities tremendously. Cross training can help a martial artist like me or a marathon runner. It can even be very helpful for weight loss and simple strength toning. You may already be doing cross training and not even know it. This is just the first of a tree part series of what cross training is and how to do it. 

So you say your in great shape. You wake up every day and run, but that’s all you do for fitness. What if someone asks you to play basketball? You think you will be able to keep up but doing something different will catch your muscles off guard. You find yourself exhausted and everyone smoked you on the court. With your routine regimen of fitness you will eventually burn out and injure yourself. Cross training is a fantastic way to switch it up so your never bored of fitness. But most of all it will prevent injury from continuously doing the same thing over and over again.

running for cross trianingCross training breaks the boundaries of typical fitness. In my previous rant, I was not bad mouthing running at all. in fact, I love to run all the time. BUT I also do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, lift, bike, circuit train. I try to not do the same workout day after day to be in better overall shape. Each one of my different fitness endeavors helps each other. That is what you have to do. You have to switch up your fitness routines. Work different muscles groups, or even work different types of muscle fibers. Working your fast twitch muscle fibers and slow twitch muscle fibers together can improve the other.

Cross training can help you develop different skills that you thought you never could do before. I will use my experiences as an example. I ran a 10K a few months ago and needed to set up a training plan a month in advance. Since this event was a running event, of course I scheduled some running time. But I also lifted weights and did circuit training. The weights and circuit training really helped my switch between fast twitch and slow twitched muscles easily. By the time of the race I was able to accurately pace myself and sprint at a moments notice.

One of the greatest things about cross training is you can continue to train while you are injured. If you injure your leg while running you can still lift weights, row, or do calisthenics.  While you are injured you can continue to improve your fitness in other levels.

Try cross training and see how your overall conditioning improves. You won’t be bored doing the same routine day after day. You may actually catch yourself having fun while learning and attaining new levels of conditioning. Catch part 2 of this blog where I go over a few cross training tips and routines.

What is your experience with cross training?

Benjamin Moore
Athlete, Beer Connoisseur, and all around Geek
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