“The important thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not to have vanquished but to have fought well.” - Pierre de Coubertin

Whether it's to build muscle, tone up, lose weight, or get in shape, a new type of exercise from the United States has become popular in the UK, cross-training. More and more people are taking up cross training and other similar fitness exercises.

The health club industry in the UK takes home $5.5 billion. This just goes to show how popular working out really is.

That said, you don't need to go to the gym to start doing cross training; there are plenty of fitness coaches available on Superprof.

In this article, we're going to look at what cross training is, how it came to be, the benefits of this type of exercise, and what you can expect to do in a typical cross-training session.

So What Exactly is Cross Training?

Cross training is a new type of physical training that combines exercises from a number of different disciplines in order to create an activity that sculpts an athletic body.

What is cross training?
Cross training is a mix of plenty of different sporting disciplines. (Source: vivisnunes13)

So what exactly does that mean?

The discipline involved doing various physical activities, borrowing all the best exercises from other sports. Thus, the exercises or more well rounded.

Cross training brings together exercises that use different muscular groups including your buttocks, waist, abs, pecs, triceps, biceps, etc.

Some sports only work a single group of muscles. For example, some aerobic routines work on your cardiovascular fitness. This may improve your endurance and help you to lose weight, but it won't help you build muscle.

As you have probably understood, cross training involves a number of different muscle groups and is a complete exercise regime.

Your strength, speed, endurance, power, flexibility, agility, ward nation, balance, and precision will all be improved.

By regularly working out, you'll build muscle, tone up, improve your endurance, and improve your performance in a variety of other sports.

In short, cross training can improve your overall physical condition.

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The Modern History of Cross Training and CrossFit

CrossFit was invented in the 1970s by Lauren Jenai and her husband Greg Glassman, a former American gymnast who became a sports coach. It would take 20 years before CrossFit would really become popular.

When was cross training invented?
Cross training has only been around for 50 years or so. (Source: Pexels)

In 1995, the Santa Cruz police force in California started using it to train their officers.

In 2012, the CrossFit brand recorded a turnover of $50 million, double what they had recorded the previous year. This is around the same time that CrossFit saw a boom in Europe.

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This discipline can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and comes with a number of other health benefits. It's hardly surprising that was the number of people wanting to get back into shape, get that flat stomach, the healthier lives, or build muscle, more and more people are doing CrossFit in gyms.

The terms cross training and CrossFit are often confused. While both disciplines are very rigorous, there is a difference.

CrossFit is a way of getting in shape that mixes fitness activities and circuit training. It mixes fitness activities, circuit training, and scenes these exercises together indicate an intensity workout, also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

This type of program can improve your physical condition and build muscles over the course of short 15 to 30-minute sessions.

In fact, CrossFit uses a lot of different fitness activities including gymnastics, athletics, and combat sports while using very little equipment. A skipping rope, sandbags, punching bags, a chair, kettlebells, etc. might be all you need.

You should keep in mind that gyms and coaches shouldn't really use the term CrossFit as it's a trademark.

Due to this legal issue, the term cross-training was born. So technically, cross training and CrossFit are almost the same things. However, the latter is a brand name. Since the discipline originated in the United States, all the terminology is in English.

Cross training can be practised almost anywhere, with or without a personal trainer.

In other terms, cross training is a more affordable version of CrossFit as it's the non-brand version.

What are the Benefits of Cross Training?

As a well-rounded discipline, you will see the benefits of cross training in many different ways. If your main goal is just to keep improving, you can work on your balance, endurance, strength, power, flexibility, and fitness.

How do you do cross training?
Cross training can improve your strength, flexibility, fitness, and help you to lose weight and build muscle. (Source: 12019)

These are also the reasons why it's one of the best disciplines for those who want to lose weight. By combining cardio and weight training, you'll burn so much energy that your body will have to turn to its reserves, i.e. fat.

Another advantage of this discipline is that it can be practised almost anywhere such as at the gym, at home, or outdoors (at the beach, in the park, in the woods, etc.), because you just need simple equipment like a chair, a mat, or a skipping rope.

When you're outside, you can use things like benches, paths, stairs, kerbs, ramps, bannisters, etc.

Here are 10 aspects of your fitness that will be improved:

  • Cardiovascular and respiratory endurance.
  • Muscular endurance.
  • Strength.
  • Flexibility.
  • Speed.
  • Agility.
  • Coordination.
  • Balance.
  • Muscle tone.

It can often be useful to practise sports in a group as this can create a sense of solidarity between the members of the group who can encourage one another to work harder.

Cross training allows you to:

  • Work on parts of your body that you often forget to train.
  • Increase the flexibility of your muscle tissues.
  • Vary the type of sports you do.
  • Build muscle.
  • Reduce the risk of vascular problems.
  • Burn calories and lose weight.
  • Improve your fitness, muscle tone, strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Lastly, cross-training requires very little equipment. You hardly need to break the bank to get what you need to start doing cross training.

What Exactly is a Cross Training Session Like?

So you just show up to the gym, run a little bit, jump a little bit, and do a few stretches, right?


Cross training is one of the best sporting disciplines for getting back into shape and it's very strict as it involves periods of intense training followed by active recovery sessions.

What does a cross training session involve?
You'll need to cool down and stretch after a cross-training session. (Source: SofieZborilova)

One type of session is called "metcon", short for metabolic conditioning.

This is a high-intensity training session that includes classic muscle training that focuses on improving your speed and strength without the recovery periods that you usually get.

Sessions are fun and allow you to let loose well achieving your fitness goals through things they cardio exercises, muscle toning, and improving your general fitness.

They are sometimes called workout of the day (WOD) and can last around an hour and are made up of four phases:

  • The warm-up: gently increasing your heart rate.
  • Skills: working on your technique.
  • Metcon: several sets of different exercises.
  • The cooldown: stretches, relaxation, massages.

The cooldown isn't exactly what you might think as it's one of the most important parts of a cross-training session. Your heart rate needs to return to what it was at rest.

You also need to do stretches so that your body can recover and reduce the number of aches and pains you'll have the following day.

This is a great way to start feeling better, improving your muscle tone and just getting into better shape.

You can find tutors offering cross training on our platform, Superprof. Don't forget that a lot of tutors offer the first hour as a free taster session.

With your own personal fitness coach or tutor, they can tailor the sessions to you, your age, weight, and overall fitness level. That said, that doesn't mean they're going to go easy on you.

Private tutorials are arguably the most cost-effective way of learning new skills and getting into shape since your tutor or coach will build their course around you, the only student present in a given class.

However, if one-on-one tutorials aren't in your budget, you could always consider doing cross training with a tutor in a small group. This is a win-win situation for both the tutor and the students as the tutor will earn more money per hour while the students will each pay less per hour. Of course, this means the sessions won't be as personalised as they could be with just one attendee.

Find out how much cross-training costs.

Finally, there are also only tutors who can provide lessons via webcam. Since they don't have to travel, they can charge less per hour to their students.

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