Cross training can be a confusing concept at first, and is sometimes likened to circuit training. With this type of training, exercises from other sports are included in your workouts.
What does this mean exactly? Well, if you are a runner, you might take part in swimming or cycling as part of your training, rather than just running all the time. Or, quite simply you could carry out exercise using equipment such as elliptical trainers, with the actions being similar to running but managing to incorporate slightly different movements into your workout.
It is important though that you train in a sport which replicates your normal form of exercise as much as possible, in terms of the muscles used and its aerobic/anaerobic demands, otherwise you will not benefit as much.
Of course, you must still complete the main sport you are in looking to get better in, cross training just means that you supplement your training with other forms.
Why choose cross training?
Cross training is one of the best training programmes for those who get bored easily by repetitive exercise, because it allows you to take part in a great range of activities, with many different sports improving the same aspects of your fitness.
It can also help reduce the risks of injuries, as your muscles and joints can have more time to recover between sessions as they are not used in quite the same way all the time. Swimming manages to help runners develop their full-body fitness, whilst looking after their joints and protecting them from overuse.
It can also help you to avoid muscle imbalances, or correct any, as you are avoiding just completing the same movements all the time. Again, this can help prevent injuries from occurring.
Does it lead to weight loss?
The goals of cross training depend on the individual and their intentions, but cross training can be a great way to lose weight, whilst also keeping muscles strong, as well as developing mobility. How beneficial these exercises depends on the sports you choose and the intensity that you work at.