Many people take up fitness for many reasons. For some, it’s a way to de-stress and keep themselves busy, while others want to lose weight or just maintain a healthy body. Whatever the reason, more people are encouraged to engage in fitness, and there are many ways of doing this. One perfect example is cross-training.
Cross-training is precisely what it sounds like: It involves alternating between many different types of exercise. Swimming is an excellent example, for one. It’s a full-body workout that involves many cardiovascular exercises. It works your legs, arms and back, and it’s also a great way to burn calories and gain endurance. While highly beneficial, not many people think of it much because they’re already doing a program or think one is enough. For this reason, we’ll discuss how cross-training can work wonders for someone trying to get fit.
The Basics of Cross-Training
There are many ways to cross-training, though one of the best methods is to alternate from one exercise to the next. The best way to do this is to go from a hard workout to a light one. For example, one day, you may swim for an hour. The next day, you can go for a walk or do some light exercises. The benefit of this method is that you get a change of pace, but it will not throw your body off. You can improve your fitness levels without getting hurt or exhausted.
There are also times when you can cross-train and do some weight lifting simultaneously. For example, you could do one or two sets per exercise, like the bench press. You could do a set three to five times, with a set rest in between. You would then do another set, perhaps a different exercise. It all depends on certain factors, such as your fitness level and strength. You shouldn’t worry about it because it will increase as long as you keep at it.
The Benefits of Cross-Training
If you decide to engage in cross-training, you’ll reap the following benefits:
Flexibility for Your Training Needs
Cross-training is the perfect way to get a little variety in your workout routine. This can keep your body from getting used to the same exercises, which will improve your performance. When you’re ready to go back to a more intense routine, you’ll have more strength and endurance.
Coordinates the Entire Body
Even though you may focus on one type of exercise, such as running, it works virtually every muscle in your body. When you switch over to, say, the weight bench, you’ll get the same effect. This keeps your muscles balanced, which is essential. It’s in your best interest not to develop an imbalance because it can cause injuries.
Increases Agility, Balance, and Skill
You’ll also notice an improvement in your coordination and balance. You’ll be more skilled at new techniques, and you’ll be better able to catch yourself as you fall.
Works Muscles While Others Recover
Your body is designed so that it works for each muscle group independently. When one muscle group is working, the other ones are resting. Cross-training will keep your rest periods fully effective as you switch from one exercise to another.
Creating a Cross-Training Routine
To create the perfect cross-training routine, you’ll need to consider the following:
Many people focus on weightlifting or running, but cross-training will help your cardiovascular condition. Swimming is an excellent way to get your cardio in, and it’s something that you can do a lot of. If you want to lose weight, you can do this while doing an intense routine on the treadmill to ensure you don’t slack off.
Strength training is another vital part of your cross-training. The key is to keep it interesting, so incorporating different exercises will keep your body from adapting to the same routine. If you’re not ready for a lot of strength training, you can do it for a few minutes at a time and just focus on one set.
Flexibility and Balance Training
You may also want to consider working on your flexibility and balance. Yoga is a great way to get flexible, and climbing is an excellent way to work on balance. Again, you can select one exercise and just do one set to keep your body from adapting.
How Often Should You Cross-Train?
You can cross-train as often as you would like, except that you should not do it every day. You’ll wear your body down if you do, which isn’t good. If you’re just starting, you can do cross-training two to three times a week, and then you can add more time after you get the hang of it.
Cross-training is a great way to amp up your exercise program. It keeps your body feeling strong and balanced and ensures that your workout routine is varied. It’s a great way to burn calories and keep yourself busy. All you have to do is pick and choose from the different exercises and do what you feel is best. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to take on a more intense exercise routine.
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