How fit do you think you are? How fit are you, actually? If you have been faithful to a particular exercise day after day, you may suddenly find that you got a crick in your back from simply leaning over to pick up a carton.

This is the kind of injury you can expect if your physical fitness is limited to one activity. According to Todd Schlifstein of NYU, “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….Using just one set of muscles repeatedly can also increase your risk of repetitive injury.”

The answer is cross training, which may mean stepping out of your comfort zone and seeking out new dynamic programs. Cross training is the combination of several different workout strategies for a comprehensive training session. One example would be the combination of body building, track and field movements (i.e. sprints, power throws etc.) and boxing within a single workout session. Another example would be to complete a circuit consisting of an Olympic lift, a traditional closed-chain compound lift, and a core exercise.

Cross training is growing in popularity due to the CrossFit market; but this is no new concept. It has long since been used, and is still being used as a programming scheme for top athletes and specimens in the military, NFL, and NBA (if you have a quality personal trainer/strength and conditioning coach, you too are benefiting from these types of workouts).
There are three main benefits to cross training.

(1) Conditioning: Because you will be doing a variety of exercises from different disciplines, you will be asking more of your body than when you perform a straight forward approach to exercise. By increasing your workload and the variety, you increase your capability. When you do more with your body, your athletic level and your fitness level will grow. It is important to note that cross training workouts are not focused on a single goal like gaining strength or increasing speed. Instead they cater to these needs simultaneously. Cross training is the only training where you can gain muscle, lose fat and increase cardio-aerobic capacity in a single workout= MOST EFFECTIVE WORKOUTS!!!

(2) Injury Prevention: Most injuries in the gym occur because people are over-doing a single activity. Your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons are under an enormous amount of stress caused by repeated movements without a break. Instead, by mixing up your routine, the over-used body parts get a chance to rest and the under-used get a chance to get stronger resulting in your becoming a healthier and more complete athlete/individual.

(3) Active Recovery: This is the practice of using an alternative type of training as recovery from your main training method. A popular example would be the football player who is working out in the swimming pool on his “off-day” in order to recover quicker from his primary workout. Another example commonly seen is an athlete using a stationary bicycle in order to keep the legs loose or to elicit healing (as in a similar situation to the previous example). Active recovery can be as simple as walking after a sprint. Besides the benefits of conditioning and injury prevention, cross training can actually hasten recovery by increasing blood flow, and by delivering nutrients to stressed and damaged muscles.

My staff and I are dedicated to making sure that your workouts safely increase your overall strength by incorporating cross training in your workout programs.

For more information call me at DC Strength Ohio: 440-773-6498.