11 Benefits Of Cross-Training

It’s a well-rounded training technique.

cross-training benefits your flexibility, cardio health, and more.


Cross-training is when you do multiple modes of exercise throughout the week to improve your fitness, says trainer Hannah Daugherty. Think running one day then rowing the next, or cycling and then swimming. Here are all the benefits that happen when you mix things up.


It’s Great For Cardio Health

Participating in a varied array of sports and exercises — like running and tennis — allows your body to adapt to new types of movement, says Daugherty. The added challenge has been shown to improve overall fitness, including cardio health.


Cross-Training Targets New Muscles

Think of cross-training as a well-rounded approach to fitness, adds trainer Robert Wagener. “Different types of exercise target different muscle groups and impact the body differently, so cross-training helps ensure that your entire body is getting a workout.”


Cross-Training Improves Mobility

Choose varied activities, like yoga, running, and kickboxing, and you’ll effectively move your body through different planes of motion with every workout, says trainer Joey Thurman. This offers functional benefits that carry over to other areas of your life.


Cross-Training Boosts Flexibility

Finding new ways to move your body also improves flexibility, says trainer Caley Crawford. To ensure you’re bending and flexing, add movements like rowing, yoga, or Pilates.


It Prevents Injury

Repeating the same exercises over and over causes your muscles to get used to certain movement patterns, which can lead to muscle imbalances and even overuse injuries, says trainer Kate Meier. Cross-training helps you switch things up to prevent injury.


Cross-Training Protects Joints

It helps protect your joints from repeated wear, and if you cross-train by adding strength training into the mix, the extra muscle will also provide added stability around your joints, says coach Amanda Brooks.


It’s A Good Option If You Have An Injury

If you’re already injured, cross-training will allow you to work around your injury in a way that doesn’t irritate it more, says Meier. Have shoulder pain? Then cross-train with a leg-focused workout until it feels better.


It Helps You Maintain Progress

Another perk? Cross-training is a great way to maintain progress, Meier says. Whether you're injured or taking a break, training with a gentler form of exercise — like swimming — helps you stay in the game. That way, you won’t have to start over from scratch.


It Leads To Better Performance

To get better at your sport of choice, it actually helps to do something seemingly unrelated. A runner, for example, might try rowing or cycling, says Crawford. The fresh movements improve performance by tapping into new skills and abilities.

Caia Image/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

Cross-Training Prevents Burnout

According to Daugherty, training in new and different ways each week can decrease your risk of burnout, both mentally and physically.


It Improves Motivation

If you get bored easily, introducing new exercise modalities can shake up a stale routine and keep you coming back for more, Meier says. If you aren’t feeling inspired, consider cross-training to stay excited and motivated.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!