Cross-training vs. CrossFit : Why do they get confused ? What makes each one unique ?

A lot of people get confused between the cross this and cross that of the fitness world. Well, if you are stuck between the two ‘cross’ of fitness training, then you are not alone! 

Cross-training vs. CrossFit has always been the biggest competitor of fitness training. One common confusion among people regarding cross-training vs. cross fit is that they think they are the same. Others get confused about which training regime they should adopt to achieve their fitness goals. 

Well, you won’t be confused anymore! This post highlights the significant differences between the two training types. It discusses the benefits, cons, and other aspects of cross-training vs. CrossFit so that you can choose the training routine that serves your fitness needs the best!

Cross Training vs. CrossFit – Are they the same?

The common word “cross” in the two training routines is what confuses the people the most. While both pieces of training are the specific type of training styles, the foundational philosophies are different. 

Cross-training is more of a conceptual training approach. In cross-training, the athletes train in a sport. However, that sport is outside of the one they already play. The purpose of cross-training is to boost stamina to improve their performance eventually. 

On the other side of the spectrum is CrossFit. It is a benchmark for strength and conditioning. CrossFit training is a high-intensity training workout that uses interval training.

How are Cross-training and CrossFit different?

From foundational philosophies to fitness goals to techniques and intensity, everything is entirely different between cross-training vs. cross fit! To explain it better, we have described each training technique individually, including the method, intensity, targeted goals, benefits, and disadvantages. 

Cross Training a Comprehensive Overview

Cross-training is instead a simple training concept. It is a whole-body fitness training that combines flexibility, aerobics, and strength training. 

It involves your everyday exercises, except they are performed in a variety of ways. In simple words, cross-training means pairing up two or more workouts to do for a week or so rather than sticking to one exercise and doing it day after day. 

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How Does It Work?

Cross-training emphasizes pairing two workouts that complement/support each other. An excellent example of cross-training is incorporating yoga in your triathlon training or swimming session in boot camp classes. 

Here is a weekly schedule for cross-training to give you a head start:

Monday – Yoga

Tuesday – Weight lifting

Wednesday – Swim laps

Thursday – Rollerblades

Friday – Aerobics

The essence of cross-training is to bring variety to your training. Variety is what helps you to achieve the best from of cross-training. However, it depends on you how you prefer to do it.

Some people dedicate a single session for each exercise. For example, doing the treadmill one day, cycling the next, and rowing machine the day after.

The other way is to perform a couple of exercises during one session. People who go this way dedicate 10 to 15 minutes of their session to each exercise. For instance, They train on an elliptical for 10-15 minutes, then go on a treadmill for the next 10, and resist for the next 10 minutes. 

Intensity Level

Usually, cross-training is a medium-intensity routine. Most people hesitate to adopt cross-training, thinking it is a super intense regime. In reality, the intensity level depends on what exercises you choose and incorporate variation in your schedule.

For example, you can replace running with jogging if you want to bring the intensity level down. On the contrary, if you’re going to level up the intensity, you can lift heavier weights.

Targeted Areas

Cross Training targets various muscles of the body, depending on the workout that you are doing. The main goal of this training method is to create an effective whole-body training system. So, when doing cross-training, keep in mind that there is no one specific target area. Everyday cross-training workouts will target the three main body areas, namely the upper body, lower body, and core. 

Exercise Types

You can do a variety of different exercises with cross-training. Here are some of the common exercise types: 

  • Running
  • Lifting weights
  • Skipping rope
  • Calisthenics 
  • Yoga
  • Cycling 

The goal of these exercises is to target different muscle areas. For example, running will strengthen your legs, and lifting weights may help with the upper body muscles. 

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Benefits of Cross-Training

  • Targets the whole body

With Cross Training, you are targeting the whole body instead of specific muscle groups. This will also give you a more balanced appearance. 

  • Motivation 

Training the same workout day after day can cause you to get bored. However, if you mix it up and do different workouts, you’ll have more motivation. 

