There are a million ways to exercise out there. When you find one you love, you may tend to stick to it. However, changing things up by cross-training is beneficial for all athletic types, whether you’re a yogi or triathlete. It will help you avoid injury, challenge your body and maximize your results.
The best cross-training workout for you
If You’re: A Runner
Make Sure You: Hit the Weights
Runners are a perfect example of a group that needs to cross-train more, says trainer and exercise science professor Jessica Matthews. “Since they primarily run, they often don’t have a regular routine of strength training. But to excel, they need to think about muscular strength and endurance and flexibility, which require different types of training.” Use a weight that you can do 15-20 reps with, and train your upper body, which helps with the mechanics of running (your form), your core (to prevent injury), and your hamstrings and glutes (to balance out your leg muscles, since women tend to have stronger quads). The Ultimate Strength Workout for Runners is a great way to start.
If You’re: A Swimmer
Make Sure You: Walk, Run, or Hike
The great thing about swimming, says Sumbal, is that it’s a full body workout—it trains your cardiovascular system as well as strengthens your muscles, and those gains transfer to other sports. What it doesn’t help with is bone strength, since it’s not a weight-bearing exercise. To improve your bone density, make sure to incorporate some walking, running, or hiking into your routine.
If You’re: A Cyclist
Make Sure You: Practice Yoga
Most people sit at a desk all day, keeping their hips in a flexed position. And then cyclists get on a bike…where they sit in a similar way. All that flexing can cause tightness, which can throw off your posture and lead to inefficient movements, says Matthews. So incorporate flexibility training into your routine to balance it out, she advises. Yoga classes in particular usually focus on opening the hips. And keep in mind that—like swimmers—cyclists need to do some weight-bearing activity to keep their bones strong.
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