The emergence of cross-training went hand in hand with the growing interest of scientists in combined training. So, since the early 2000s, an increasing number of studies have turned to combinations of different contents within one workout or one cycle. Depending on the level of the athletes and the training load, the results of the combinations may differ, but still there are general prescriptions in all studies that we will try to apply to the cross-training methodology.
Rule number 1: prioritize work
Most research agrees that the best results – both in terms of strength and endurance – come from workouts that alternately focus on one thing and then on the other. The authors are clear about the limitations of the all-in-one workout praised by traditional CrossFit practitioners. In order to really move forward, you need to remember one of the commandments of sports training.: “To train is to make a choice.” However, recent research – conducted by Jones’ team, for example – reminds us that the frequency of endurance training should remain fairly low if strength is the top priority during a particular cycle. Without questioning the wealth of CrossFit, our methodology is going to establish clear priorities for each cycle and each activity, which will be expressed in the dominant content of the training aimed at strength or endurance.
Rule number 2: do everything in order
In numerous studies, neuromuscular parameters are prioritized over endurance parameters. Indeed, starting with endurance work seems, in any case, less effective than the other way around. This is due to the rapid saturation of the nervous system during the preliminary effort.
Thus, whether during a session or throughout the day, our method offers you a priority program of strength-oriented work sequences. In the second case – still in order to optimize potential results – we recommend that you plan as much rest as possible between these two sequences.
At the same time, Davitt and his team have demonstrated that when combining longer strength training with cardio training, sequence order does not matter a priori. But be careful: some combinations work better than others.
Rule number 3: avoid “bad” combinations
An important concept updated in modern training is the mutual opposition of incompatible training content. In a discipline such as cross-training, where combined training is a full-fledged part of the process, it is important to limit such interactions as much as possible, avoiding the combination of some sequences in one lesson, as well as in a cycle.
Thus, the most antagonistic work sequences are those that combine muscle hypertrophy work (relying on sets of 8-12 reps maximum) with the inclusion of high-intensity phases, close to maximum aerobic power. Therefore, the combination of these two types of activities, producing little compatible peripheral effects, is better to exclude.
“Why are some of the cross-training cycles not working?
The Doherty and Sporer model clearly identifies an area of maximum resistance that should be carefully avoided. And it is in this zone that the number of really difficult cross-training workouts is increasing. But remember that the difficulty of an activity does not necessarily equal its effectiveness.So endurance training based on internal training (interval training) with an intensity close to the VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption), aimed at increasing the oxidative capacity of the muscles, should not at all be associated with strength work, involving sets of 8-12 repetitions. Repetitions are aimed at increasing protein synthesis and creating stress at the level of the anaerobic energy system. Stress is accompanied by an increase in the concentration of lactic acid in the muscle, which in this case is forced to adapt immediately to two different physiological requirements, which minimizes the potential adaptation of one or even both systems.
Rule number 4: choose combinations that work
So, the correct structure of the day’s workouts in cross-training is not at all accidental! There are combinations that work better than others. It is important to minimize mutual opposition during the lesson and even, if possible, within the program. Here are two examples that will guide your thinking and help you build your AP.
What you need to remember from the rules for building a workout
- Avoid combining exercise to failure or muscle-burning training with intense cardio training
- Maximum 8 repetitions of movement when TD combines strength training with aerobic power training
- Aerobic power matches well with strength or maximum power
- Low-intensity aerobic exercise works well with strength endurance training.