5 benefits of Cross training

Female personal trainer teaching to man in a hard suspension training with fitness straps on a fitness center


“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour.”
― William Cowper

“A change is as good as a rest.”
― Winston S. Churchill

I think that we are all a bit of snobs. Secretly we all think that our sport is better, or that the way we train is superior. Runners run, bikers bike. Well I am here to tell you, it doesn’t matter what your sport is, you are going to hit a point where doing sport specific workouts are not going to be enough.

I am not saying that if you are a runner to start only lifting weights. Most of your workouts would still be running. However, I strongly believe that doing other exercises will make not only make you better, but you will enjoy your workouts so much more.

Don’t believe me? That’s ok, I came armed with some examples.


“When you only do one fitness activity — like running or weight lifting, for example — and you only work on the muscles involved in that sport, you may discover that you are far less fit than you think,” says Todd Schlifstein, DO, a sports medicine rehabilitation doctor at New York University Medical Center’s Rusk Institute. ( source -http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/get-stronger-and-leaner-with-cross-training)

By engaging in activities that you would not normally do, you start to ask more from your body. Not that many years ago, I completely ignored core strength. I figured that it would come naturally from all the other activities I was doing. Boy, how wrong I was. It only took one winter of focus for me to realize that having a stronger lower back, meant I could climb hills more efficiently and engage stronger muscles. (link to stronger ass post)

Greater efficiency

Stronger muscles mean more efficient motions.

Among the recent studies demonstrating these benefits was a Swedish study in which trained runners replaced 32 percent of their running with plyometrics for a period of nine weeks. After nine weeks, their maximum sprint speed, running economy, and 5K race times were all found to have improved, whereas runners in a control group that maintained their normal training schedule showed no improvements.

Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/training/the-case-for-cross-training_7917#oW8dvwUMZEgV8yqU.99

Injury prevention

If you are a runner, this one will really strike home. Repetitive motion injuries run amok amongst any serious runner. Doing the same motion time and again is, shall we say, ludicrous.

What is even crazier, is most of these injuries can be prevented. It is likely, a repetitive motion injury is caused by one of these things:
* Inadequate recovery – hello! overtraining
* Biomechanical irregularities – overpronate? weak ankles?
* Muscular imbalances – tight hamstrings or hips
* Improper equipment – wrong shoes or improper bike fitting

Active recovery

For me, this was the biggest benefit of them all. There is no doubt that running more then 4 days a week takes it’s toll on my body. When I started mixing in other activities, whether they were biking, lifting or HIIT workouts, not only were my running muscles recovering but the increase in blood flow was actually helping them recover quicker.

Although, one downside of this is the ability to overtrain. Remember rest days are important too. ( link to rest day post)

Mental recovery

Do you get all twitchy on your days off? I do! In fact, it was pointed out to me that my co-workers try to avoid me on days where I have been scheduling days off. God forbid, it be a taper week!

There are plenty of studies to prove that we get addicted to working out. It is in fact a chemical reaction. Endorphins are amongst the most powerful addictions out there.

But, what are you to do? We can’t be working out all the time. Well, luckily you can get that endorphin rush from more then one type of workout. So keep yourself and your friends sane, and change things up once in awhile. They will thank you for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *