Cross Training Guide: Definition – Examples – Benefits

Cross training examples.

What’s cross training definition in exercise?

Cross training is a fitness strategy used to avoid injury, add variety and train aggressively and safely by replacing some of your weekly primary exercise with secondary exercise(s). Cross training exercises utilize different muscles and/or movements in your arms, core, and/or legs – than that of your primary exercise.  For example, imagine if running or hiking is your primary mode of exercise.  For cross training to be applied properly you will add a secondary exercise(s) like an elliptical trainer and/or rowing machine, for reasons explained below.

What’s an example of cross training?

Cross training exercise example #1 – (EZ defined)

The ‘Easy’ cross training method – EZ for short – indicates your secondary exercise selection uses muscles and movements that are in total contrast with the primary exercise.  For example, if you are a runner or hiker your EZ cross training choice could be swimming or rowing.  EZ cross training allows your muscles to recover – while not having to reduce exercise intensity – while continuing to improve overall fitness.

Cross training exercise example #2 – (AG defined)

The ‘Aggressive’ cross training method – AG for short – specifies your exercise selection will use similar muscles and muscle actions as your primary exercise.  If you are a runner or hiker your AG cross training choice could be the Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber.  In this example your running/hiking muscles are working similarly,  but with less stress and impact. This method does not allow for as much recovery but worth trying if you need to be more aggressive in speeding up your training results.

Cross training exercise example #3

Sometimes it isn’t possible to have a perfect distinction between an EZ and AG cross training exercise.  If you are a runner/hiker and want to cross train with road biking, that is totally fine and common.  Biking will stress the quads like hiking and running, but it’s not weight bearing.  So, in this example, biking more closely resembles AG not EZ.

Cross Training Equipment Examples

In the chart below I will provide EZ and AG examples of cross training.   And, when an exercise skews toward EZ or AG I will just designate it as such.  An ‘X’ in the chart below indicates that the exercise is the primary exercise and therefore NOT a cross training option.

