Shock Your System with Cross-Training
What is cross-training?
Basically, cross-training is any secondary workout that supports your main exercise goal. After months of practicing the same movements, your body becomes efficient at performing those movements. While that is great for competition (or, in our case, fight night), it limits the amount of overall fitness you possess and reduces the actual conditioning you get while training. Rather than continuing to improve, you maintain a certain level of fitness.
What are the benefits of cross-training?
Spoiler alert: there are a ton of benefits to switching up your training. We spoke to professional dancer, ACE certified personal trainer and pilates instructor Brianna Biffignani, who teaches kickboxing at Hit House, reformer pilates at Studio Pilates and offers strength training, sculpt and HIIT workouts on demand via Bri Active. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about cross-training.
Cross-training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and reduce the boredom that creeps in after months of the same exercise routines. Cross-training also allows you to vary the stress placed on specific muscles.
Cross-training also reduces the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse. Cross-training “eliminates over using one specific muscle,” Bri explains. Different activities can use some muscle groups, while others can rest and recover. This helps to prevent the body from being under too much stress. Cross-training also provides flexibility in your training plans, as well as allowing you to continue to train while injured.
Greater Muscle Endurance & Cardio
Cross-training improves overall strength because muscles have to work differently. “Strength trainers can do huge weights for short reps but cross training can help the strength build more progressive to last longer amounts of time and not such short bursts. It will still have the strength for quick reps of heavy weight but will now be able to last longer at higher weights as well,” Bri says. Cross training conditions the entire body, not just specific muscle groups.
Cross-training keeps the body guessing! Switching things up enhances your training by working your muscles in different ways. Basically, “cross-training shocks the body into functioning in different ways while using the same muscle groups in different focuses.”
In the long run, cross-training improves your skill, agility, and balance and produces a higher level of all-around conditioning. Through the variety in training, you will have greater longevity of muscles. “Since your muscles aren’t in repetitive movements, but are moving in more ways and planes, you will have more control and strength,” Bri says.
Want to try cross-training?
If you love running, try yoga/pilates with Melissa Wood Health
If you love yoga, try running at Barry’s
If you love spinning, try dance with 305 Fitness
If you love Muay Thai, try pilates with the Sweat app
If you love pilates, try barre with a class from modelFIT with JETSWEAT
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Brianna Biffignani is the co-founder of Bri Active, teaches kickboxing at Hit House and reformer pilates at Studio Pilates. She is a professional dancer, certified ACE personal trainer and certified reformer pilates instructor.
Dana VanPamelen is the co-owner of Hit House, a Muay Thai influenced workout studio in NYC. She has a Masters degree in Marketing from Hofstra University and her favorite strike is a teep.
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