The Importance of Cross Training Workouts

Many athletes incorporate cross training into their daily workout routines. Cross training is simply a way to add variety to your training program. There are numerous ways to cross train and each exercise has its own specific benefit.

Benefits of Cross Training Workouts

Reduce Injury

When you vary your fitness routine through cross training, your body will thank you. Many people suffer from nagging sports injuries. Most of these ailments are overuse injuries that are often caused from training too much.

cross training workoutsYour joints, ligaments and tendons are subject to a great deal of impact from continual physical activity.

However, if you didn’t exercise, your body and cardiovascular health would suffer. The solution to this dilemma is to add cross training to your fitness program.

If you are a runner, and you frequently suffer from shin splints, or sore knees, substitute a day of running with swimming. This will allow your knees and joints a much needed rest, while also improving your cardio.

On the other hand, if you’re a swimmer with sore shoulders, incorporate a few days of running into your program.

Add Variety to Your Routine

Another important benefit of cross training is that it will create diversity in your training program.

People frequently get bored from doing the same old routine day after day. When you switch up your workout, the change will often help you stick to an exercise program.

If you repeat the identical cardio routine daily, you will be exercising the same muscles on a repetitive basis. Cross training will allow you to mix it up and work out your entire body. This well rounded program will have the desired effect of increasing your overall fitness.

Cardio Cross Training Workout Routines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people should participate in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all days of the week. The key is to achieve healthy cardiovascular fitness, while also protecting your joints.

An easy way to do this is to simply alternate between activities daily. An effective weekly cardio program could look like this:

Monday –       Run for 30 minutes

Tuesday –       Bike for 30 minutes

Wednesday – Swim for 30 minutes

Thursday  –    Perform 30 minutes of aerobics

Friday –         Use the elliptical for 30 minutes

Saturday –     Rest

Sunday –       Rest

As always, remember to stretch and warm up prior to doing any exercise.

Another method of cross training is to alternate these exercises within a single workout session. For example, run for 5 minutes, spend 5 minutes on a stationary bike, followed by 5 minutes on an elliptical machine and so forth for a total of 30 minutes.

Strength Training Routines

cross training workout routineCross training should also be incorporated into your strength training program. You can get fairly creative here, because there are a number of ways to do this.

For example, let’s look at a 3 day weight lifting program. This program could be performed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or whatever days fit your schedule.

If you did 4 sets of flat bench press on Monday, be prepared to change it up during your next workout.

On Wednesday, you could substitute bench press with 4 sets of incline machine bench press. This will work your muscles at a different angle.

The same methodology can be utilized for just about any exercise and body part. Apply this to your leg routine by performing 4 sets of squats on Monday, and on Wednesday substitute the squats with 4 sets of lunges.

Keep a record of your workouts to make it easier. Remember to be creative and have fun with it.

By constantly changing your routine, your muscles will be “tricked” into growth. Your muscles will have to adapt to your routine. This will have the desired effect of building muscle.

Sports Cross Training Routine

For those of you that are athletic enough to be able to participate in several sports, you are naturally enjoying the benefits of cross training.

You can play a game of tennis on Monday and maybe enjoy a “pick up” game of basketball on Wednesday.

Whether you are a recreational athlete or a pro, participation in more than one sport constitutes the basic elements of a good cross training workout. You’re adding variety, while at the same time working several muscles in the body.