Cross training is simply doing a variety of workouts – either during the same workout, or over the course of a workout schedule.
There are generally 3 disciplines: aerobic, resistance training, and stretching. A solid cross training regimen includes all three to some degree.
Let me give you an example, a single cross training workout might be include:
Workout: 30 minutes on an elliptical, 15 minutes resistance training, and 25 minutes stretching.
Or, it may be over the several work outs and be as follows:
Day 1: 50 minute run.
Day 2: 25 minutes weight lifting and 35 minutes of core work.
Day 3: 30 minutes on an exercise bike and 30 minutes stretching.
Day 4: 35 minutes using a rower concluding with 30 minutes stretching.
Cross training Benefits:
1. You get to stop doing the same workout all the time. Mix it up and have more fun with variety.
2. Getting in peak shape and being a peak performer is more likely if you do cross training so you condition your entire body – all muscles and systems. Cross training does this.
3. Let your body recover. If you do a one hour weight lifting workout of your upper body, you certainly don't want to do another hour of weight training on your upper body the next day. But, you can do a nice 40 minute elliptical training session or 45 minute stationary bike ride.
4. Have fun learning new skills that may benefit your primary workout activity. For example, weight training can make you stronger for running.
You can also cross train within a workout discipline. For example, you can do weight training in such a way so that one time it is anaerobic (rest between sets) and aerobic by doing super-sets.
Supercharge your conditioning and performance with cross training – you'll also have more fun working out.