One of the most important pieces of advice I give my clients and members of the gym is to cross train.
What is cross training? Cross training means exercising in a variety of ways. For example, during one week of training, you could mix different activities like spinning, strength training, running, and yoga.
You can look to professional athletes to prove why cross training is so important. Why? Athletes don’t only train in the sport that they compete in. They utilize a variety of training techniques to keep their body strong. This helps them perform better in their individual sport. You always want to keep your body guessing so you don’t plateau.
This methodology is equally as important for those of us who go to the gym regularly. This not only allows your body to keep progressing and getting stronger, but it also helps to prevent injuries and burnout.
We are creatures of habit. When we find something we enjoy, whether it is the same running route or the same strength training routine, we tend to stick to that. It feels good to be in a routine. But even if you workout every day, if you are doing the same thing, your body gets used to it. Muscles have memory, just like our brains. Your body will start to anticipate the same movement, and it will stop changing.
Doing the same thing day after day will cause the body to plateau, but it also puts stress on your muscles and joints. If this happens, it is time to step back and look at your exercise routine holistically. Start to think about what different activities and movement you can add into your routine to create balance.
Here are some ways you can change up your routine:
If you run 4 to 5 days per week, try to replace 1 or 2 of those days with strength training instead.
If you only strength train with machines or dumbbells, try utilizing resistance bands, tube bands, or even a TRX. Sometimes just changing your equipment can make a big difference.
Try adding a mixture of yoga or Pilates into your routine to stretch and keep yourself flexible.
A great way to challenge your body is with some agility and balancing drills.
Change up your workout by sitting on a yoga ball or bosu ball instead of a bench or mat.
The list can go on and on, and it’s really based on your individual body and routine. I am always here to answer any questions you may have on how you can add variety into your workout routine and keep your body(and mind) strong, healthy and challenged. This will not only give you more strength and energy, but will keep you free from injury.
NASM-CPT, AFAA-PTC & PGEC, MADD DOG Spin Instructor, TRX Suspension Training Instructor