EXERCISE SAFETY AND INJURY PREVENTION: Cross-Training Your Way to Fitness

EXERCISE SAFETY AND INJURY PREVENTION: Cross-Training Your Way to Fitness

Exercising safely and preventing injuries are two important challenges for people who engage in cardiorespiratory endurance exercise. This section provides basic safety guidelines that can be applied to a variety of fitness activities. Chapters 4 and 5 include additional advice specific to strength training and flexibility training.

A cross-training program changes the exercises in your program frequently and tries to use broad and constantly varying training stimuli. It also tries to develop metabolic capacity by incorporating high-intensity aerobic exercise and interval training. The goal of a cross-training program is to build the broadest and most general fitness possible. Its specialty is not specializing.

Cross-training emphasizes whole-body, high-intensity training using exercises such as deadlifts, cleans, squats, presses, jerks, kettlebell exercises, snatches, plyometrics, sled pulls, and weight carrying. People who cross-train learn to manage their body weight by practicing gymnastics, pull-ups, dips, rope climbing, push-ups, handstands, pirouettes, flips, and splits. They also do aerobics such as running, cycling, rope-skipping, and rowing, with the emphasis on speed and intensity. Crosstraining programs, such as CrossFit, attempt to develop well-rounded fitness by including exercises that build cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. The appeal of cross-training programs such as CrossFit is that the workouts are short, intense, and produce fast results. The best cross-training workouts are tough but tailored to physical capacity and age.

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Basic Program Based on Cross-Training Principles

The basic concept of cross-training is to change the exercises frequently, train intensely, and work out quickly. Also, it is necessary to maintain good form, particularly when you get tired. A core philosophy of most cross-training programs is that you are only fit if you perform well in 10 areas of fitness. The sample workout below will give you a taste of this kind of training.

Do the circuits 3 times but do not exceed 20-30 minutes for the workout. Break the exercises into sets if you cannot complete all the repetitions (e.g., 20 pull-ups). Record your time. Train as hard and as fast as you can while maintaining good technique. Select a weight that allows you to complete the reps in the sets. The principles of resistant exercise are described in Post 4.

Sample Cross-Training Workouts

(Change exercises every workout)

Workout 1

40 push-ups 10 standing long jumps 40 squats with hands on your hips 20 dumbbell or kettlebell swings Skip rope rapidly for three minutes Rest three minutes; repeat circuit 2 more times

Workout 2

20 pull-ups

20 dumbbell thrusters (front squat with barbell or dumbbells, then immediately perform an overhead press)

20 overhead squats 10 kettlebell snatches (10 for each arm) two minutes spinning on bike while standing, maximum intensity Rest three minutes; repeat circuit 2 more times

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