Overview of Cross Training: Benefits, Exercises, Intensity Level and More

Cross-training has a fantastic range of physical and mental benefits regardless of your training goals. When you cross-train, you do not just sculpt the body but also aid in reducing the likelihood of overuse injuries and the mental burnout that comes from repeating the same exercise routine day after day. Below we present a guide that runs you through some excellent cross-training exercise options and their benefits.

How to Get Started?

You do not need to invest in equipment to begin your workout regimen, nor do you need to invest in a cross-training class or personal trainer. If you are a beginner, start slowly with a low impact exercise and gradually make it more challenging by, for example, lifting weight and incorporating some strength training exercises (aka resistance training).

How to Cross-Train Like a Pro

You can add the following activities to your fitness programme to become a much stronger or more rounded athlete/exerciser.

Lap Swimming

Swimming engages almost every major muscle group, requiring you to use your arms, legs, torso, and stomach.

Other benefits include: increases heart rate without putting stress on the body; improves strength; tones muscles; enhances fitness; helps manage weight; is easy on the joints; and is good for those with injuries or disabilities.


Yoga is a type of cross-training that fitness enthusiasts use for repetitive muscle movements. It allows you to unwind tight muscles and aids in improving flexibility, balance, and breathing.


Cycling is a fantastic low-impact cardiovascular workout.

Benefits of cycling include: low impact; good for the quadriceps, glutes and aids in improving your core; does not require high levels of skill; good for both strength and stamina; variable intensity (you can make it as hard or easy as you want); great for being outdoors; and is time efficient (as a mode of transport, cycling replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving motor vehicles or using trams, trains or buses with healthy exercise).

Training Your Core

Muscles that support the trunk and torso are vital for all athletic and ‘normal’ movements. They aid in stabilising the spine from the pelvis to your head and enable you to transfer power to your legs as well as your arms. All movements in the extremities initiate from the centre of the body so establishing core strength is instrumental for strong and athletic movement.

Exercising your core leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities.

In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.


You can always spice up your workout routine by varying the exercises to target different muscle groups to reach a higher fitness level. For example, a simple cross-training workout may include swimming laps on Monday, lifting weight in the gym on Tuesday, aerobic class on Wednesday, yoga on Thursday and rollerblade on the other day.  There is always room to mix different exercises; during an example 30-minute workout, you may walk or jog for 10 minutes, lift some weight and do yoga; segmentation enables you to see more benefits. The workout intensity is up to you; you can lower the intensity by running instead of climbing or increase it up by performing more rigorous exercises and lifting more weight. 

What Else Should I Know about Cross-Training?

Cross-training is excellent for beginners as well as professional exercisers looking to take their fitness to a new level. Many fitness trainers consider it a cornerstone for a professionally crafted workout regimen. One of the common mistakes that most people make is repeating the same exercises day after day. It advisable to swap your old exercises for some new ones to reap the maximum benefits. When you perform the same physical activity repeatedly it can result in overuse injuries or training plateau. If you run out of things to do, consider booking a couple of classes with a personal trainer, read an exercise magazine, or watch online fitness videos.

Cross Training for Those with a Medical Condition

Losing weight or sculpting the body is not something that not only helps regain confidence but plays a terrific role in reducing the likelihood of certain medical conditions, for example, high cholesterol, heart disease, blood pressure, and diabetes. However, it is good to check with a medical professional if you are new to exercise! After consulting a medical professional, cross-training is something you should start your workout with. If you are unsure how it will impact your overall health, it is advisable to sign up for a session or two with a personal trainer at Era fit to learn how to organise your workout routine for cross-training. Since Cross-training has a vast variety of workout options ranging from strength training, flexibility, and aerobic, the trainer will aid you in choosing the options that suit your body, commitments (i.e. work), and any health condition(s). 

Cross-Training for Arthritis

Exercise, such as strength training, can help in reducing the effects of joint pain or arthritis. However, be sure to consult a medical professional prior to commencing cross-training.

Did you know that when you lose weight, you (literally) take a significant burden off your shoulders? The same goes with the muscle-building process, where you provide more support to your joints and help curb pain. And, those flexibility exercises will play a significant role in minimising muscle stiffness. Do you know, cross-training also has a terrific part to play in improving your back pain or knee injury? However, do not overdo it, give your body time to restore/recuperate, and begin with low-impact activities rather than trying something high intensity/impact from the start. Early on, it would be best if you avoid activities that aggravate the injury. But when you reach the road to recovery, uncover the activities that play a role in strengthening your muscles, lessening pain, and preventing any future injury.

If you have any disability or are not comfortable with many exercises, swap it with another one as cross-training has a wide variety of activities to choose from.


 Can I Cross-Train at Home?

You can cross-train yourself at home. The goal should be to choose exercises that are comfortable to do on your own. If you have any medical condition, be sure to consult a medical professional and perform any challenging exercise under the supervision of a trainer.

Is Cross-Training a Full-Body Workout?

Cross-training works on your entire body as it is a full-body workout that aims to increase calorie burn, among other benefits. It works great to condition different muscles; moreover, there are many exercises to choose from that eliminate the boredom that creeps in after months repetition.

Is Walking a Form of Cross-Training?

Yes, but you would generally want to walk at a ‘brisk’ pace! Cross-training is the amalgamation of different exercises ranging from strength, flexibility, and aerobics. For a beginner, a 30-minute walk or jog and lifting weights for 10 minutes, for example, go a long way in building your strength and endurance.

Should I Continue Cross-Training during My Pregnancy?

If you have crossed train before the pregnancy then you probably can continue. However, you may need to modify or change the type of cross-training you are performing. Further, it is advisable to consult with a medical professional and an appropriately qualified personal trainer prior to cross training when pregnant.


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