Fitness Articles

Reference Guide to Cross-Training

Why It's Beneficial and How to Do It

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How would you like an exercise program that banishes boredom, improves your fitness, develops new skills and prevents injuries? Sounds like an infomercial, but it's not! It's cross-training, and you can do it whenever and wherever you are in your fitness journey. Read on for the skinny on this beneficial activity.

What Is Cross-Training?
Often written as "X-training", the term cross-training refers to a workout routine that involves several different forms of  exercise. So instead of always running or walking for your cardio, you mix things up regularly, swapping out a day of running for another activity such as swimming, dancing, using the elliptical, biking, or any other form of exercise. Cross-training isn't just about cardio, although that is what it typically refers to. This method can be used to improve strength as well, by mixing in a variety of strength training activities into your workout plan (Pilates, yoga, free weights, body sculpting classes, etc.).

Why Cross-Training Rocks
Cross-training has long been used by professional athletes. Although the pros have to train specifically for their sports, practicing the same movements over and over again can lead to overuse injuries and even burnout.  It can also result in muscular imbalances, by overdeveloping the muscles used for their sport and neglecting others. So a basketball player may focus on shooting free throws and running drills on the court, but also cross-train with yoga and other strength exercises. This prevents injury and boredom, and develops an all-around fit body.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

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Member Comments

  • This is EXCELLENT information to know! I will definitely keep it all in mind when I start going to the gym/campus rec center. - 8/20/2014 1:06:43 AM
  • Great article. I like mixing things up. - 6/3/2013 3:41:59 PM
  • ABSOLUTELY keeps you interested and motivated - i think cross training is the main reason ive started out so well this time. ive been at it for about 2 weeks and ive already been swimming, walking, rollerblading, done yoga and worked out with a ball. always looking for something new, and its making it so much fun! id love to try a spin or zumba class. - 5/25/2013 2:48:14 PM
  • I was surprised to see that I've unintentionally been doing this the correct way - I'll use the elliptical a few days out of the week, and then belly dance during the other days! Neat! - 3/11/2013 11:14:08 PM
  • Great article! Quick but filled with information. THANKS! - 12/23/2010 7:30:30 AM
  • Great article.
    My adult children do the Tony Horton P90X work out which is all about mixing things up, so cross-training is really important. Even Jack LaLanne who is 96 says to change that routine at least every 30 days. - 12/15/2010 12:33:09 AM
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