To cross train is to work muscle groups or energy systems not normally used in your chosen activity. For example, a soccer player whose workouts include push-ups and chin-ups is cross training. A professional arm wrestler who goes jogging three times a week is doing the same. On the outside, it seems these exercises would have no benefit. In fact, it seems that they might even rob an athlete of energy needed to work on his or her core activity. Not true. There are a host of benefits.
First of all, cross training balances out your body. Both aerobic and anaerobic fitness are crucial to a long and healthy life. The two energy systems actually help each other. A swimmer who lifts weights is going to have stronger muscles. He`ll be able to push himself farther, swim faster. A weight lifter who swims is going to have more endurance and better control of her breathing.
When it comes to balancing muscle groups, cross training greatly lessens the chance of injury by reducing the stress to a specific muscle or group of muscles and strengthening their opposing group. Muscles support each other and lack of muscular balance can lead to injury. The classic example of this is the need for a strong back to do serious abdominal work.
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