If your results have hit a brick wall even though you’ve been following your fitness routine faithfully, maybe it’s time to try cross training. What’s that, you say? It’s when you change your regular workout and add in other types of exercise. Here are 6 of the best reasons to cross train:
1. Prevent injury. Doing the same workout over and over again stresses joints, muscles, and ligaments without giving them full recovery. Overuse is one of the primary reasons for injury. Working the same muscles in a different way, or completely different muscle groups, can give your muscles the rest they need to help prevent problems that keep you from training!
2. Balance your muscles. By working different muscle groups, you will maintain muscular symmetry. If you’ve been doing mostly squats and lunges, focusing on your lower body, your upper body may lack the definition that your legs and buns have. Add in an upper-body workout, one that includes resistance training to help you achieve total-body balance. Plus, you’ll get the extra benefit of looking toned all over!
3. Gain strength. With cross training you can increase the overall strength of your muscles. For example, if you run, or do mostly cardio-based workouts, add a sculpting routine. Resistance training dumbbells or bands) can translate into faster running times, and better endurance, not to mention a speedier metabolism.
4. Prevent boredom. Doing the same old thing gets old. Spice up your workout by trying something—or someone—new! If you’ve been following a particular trainer’s programs, try someone else’s. Each trainer has a different style and will challenge—and even entertain you—in different ways. If you’ve done ‘em all, maybe you just need to get outside for a bit. Consider a sport that’s always interested you.
5. Keep making progress with your muscles. Progress with a training routine plateaus somewhere between 4 and 12 weeks. By changing your workout, you make more consistent progress!
6. Rest tired muscles. OK, so you don’t want to give up your workouts, but you feel like your performance is going downhill? Maybe you just need to rest the groups of muscles you’ve been working relentlessly for months on end. Give em’ a break by doing something different. Go for a hike, a bike ride, or a swim.