Variety is the spice of life. And nowhere does that apply more than your workout schedule. It’s too easy to get into a rut doing the same exercise routine every time.
But whether you are weightlifting, rowing, spinning or running, the answer to a better workout and better results may be cross-training. Essentially, cross-training involves integrating several different fitness methods that complement each other into one fitness regimen.
But don’t let this scare you.
Although some cross-training businesses are all about the intense, keep-moving atmosphere, cross-training doesn’t have to be super intense.
At its core, it’s about pairing workouts that support each other like mixing yoga into your tennis schedule or swim sessions with your boot-camp classes. The primary reason is to help improve your goals by hitting muscles that aren’t used in your typical workouts.
Of course, this doesn’t mean choosing just anything to add to your schedule. Think about your exercise goals and what would complement your established routine.
One of the greatest benefits of cross-training is the reduced risk of injury.
When you repeat one type of exercise for an extended period, your muscles, joints and bones are constantly under the same stress, which increases the risk of injury. Cross-training can help prevent injuries by allowing your body to use different muscle groups.
One study from the University of Wisconsin found that athletes who specialized in one sport had an 85% higher chance of injuries than those with multiple activities.
Regularly swapping out your workouts can boost your overall performance in and out of the gym. One study of 600 female soldiers found that those who cross-trained had greater muscular endurance than those who only ran or only lifted weights.
Cross-training also helps increase strength, power, speed, endurance, agility and balance. Bonus: Mixing it up also helps you crush gym boredom.