A Cross Circuit Training Approach

I am certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (N.A.S.M) as well as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (N.S.C.A), and obtained a certification in Cross Circuit Training. I use a Cross Circuit Training model of training to regulate the intensity up or down depending on the needs of any committed individual, regardless of experience. It literally focuses on maximizing physical competence in each of ten knownfitness components:

  1. Endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen (cardiovascular/respiratory endurance).
  2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy. (capacity to maintain repetitive muscular movements)
  3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  4. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a single distinct movement
  8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

A Cross Circuit Training program can improve an individual’s capability and performance at all physical tasks. Whether life presents an unforeseen multiple, diverse, or randomized physical challenges.

The program is unique from other fitness programs because of its focus on optimizing neuroendocrine response, developing power, training across various disciplines, continuous training and practice with functional movements.

Clients are trained in short, intermediate, and long intervals, guaranteeing activation of and proficiency in each of the three main metabolic pathways (aerobic respiration, anaerobic respiration, and phosphocreatine). We train clients to acquire the ability to control their body dynamically, as well as statically, while maximizing strength and flexibility. For those without any injuries or limitations, we like to place an emphasison Olympic Weightlifting because it allows individuals to build up explosive power, control of external objects, and mastery of critical motor recruitment patterns. Additionally, we encourage everyone to explore acombination of sports as a means to express and apply their fitness.

In the world of fitness, the public has been led to believe that a series of isolation exercises and extended aerobic sessions will result in having great fitness. This is a huge misconception.

We work exclusively with compound exercises (multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time) and quick, high amplitude cardiovascular sets. Fitness professionals today havesubstituted each isolation movement for a compound movement. Instead of hip extensions we do lunges. For every effort at a marathon’s pace, my team will do several at a sprinter’s pace. We do this because it is proven scientific fact that compound exercises and high intensity exercises, which elicit anaerobic cardio, are both drastically more effective at getting the results you want.

Is this method of training a good choice for me?

Definitely! The only difference between you and a world class athlete is the degree of intensity. Increased power, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination, agility, and balance are all just as important to you as they are to the best athletes in the world. The awesome truth is that the exact same techniques that activate optimal response in Olympic and professional athletes will activate that same response in everyone, simply at a different load and level of strength. Everyone begins the program at different levels, of course, but we all benefit from employing exercises like squats which are universally essential in maintaining functional dependence and improving fitness. Through proper training and gradual increments in load, I can teach any functionally independent person to safely and effectively utilizemovements which are usually only reserved for elite athletes.

What does it mean for a program to based on “core strength and conditioning?

Cross Circuit Training is a core strength and conditioning program in its most fundamental form. Core strength comes from various muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis, and run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.Running, jumping, punching and throwing all originate at the core. A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back. A Cross Circuit Training program targets all of the core muscles, conditioning them to be at their best from the inside out.

Can I achieve the benefits of being “in shape” without being an athlete?

Only athletes develop bodies that are protected from aging and disease. Athletes in their eighties, forexample, are stronger than non-athletes in their twenties. Body strength is extremely important because disuse causes muscle atrophy, which is what puts people in nursing homes! Athletes have greater bone density, stronger immune systems, less coronary heart disease, reduced cancer risk, fewer strokes, and lower incidence of depression than non-athletes. Therefore, the answer to this question is No!

What exactly is an athlete?

Traditional definitions of an athlete describe someone who is trained in sports that require physical agility, stamina, or strength. A Cross Training athlete, however, is someone who is trained directly in agility,stamina, strength, power, and flexibility. I believe that athleticism, fitness, and health are one and the same.

I just want to be healthy – I don’t need to be an athlete to do that do I?

I completely understand. You’re not the first person to ask this question. I like to answer by posing a question in return. How do we measure health? Typically it includes blood tests, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight, body fat, muscle strength, etc. Those with great fitness are healthy. In other words, they have better than normal results in these measures. And the process of becoming fit ultimately means that we are also becoming athletes. Reiterated again, I believe that athleticism, fitness, and health are one and the same.

Are you wondering about time commitment?

You’re not alone. I can understand how obligations at work and at home prevent you from becoming as fit as you would want to be. The great news is that you only need an hour a day, six days a week to achieve your goals. It has been shown that the intensity of training necessary to reach optimal physical conditioning isobtained within the first forty-five minutes to one hour. Extended training past this time interval will have no added benefit for your purposes. Furthermore, your health is an innate part of your obligations to your family, your work, and yourself! Needless to say, you can make the time.

Weekend Warrior

The weekend warrior is someone who has one specialized ability or talent such as cycling, long distance running, etc. That said, I should note that there is a widespread misconception that long distance athletes are fitter than their short distance counterparts. The cyclist, triathlete and marathoner are many times revered as some of the fittest athletes on earth. This, however, is far from a universal truth.

