Cross Training

Cross training is a very useful method of sustaining or increasing fitness levels, reducing overuse or repetitious symptoms by changing the way the body is used and alleviating boredom in training routines.

Cross training can be incorporated as a regular part of your fitness regime and is a useful jump-start to overall fitness, co-ordination, strength and balance.

Above Stevens Pass, WA

Above Stevens Pass, WA

There are an infinite number of things that can be done for cross training dependent on an individual’s goals.

As an example I have a current goal of overall body fitness for a week long backcountry ski/snowboard tour in British Columbia later this winter. I have to decide what areas of my body are going to be used excessively for this trip and the answer is, all of it!!!

As a runner with a general fitness level it’s relatively easy to start ramping up activity levels to attain my goal. Keep on running yes, but aimed at endurance rather than speed, and it doesn’t have to be marathon endurance, 10 miles at ease should suffice. Each day of the tour will probably not involve that much distance at once and running speed doesn’t enter the picture. The tour will be at high altitude and interspersed with climbs and downhills whilst carrying a pack, so plenty of other muscle groups will be taxed.

My own training consists of one day/week easy running 6-10 miles, one day/week cross training 60-70 minutes total at high intensity, one or two sessions/week resistance training including stretching 30-45 minutes at medium intensity plus I’m usually active each weekend doing something like snowboarding, practicing backcountry or running another 6 miles.

My cross training regime is aimed at 4×10 minutes of hard cardio interspersed with medium to high intensity upper body weight training. Each cardio session is done with light to moderate resistance levels at a healthy rate to tax my heart and lungs consisting of: cross-country elliptical ski machine, ERG rowing machine, Stair Stepper and intervals on an elliptical. To catch my breath between cardio I do 3 sets 10 reps of 2 upper body exercises that are different at each break.

Upper body exercises consist of Abs/Core, chest, triceps, biceps, back, rhomboids.

Lower body exercises – Gym work described above plus running and backcountry skinning uphill.