Heather Black, CPT is a NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Heather Black Fitness & Nutrition where she offers remote and in-person training and nutrition coaching.
Cross training might sound intimidating, but in reality, it is simply a smart strategy for getting the most out of your fitness regimen. With the ability to minimize injury and maximize recovery, cross training offers a variety of different exercises as part of an overall program.
Whether you’re working with a personal trainer, taking advantage of different classes in your neighborhood, or simply training at home, everyone from beginners to advanced exercisers can reap the benefits of cross training. Here you will learn the proper techniques and the health benefits of cross-training.
Cross training doesn’t require a specific program. Getting started can be as simple as checking out a strength-training class one day, going for a brisk walk the next, and doing a yoga class online at home later in the week. As with any fitness program, consult with a healthcare provider to be sure you are cleared for new activity.
Cross training is a great way to minimize boredom while pursuing your fitness goals. A solid cross training program incorporates elements of strength, cardio, endurance, and flexibility. Due to the variations from day to day, cross training allows you to exercise more frequently while allowing for active recovery.
Unfortunately, one size does not fit all when it comes to selecting shoes for your cross training regimen. For example, you might include both running and strength-training as part of a cross training program, and these would require different footwear.
Further, the type of strength training that you partake in can impact the shoe you choose. A flat, harder-soled shoe might work best for squats and deadlifts, but a quicker-moving conditioning-based workout might require a flexible sole. Additionally, some shoes—specifically running shoes—may need to be replaced more often than others.
Cross-training refers to incorporating a variety of exercise programs as part of an overall fitness plan. CrossFit is its own program that includes elements of cardio, strength, and endurance.
Aerobic exercise literally means “with oxygen" and refers to physical activity that increases both the heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen. Aerobic exercise also can increase your breathing capacity and improve overall health.
Strength training is also referred to as resistance training. This type of exercise makes muscles stronger through use of weights, bodyweight, and other tools that provide resistance.
Flexibility is the ability of a joint, or joints, to move through an unrestricted, pain-free range of motion. Stretching and yoga can both improve flexibility. Having good flexibility is important for overall health and wellness and helps you perform day-to-day functions.
Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily. One way to improve agility is to use circuit training, which involves performing a set of exercises in a specific order called a circuit.
Endurance also refers to stamina. Endurance training helps the body continue working through fatigue and other factors. Longer-duration aerobic activity like running is often categorized as endurance training.
Cardio, which is short for cardiovascular exercise, benefits the heart and blood vessels by elevating your heart rate. This type of training has many benefits including improving heart health, lowering blood pressure, and assisting with weight management.