An endurance athlete trains in such a way that has exceeded benefits made to their cardiovascular health, while sacrificing power, speed, and strength; as well as, agility, coordination, accuracy, and flexibility. These shortcomings are more than results of simple oversights, they are hindrances to an athlete’s well-roundedness. Few triathletes are conditioned to sprint, box, play any ball sport, fight fires, or do police work. All of the aforementioned require a fitness level far exceeding the needs of the endurance athlete. These observations and do not suggest that being a triathlete, marathoner or other endurance athlete is less than admirable; however, do not think that training as a long distance athlete gives you the prerequisite fitness to engage in the typical, and often most popular of sporting events.

Cross Circuit Training takes into account the entire gamut of physical activities from which one may choose and aptly prepares them for the demand of conditioned and adaptive physicality. With Cross Circuit Training you can confidently and competently participate in your “Weekend Warrior” activities!

Muscle Metabolism 101

The human body derives its source of energy from a combination of three main energy systems: aerobic respiration, anaerobic respiration, and phosphocreatine. The demands that we put on our body dictates which system is triggered for energy supply. Efficiency in fitness is dependent upon the body’s capability to elicit these systems.

Aerobic respiration requires oxygen in order to generate energy. An “aerobic activity” is one in which most of the energy required is obtained through sources of oxygen. These activities last at least more than ninety seconds and involve low to moderate exertion. Aerobic activities include watching television, jogging for twenty minutes, and long distance swimming.

Anaerobic respiration generates energy when oxygen is not available. An “anaerobic activity” is one in which most of the energy required is obtained without oxygen. These activities last less than two minutes and involve moderate to high exertion. The phosphocreatine and lactic acid systems are types of anaerobic respiration. Anaerobicactivities include doing pull-ups, squatting, and sprinting.

Taking a step back from cellular physiology, the basic concepts behind anaerobic and aerobic training promote performance variables like speed, strength, power and stamina.Cross Circuit Training also supports the idea that total conditioning and optimal health necessitates training each of the physiological systems in a systematic fashion.

Aerobic conditioning allows one to engage in moderate to low power output for extended amounts of time, a valuable skill for many sports. The downside is that training singularly in aerobic activity has a marked effect in lowering anaerobic capability, which is not beneficial if your goal is to achieve whole body conditioning and optimum health.

Anaerobic conditioning allows one to engage in high power forces over very short bursts. Both anaerobic and aerobic activities improve cardiovascular function and lower body fat. Anaerobic activity provides the added benefit in radically improving power, speed, strength, muscle mass, and even aerobic capability!

Cross Circuit Training focuses on maintaining a balance between these energy systems in order to meet each athlete’s goal. The combination of exercises will optimize progression, recovery, and the body’s ability to adapt.

The Takeaway

Let’s get down to it and outline what your customized workout sessions will consist of. Firstly, there is no set routine in Cross Circuit Training because any “routine” will be missing some component, thus limiting our goal toward TOTAL body conditioning. Therefore, achieving complete fitness through total body conditioning requires variation! You will engage in short, intermediate, and long intervals of activity, as well as light, medium, and heavy weight loads, in order to activate each energy system, every muscle group/fiber, and every range of motion possible. Incorporating variation is the hallmark of obtaining complete fitness and maximum physical conditioning and strength.

Variation will come from training across multiple disciplines including, but not limited to, olympic weightlifting and gymnastics. It will also come from the application of functional movements, which are movements that are analogous to any naturally occurring movement and, like compound exercises, involve multiple joints. Functional movements improve balance and muscle control in everyday applications, enhancing overall fitness. They also initiate the neuroendocrine response which alters hormonal levels such as growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, cortisol, catecholamines, and testosterone, all of which play an important role in breaking down and rebuilding muscle, thereby maximizing muscle growth and strength.

It goes without saying that olympic weightlifters are the strongest athletes in the world and gymnasts are unmatched in their combination of strength, agility, coordination, balance, accuracy, flexibility, and awesome physique. By training in olympic lifts you will develop not only strength, but explosive power, coordination, endurance, and bone integrity. These athletes can activate more muscle fibers in faster bursts than others. The unique aspect of gymnastics is its utilization of one’s own body weight as a means forresistance. Performing handstands, presses, powerful jumps, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, and squats results in vast increases in your strength-to-mass ratio. These, along with techniques from other athletic disciplines, will ultimately improve your capacity for power, which in turn will improve your capacity to achieve the greatest fitness possible!

The Cross Circuit Training approach endeavors to go outside your comfort zone, to push your limits, and most importantly, to inspire you to be the best you, you can be!

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