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Get Stronger and Leaner With Cross Training

Using the technique favored by pro athletes can get you better results and fewer injuries.
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What Cross Training Involves continued...

But for people who are simply looking get the most out of their workout time, experts say, cross training doesn't require specific exercises. In fact, as long as you create variation in your activity, you're cross training!

"The point here is to vary activities between aerobic conditioning, strength training, endurance, and balance -- and you need to vary the workouts that emphasize each one of those areas," says Herrera.

For optimal success, he says, plan two to three days of flexibility and strength training, and three to five days of aerobic focus. But don't worry if you don't have that much time to devote to exercise.

"The most important thing is to make sure fitness is a priority in your life," says Herrera. "So if you're currently exercising twice a week, then simply finding time for one more workout during that week will help you burn more fat and make more progress."

In fact, experts say, you don't even have to do a specific workout to get the effects of crossing training if you live a varied and physically active life.

"Keep in mind, variety is the spice of life, so enjoying rock climbing, Rollerblading, cycling, hiking, jogging, or skiing with friends, which are also excellent ways to stay socially active and keep the body fit,' says Herrera.

How Cross Training Is Done

So what's the best way to achieve cross training?

It could mean doing two or more different types of exercises during a single workout session. For example, Herrera says, "a yoga or Pilates class will incorporate the components of strength development and flexibility in the same workout session, while an indoor cycling class will develop the musculature of the legs while improving aerobic capacity."

It can also mean performing a single type of workout during each session, but varying what you do from session to session, Schlifstein says.

"You can concentrate on cardio during one session, strength training and balance in another, and flexibility in still another," he tells WebMD. "Then just keep mixing up the combinations so your body has variety and you don't get bored with your routine."

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