EXAMPLES of CROSS TRAINING for RUNNERS, HIKERS and WALKERS

Cross Training Fitness Examples Cross Training Code – Exercise Name
Man using ROPEFLEX ORYX SINGLE STATION ROPE MACHINE for fitness. EZ – ROPEFLEX ORYX SINGLE STATION ROPE MACHINE 20% off use Promo Code FITFORTRIPS
ROPEFLEX FRICTION ROPE TRAINING DRUM exercise equipment. EZROPEFLEX FRICTION ROPE TRAINING DRUM 20% off use Promo Code FITFORTRIPS
Man cross training with ROPEFLEX ROWING ROPE TRAINER. EZROPEFLEX ROWING ROPE TRAINER 20% off use Promo Code FITFORTRIPS
Woman crosstraining with ROPEFLEX APEX COMBO CLIMBER. AGROPEFLEX APEX COMBO CLIMBER 20% off use Promo Code FITFORTRIPS
Perform Better Extreme Ski Trainer for improving fitness. EZPerform Better Extreme® Ski Trainer
Hydrow Rower training and fitness equipment. EZHydrow Rower
Perform Better Extreme Rower Cross Fitness Trainer. EZPerform Better Extreme® Rower
Sole SR500 Rower exercise machine. EZSole SR500 Rower
Total Gym cross training machine. EZTotal Gym
Jacobs Ladder cross fitness training machine. AGJacobs Ladder
Jacobs Ladder 2 fitness machine. AGJacobs Ladder 2
Ropeflex APEX 2 TREAD CLIMBER cross fitness training machine. AGRopeflex APEX 2 TREAD CLIMBER 20% off use Promo Code FITFORTRIPS
Sole CC81 Cardio Climber exercise. AGSole CC81 Cardio Climber
Jacobs Ladder Stairway stepper exercise machine. AGJacobs Ladder Stairway
Cycle 360 Trainer AGCycle 360 Trainer $50.00 off use Promo Code FITFORTRIPS
Diamond Back 910sr Recumbent Magnetic Exercise Bike. AGDiamond Back 910sr Recumbent Magnetic Exercise Bike
Sole R92 Recumbent Bike for exercise. AGSole R92 Recumbent Bike
LifeFitness RS1 Lifecycle Recumbent Exercise Bike. AGLifeFitness RS1 Lifecycle Recumbent Exercise Bike
Diamond Back 510ic Indoor Cycle Magnetic Trainer. AGDiamond Back 510ic Indoor Cycle Magnetic Trainer
Sole SB700 Bike for fitness. AGSole SB700 Bike
Pro Maxima Centurion 25UX3 Commercial Upright Bike Series. AGPro Maxima Centurion 25UX3 Commercial Upright Bike Series
Diamond Back 1260ub Upright Magnetic Exercise Bike. AGDiamond Back 1260ub Upright Magnetic Exercise Bike
Sole B94 Upright Bike for fitness. AGSole B94 Upright Bike
LifeFitness C1 Lifecycle Upright Exercise Bike. AGLifeFitness C1 Lifecycle Upright Exercise Bike
Assault Air Bike for cross fitness training. AGAssault Air Bike
Octane AirdyneX Bike for cross training. AGOctane AirdyneX Bike
Sole Fitness Treadmills for fitness and exercise. XSole Fitness Treadmills
LifeFitness Treadmills for exercise and fitness. XLifeFitness Treadmills
LifeFitness Treadmills for fitness and exercise. XHorizon Fitness Treadmills
Circle Fitness 8000 - Treadmill with LED Console. XCircle Fitness 8000 – Treadmill with LED Console
True Form Trainer for cross training. XTrue Form Trainer
Sole Fitness Ellipticals for exercise. AGSole Fitness Ellipticals
Diamond Back 1280ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer for fitness. AGDiamond Back 1280ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer
LifeFitness Ellipticals for cross fitness training. AGLifeFitness Ellipticals
Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE ELLIPTICAL. AGHorizon Fitness 7.0 AE ELLIPTICAL
Pro Maxima Centurion S25EX Commercial Elliptical w/ HDTV Display for fitness and exercise. AGPro Maxima Centurion S25EX Commercial Elliptical w/ HDTV Display

 

How do I start cross training?

‘In-Season’ strategy for starting cross training: Any time during the year where your focus is improving your primary exercise is designated as In-Season.  Generally this season of training requires that you perform more primary activities than secondary activities.  In-Season culminates with an event such as a running race or a hiking trip.

‘Off-Season’ strategy for starting cross training: Any time during the year when you are just trying to stay in shape you can focus less on your primary activity and cross train instead.  For runners and hikers some cross training exercises could include rowing and/or elliptical trainer.

1 to 1: Run 1x/week and cross train 1x/week. (Beginner)

2 to 1: Run 2x/week and cross train 1x/week. (Beginner)

2 to 2: Run 2x/week and cross train 2x/week. (Intermediate Off-Season)

2 to 3: Run 2x/week and cross train 3x/week. (Intermediate/Advanced Off-Season)

3 to 1: Run 3x/week and cross train 1x/week. (Intermediate/Advanced In-Season)

3 to 2: Run 3x/week and cross train 2x/week. (Advanced Off/In-Season)

3 to 3: Run 3x/week and cross train 3x/week. (Advanced Off/In-Season)

4 to 1: Run 4x/week and cross train 1x/week. (Advanced In-Season)

4 to 2: Run 4x/week and cross train 2x/week. (Advanced In-Season)

5 to 1: Run 5x/week and cross train 1x/week. (Advanced In-Season)

What is the importance of cross training exercise?

Benefit #1 – Injury prevention

Benefit #2 – Provide variety to sustain interest and consistency

Benefit #3 – Enhance training making it easy to recover

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