The Ins and Outs of Cross-Training

My workout

Published on 1 October 2018
by Karen Laroche

Cross-Training, also known as functional fitness training, is a training method that has risen in popularity over the past few years. Whether it was at the gym or on social media, we’ve all been impressed by someone’s physical prowess. What exactly is Cross-Training? Is it for you? Is it the missing element in your routine that will allow you to reach your goals? We will do our best to demystify it!


What is Cross-Training?

In short, Cross-Training combines exercises from various disciplines (running, weightlifting, gymnastics, etc.) to improve overall performance. The idea is to integrate different disciplines with their own respective advantages into your workout for a more complete training with exceptional results.

While only some parts of your body are exercised during specific sports or activities, Cross-Training eliminates this imbalance. For example, a jogger would benefit from completing their training with some weightlifting to increase the muscle mass and strength of their upper and lower limbs—areas they wouldn’t exercise otherwise.


What is the purpose of Cross-Training?

Avoiding specialization!

Made popular by CrossFitTM, this training method is not a specialized program. Instead, it aims to optimize physical performance in each of the ten recognized general physical skills: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.


During a Cross-Training session, you exclusively perform a series of functional movements with brief successions of high-intensity cardio exercises, instead of doing a series of exercises on machines or traditional strength training exercises followed by a 20- to 40-minute cardio workout. Classic lateral lifts are replaced by push presses, curls are replaced by pull-ups, and leg extensions by squats. Why? Because it has been shown that functional, high-intensity movements are much more effective for achieving most desired physical fitness results.


Is it right for me?

While this method of training seems intimidating at first glance, it is suitable for everyone. Why? Because your needs compared to those of a high-performance athlete are different in terms of difficulty level, not exercise type. In fact, the ten physical skills mentioned above are just as important for you and your parents as they are for an Olympic athlete!

Karen Laroche
Kinesiologist with a Master in Exercise Science. Responsible for special training projects for the Énergie Cardio network

Karen was initially a trainer at the Énergie Cardio centre in Trois-Rivières. After completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology, she opened her own CrossFit studio. She then moved to Montreal and took over the Énergie Cardio centre in Complexe Desjardins. Karen is now the centre’s head trainer and oversees all special training projects. In addition to her vast professional experience, Karen is also a distinguished CrossFit athlete.