“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain
Of all the sporting activities in the world, cross training, sometimes wrongly referred to as CrossFit, is one of the most complete workouts you can do.
Whether it’s for getting back into shape, achieving a healthy body weight, doing upper body strength training, or to build muscle, cross-training combines a number of different sporting disciplines and workout routines in order to work on various aspects of your physique including your weight, flexibility, endurance, and strength.
You can start cross training with some simple equipment. (Source: Pexels)
The principle of cross training is very simple, it focuses on HIIT (highly intensity interval training) which involves doing high-intensity activities for a short period of time and then resting for a short period of time.
In order to do this type of activity, often called workout of the day, you won’t need very much equipment. In fact, the best thing about this interdisciplinary activity is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace.
While it’s recommended that you enlist the help of a personal trainer since they’ll be able to create a program that is tailored to your needs, you can also do cross-training in gyms. However, you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment like the treadmills, rowing machines, or weights that they have at health clubs.
There are a lot of muscle training activities you can do just by using your own body weight for resistance. You most certainly don’t need chemicals like growth hormones or anabolic steroids.
To lose weight, tone, or sculpt your body, you can use simple equipment such as a skipping rope, a pull-up bar, or kettlebells.
The main goal of cross-training is to increase your VO2 Max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during aerobic exercise, which occurs during light or moderate intensity exercises. This will limit the amount of lactic acid in the muscle tissue when you pass the anaerobic threshold.
Kettlebells are round balls with a flat bottom and a large handle on the top and can be used for a number of different activities during cross training. By using kettlebells, you can increase your strength and muscular endurance.
You can also use a pull-up bar during your sessions. This will allow you to utilise your own body weight and work out your back muscles, your biceps, your triceps, your abs, and your pecs, for example.
Resistance bands are also another useful item for doing cross training and you can take them almost anywhere.
Other useful equipment includes dip bars, punching bags, dumbbells, etc.
Is that everything?
For a beginner, yes. Let’s have a look at a typical cross-training session for gaining muscle mass and losing fat.
You should always be wary of programmes that promise almost miraculous results.
Start off simple with cross training. (Source: Sir_hennihau)
However, intense physical activities burn calories at a higher rate and, when coupled with a balanced and healthy diet, can be very effective. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to do cross-training.
Your training sessions in the first week will include three rounds of three exercises that last 30 seconds each with a 30-second rest at the end of each round.
Jumping jacks and designed to improve your cardiac rhythm. Start by standing with your feet together in your arms by your sides. Jump into the air and open your legs and raise your arms horizontally before bringing all your limbs back to their starting position before you land. Repeat this activity at a moderate rhythm. Make sure that you breathe in at the start position and exhale as you jump. It’ll also help to contract your abs as you do it.
This exercise can strengthen your hamstrings, your buttocks, and your back. Lower the kettlebells to your thighs and as you stand back up raise your arms towards the sky.
The final warm-up exercise, core strength works your abs and oblique muscle.
The session consists of five rounds of the three following exercises:
You can cool back down while lying on your back with your arms by your side and breathing with your stomach.
During the second week of training, the exercises will become more intense and you work more with the pullup bar and a resistance belt.
You can also wear a weighted vest if you really want to push yourself to work harder.
Some of the simplest exercises are often the best. (Source: scottwebb)
Now that you’re all warmed up, there are three exercises you have to do during the session:
Make sure you do your stretches at the end of the session to avoid aches and pains the following day.
To keep things fresh, you can also add the following exercises:
Don’t forget to give yourself 30 seconds or so between each set.
To avoid muscle damage, coaches tend to recommend that you leave 48 hours between sessions.
Once you get the hang of cross training, you can start doing more complicated exercises. (Source: scottwebb)
A typical session during the third week will include 21, 18, 15, 12, 6, then 3 reps of each of the following exercises on a Tuesday :
Kettlebell goblet squats include holding the kettlebell with both hands against your chest and doing a squat.
When doing a push-up, you can either do them from your feet or your knees and use your arms to lower your chest to the floor, breathing out as you extend your arms to push yourself back up.
Your second session of the week on Thursday, 48 hours after the first session, will include a warm-up session of 30 jumping jacks and 10 sets of row strap training.
There are the main exercises for the session:
Burpees for adopted by the American army in 1942 to train soldiers and then taken on board by those fighting in Europe during the Second World War. They consist of two main movements that are good for cardio.
Start by standing up with your feet shoulder width apart, jumping down into a plank position, then bring your feet up to your hands.
Without stopping, jump up while raising your arms in the air before landing back in the starting position.
The final week of intensive training focuses on your legs, at your buttocks, and your abs.
Warm up with three rounds of the following exercises:
The final week increases the intensity even more. You’ll do the following exercises:
Kettlebell lunges involve standing with your feet together holding the kettlebell against your chest as you step forward with one leg before returning it to the starting position. Alternate between each leg.
Situps involve lying on your back and, as the name suggests, sitting up.
As you lie down, Iran should be by your side with your hands behind your feet.
To warm up for your last sessions of the month, start by doing 20 mountain climbers (get into a squat position and bring alternating knees up to your chest as quickly as possible) and 20 squats during 4 minutes.
Rest for 60 seconds and do another 4 minutes of exercise by doing 10 kettlebell presses and 10 situps.
Are you ready for even more exercise?
Here is what you need to do:
For more information about CrossFit and cross training, don’t hesitate to get advice from some of the coaches or tutors on Superprof.