Last week, we looked at a debate brought up by a New York Times article on whether or not there were definitive benefits to cross-training, especially for dedicated athletes focusing on one sport. Experts are strongly divided on the issue. To recap, the ‘pro’ side of the argument involves overall strength, improved endurance, potential prevention of injury and diversification of talent.

However, in a study conducted by The University of Texas in Austin, it was concluded that the one aspect of training that actually mattered when it got down to performance output was completing rigorous training in the area that the sport enthusiast was actively practicing. There was no added, measurable benefit for those who also pursued cross-training. Specifically, neither amateur nor advanced runners who add cycling to their training don’t necessarily demonstrate excess success or skill at their craft.

The head of public and occupational health at VU Medical University in Amsterdam, upon analyzing athletic injuries, concluded that one way to reduce the likelihood of injury is to participate in other sports; however, this might only mean that less time is spent in any one sport. This reduces the emphasis of stress on any single muscle group, which can result in strain or injury due to repetitive motion.

Furthermore, cross-training can lead to overtraining – especially when new elements are introduced on top of your regular routine. Instead of switching up their workout, practitioners may try to do it all: keep up with what’s necessary for them to stay on top of their game in their arena of expertise while adding gym time on machines and routines that don’t have to do with improving their specific area of accomplishment.

Further research shows that resistance training may actually be more beneficial than cross-training because it markedly improves endurance, although it’s better for some types of athlete than others. You can learn more about it on our blog next week, or get a head start by asking about how you can incorporate this element into your workout the next time you visit our Greenville gym.

Last month, the New York Times published an article examining the benefits of cross-training. Many clinicians and coaches tout cross-training for the simple fact that it offers more of a comprehensive workout. The theory is that your targeted areas will also benefit when you boost your overall fitness regimen.

For example, if you’re training to become a bicyclist, you can strengthen your whole body and improve your overall well-being by also training your arms, torso and general upper body. This can help you train your heart, your breathing rate, your endurance and the way your body operates with its parts working in coordination. It can also provide alternatives for athletes who want to diversify their skills, such as for a career move or simply training for a triathlon.

The New York Times reports that The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine calls cross-training a “total body tune-up” and highly encourages the practice. Similarly, the American College of Sports Medicine advises choosing various forms of training for a comprehensive exercise experience.

Another argument for the benefits of cross-training is that it can actually help athletes and regular gym-goers prevent injury in the long-term. You can change up your routine and give certain areas of your body a break without fully taking time away from the gym. This is especially important to newcomers who are just framing their foundation for working out and training their bodies to respond to exercise before formulating a fitness plan that’s entirely oriented toward their goal sport.

But the question remains whether this is simply for the benefit of losing weight and being healthy, or if it would actually serve to benefit an athlete who’s training to excel in one area. More on that will be discussed next week; in the meantime, if you have questions about incorporating new target areas to your typical training, be sure to ask one of the highly knowledgeable personal trainers at our Pivotal Fitness Greenville sportsclub.