Why and how to Start Cross-Training
Cross-Training tips to reach your personal training goals
Do you ever find yourself doing the same workouts over and over again and not getting the results you are hoping for? It could be because you are not mixing up your exercises enough through cross-training. If you think about it, how can you expect to become a better runner if all you do is run? The same applies to cycling, swimming or any of your other favourite exercises that you may prioritise over mixing it up and trying new things.
However, it can be quite hard to break an exercise routine to start including other forms of training. Our Core Merino Brand Development Manager, Monica, for example, is an avid runner. She loves nothing more than starting her day with a quick run on the beachfront or her favourite trails. If the weather doesn’t play along, she tends to hop on the treadmill instead of opting for a stationary bike, a swim or even a quick yoga class despite knowing that this should be the perfect opportunity for a little cross-training.
Here is an overview of what combination of exercise will be beneficial for you, along with some tips on how to build cross-training into your routine.
Not only can runners benefit from a bit of cycling, but cyclists can also benefit from running. So do yourself a favour and grab a bike and go for a pedal outside. Or if the weather isn’t playing, head over to your local gym and hop on a stationary bike or better yet join up with a spinning class. It is important to remember varied speeds and resistance create a heart-pumping, leg-burning workout which is significantly different from going on a run, even if you are doing hill sprints or other speed work.
Walking itself actually makes for a great form of cross-training – especially if you are moving with purpose. A slouchy walk around the block will be more minimal than a hike on a local trail so keep that in mind and use it as an excuse to explore an area you might not have otherwise.
Swimming makes for a great cross-training exercise because it won’t jeopardise your cardiovascular fitness. It may even help to prolong your cycling or running longevity. Start out slow, with just a few laps around the pool to help gain your sea legs if you are not used to swimming. Work to build up to do more laps overtime or if you have any arm or shoulder problems we suggest you try running with a flotation device. This exercise will offer similar benefits to running without the impact on your lower body.
Strength training comes in the form of both upper and lower body exercises. Both are equally important to help avoid muscle imbalances, which can adversely impact your performance in the exercises you enjoy most, but also can lead to injury. Some great upper body strength training exercises include bench press, bicep and tricep curls, and pull-ups. As for your lower body, we propose various types of lunges, squats and jumps to ensure you work different muscles all while engaging your core. By adding in a bit of strength training each week, you will build overall body stability and help strengthen your bones, which you will thank yourself later on.
If you are a cyclist who has never run before it probably isn’t worth going all-in on the first outing, but with a decent pair of running shoes you can slowly ease into running. We recommend starting off with short distances with walking intervals. This way, you won’t burn yourself out on running by attempting to jump in and immediately run a five km.
Golf can actually be a great form of cross-training, as long as you walk the full 18 holes without using a caddy.
These are just a few exercises you might consider adding to your routine, especially if you are typically singularly focused on one form of exercise. Just remember, adding cross-training into your schedule will take time, so start off slowly by just adding in one day a week when you mix it up. Once you determine what you enjoy most, you can start adding those cross-training exercises more regularly.
Are you a big fan of cross-training? Let us know in the comments what your favourite cross-training exercises are!
Also, check out our post on how to include outdoor activities in your workweek.
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