  • Great for overall fitness

Having good muscles is excellent, but you shouldn’t ignore other aspects of your fitness. This includes cardio, flexibility, and core strength. 

Cons of Cross-Training

  • Time-consuming

Many of the exercises of cross-training take time to complete. With so many people leading busy lives these days, it may be challenging to stick to your workout schedule. 

  • Requires more equipment or space 

Cross-training may require you to go running one day, visit the gym the next and go for a swim the day after. All this requires more space than a regular workout area. 

CrossFit an Overview

CrossFit is one of the most popular workout styles nowadays, with many gyms adopting it. It involves high-intensity training that is very similar to cross-training. 

With so many new CrossFit gyms opening up worldwide, it’s certainly something that you should try out! 

How Does It Work?

CrossFit involves training different body parts in a short workout. Instead of spending 10-15 minutes on one workout, you may spend 3-5 minutes on a workout and then switch to the next. With CrossFit, the rest intervals are shorter than other workouts. 

CrossFit combines many different workouts into a single, condensed workout. Many CrossFit gyms will have a schedule of workouts to follow and do a different workout every day. This way, it rotates on a fixed schedule. 

Intensity Level

The intensity level of CrossFit is much higher than with other workouts. However, it is not a form of pure High-Intensity Interval Training as many people think. Instead, it incorporates intense sessions along with workouts of less intensity. 

For example, you may do 5 minutes of skipping, which is high intensity. After this, you may do barbell lifts for 5 minutes and then do 10 minutes of yoga. However, the rest intervals between the sets are much less, making the overall workout time shorter. 

Targeted Areas

Just as with Cross Training, CrossFit targets the whole body. However, the difference is that you are targeting the entire body in one workout. 

One workout may involve targeting the quads, and the very next one may be a core workout. This way, you get to develop whole-body strength with CrossFit. 

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Exercise Types

One thing that makes CrossFit unique is the range of exercises that you can do. These are the common ones that are done in CrossFit gyms: 

  • Squats (Front squat, overhead squat, etc.)
  • Burpees 
  • Rope climbing
  • Bench press 
  • Pull-ups 
  • Kettlebell swing 

These are only a few of the most common exercises, and there are many more! 

Benefits of CrossFit

  • Best whole body workout

CrossFit is ideal for targeting the whole body in a single workout session. This helps your muscles develop naturally, and your physique will look great as well. 

  • Time 

One of the benefits of CrossFit is that it doesn’t take much time to complete. Most workouts last about an hour, which is great if you lead a busy lifestyle. 

  • Environment 

CrossFit workouts are usually done in groups. Not only is this a great way to exercise, but it also gives you more motivation to go to the gym every day. 

Cons of CrossFit

  • High chance of Injury 

Training at a high intensity means more chance of Injury. However, if you stretch and do proper warmups, you’ll minimize the risk of getting injured. 

  • Less Targeted Workouts 

While whole-body workouts are great, sometimes you need to target one muscle group more than others. If you are looking to do powerlifting or bodybuilding, then CrossFit is not ideal. 

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FAQs

Is CrossFit good for cross-training? 

In a way, a CrossFit program could be used as cross-training for many athletes looking to improve their performance in their chosen sport. This may include CrossFit, rowing, even hiking.

What is a CrossFit workout?

A form of high-intensity interval training, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout consisting of functional movement performed at a high-intensity level.

What is the difference between fitness and CrossFit?

The main goal of Functional Fitness Training is to provide overall strength and balance. CrossFit training, however, aims to prepare your body for any challenge you might throw at it.

Is CrossFit better than strength training? 

In traditional weight training, you might typically work out in a gym using weights of between five and two hundred pounds, targeting specific muscle groups. CrossFit offers a more intense and structured workout by hitting a wider range of muscles based on intervals. CrossFit might involve gyms carrying specialized equipment which might not be kept by regular weight training gyms. 

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