What is Cross-Training?

For those new to breaking a sweat on the regular - no, it’s not CrossFit. Cross training is training in sports and activities that are different from the ones you usually do.

So if running is normally your exercise of choice, then cross training workouts for you would include swimming, cycling, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Yoga. Unlike running which mainly works your lower body, swimming, on the other hand, engages your entire body.

Other than being a great way to include variety into your exercise regime, cross-training’s biggest benefit is the balancing of your muscle groups and overall fitness.

Specifically, for all the Yogis, you may be scoring top points in your flexibility and balance, but may fall short in terms of your strength and stamina...

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So Why Cross-Train?

Let's delve into cross training for Yogis. Many people ease themselves into exercising by starting off with yoga classes because it seems like a “gentler” sport. And in many ways, that’s true. Sure, yoga doesn’t require you to lift heavy weights or do burpees till your lungs feel like they are about to explode. But don’t let it fool you into thinking that it is going to be all about sitting calm in savasana and meditate.

Yoga does have its own challenges. Ever felt your arms shaking as you slowly sink into a chaturanga (low plank) from your downward dog? Or felt your thighs burning in agony as your instructor tells you to hold your chair pose? That is completely normal for beginners, especially if you are new to working out altogether. And as you keep at these poses each week, you’ll find your arms and thighs slowly getting stronger. Having said that, is this really the best and only way to improve?

Despite all the benefits of yoga, it is by no means the perfect workout. While it stretches your muscles and improves your flexibility, there are many muscle groups that are not activated in yoga. And most yoga classes also fall short of being a cardio session.

To boost your overall fitness and be more functional as an individual, boxing, weightlifting and HIIT are examples of great cross-training activities to help you reach the next level in your yoga practice.

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Even though your body weight is used in yoga, weight lifting can help you build up strength faster in targeted parts of your body that yoga misses out. Other body weight exercises like pull-ups will also work your lats and triceps, which are often overlooked by yogis since hardly any pose uses a pulling motion.

Dynamic workouts like boxing and HIIT also help build up your stamina and endurance, while working your entire body.

Start off by incorporating one cross-training activity into your weekly regime and alternating the activities every week. As you cross-train, you will realise how much faster you are improving your own yoga practice!

Cross-train where?

Some cross-training options for Yogis:

Meet people and cross-train together

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Article contributed by Jamie Victoria. Jamie has helped hire trainers for specific fitness programs and currently teaches at STILL and Instiinct Studio.

Jamie enjoys spending time trying out different sports. Known as a pocket dynamite, she spends most of her spare time doing Yoga, Muay Thai, Badminton and Rock Climbing.


Keen to discover new workouts and meet new people at the same time? Join us at Tanjong Beach Club on 16th March, 9am-12pm. Details here.