How Should I Be Training? Overview of Different Training Styles

Everywhere you look you’ll hear about a different style of fitness training. It might seem like overkill, which some of it is. But not all of it.

We all have a different end goal in mind when it comes to fitness, and therefore will need to take a different route to get there. Below you will find overviews of the more popular training styles around today, along with their associated benefits. See which styles are most aligned with your fitness goals and implement them into your workout plans.

Weight training

Simply put, weight training is a system of conditioning that involves lifting weighted objects. The

jones-platinum_4end goal of this method is typically strength and endurance in the skeletal muscles. The usual suspects used in weight training are the barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, pulley weight stacks in machines, and one’s own body weight. Workouts are usually crafted around lifting a set amount of weight a certain number of times. The specific details vary depending on the desired result.

Popularized during the 1970s, in part by the bodybuilding movie ‘Pumping Iron’ and famed bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, weight training has become more and more wide spread.

Benefits of Weight Training: Increased strength, larger muscle mass, minor improvements in joint strength, higher caloric use while at rest

Popular Lifts: Bench Press, Squat, Pull Up, Tri-Rope Extension, Military Press

Caution: Form is everything. Never sacrifice higher weight for a breakdown in form. Be sure to use a spotter or a machine with a self-spotting device when lifting near your 1 rep max.


Functional training

Can you bench press a Honda but have nagging back pain all day, or dunk a basketball but lose your balance when you bend over to tie your shoes?

Functional training is a method of exercising geared towards training for everyday life. Two of the most recognized forms of functional training are physical therapy and rehabilitation.

However, functional training should not only be prescribed post injury. Incorporated into your training routine, it can be a very preventative form of training, which will showcase benefits in all walks of life.

Strengthening the core muscles, with specific emphasis on using correct form when lifting any amount of weight, will help to increase balance and agility, muscular endurance, joint strength, and can help eliminate aches and pains. These benefits take place when stabilizers and peripheral muscles are engaged during functional training. So goodbye achy lower back, won’t miss ya!

With Functional Training, you have internalized the ‘Train How You Move’ mantra. We sure have.

hftBenefits of Functional Training: Increase in overall fitness and muscular strength, improved balance and joint stability, decrease in joint pain, complete everyday tasks (climbing stairs, lifting groceries/children) with increased ease

Popular lifts: Weighted Lunges, Deadlifts, Hang Cleans, Jump Squats, Farmer’s Walk, Bent Over Rows

Caution: Balance and stability don’t come overnight. Identify your weaknesses and start to slowly incorporate exercises to improve on them. Don’t expect to go from 0-100 overnight.


Cardiovascular training

When you hear cardio, you probably think running. Miles and miles. Maybe some sprint workouts thrown in there as well. While running is the default cardio that comes to mind, it is not alone.

Cardiovascular training is any type of activity that increases your heart rate towards your target heart rate (THR). This will vary from person to person, and there are a lot of ways you can hit your THR.

3-4_front_1Benefits of Cardio: Facilitates weight loss, increased stamina, decrease in heart complications such as heart attack, better circulation of blood and nutrients to the body

Popular Forms: Running, Biking, Rowing, Boxing, Jump Rope, Swimming
Caution: Whatever type of cardio you are starting, ease into it. Just because you can run 5 miles does not mean you’ll be able to swim that far.

For more in-depth information, visit our Cardio section here.




This is a vigorous workout that combines weight training, aerobics, and gymnastics all in one to help you become more fit in every area. Often times workouts will be based on how many reps of one exercise you can do in a period of time, 1 minute for example, and then move directly into the next exercise.

CrossFit involves strength training, but also crosses over into functional trading with a side of cardio activities and intensity. CrossFit does not necessary require any equipment, turning everyday items such as park benches, into a full out gym.

Benefits of CrossFit: Increase in overall fitness and stamina, improved balance, explosive power

Popular Moves: Burpees, Sprints, Circuit Training, 100 reps of (insert move) as fast as you can, jump over this barrel 25 times then run to the park, climb that tree, and lunge all the way back

Caution: Not for the faint of heart. With the high levels of intensity and upbeat atmosphere of classes, it is easy to push yourself to the point of failure. Just be careful if pushing beyond that point. Always listen to your body and proceed accordingly, no matter how much the CrossFit culture tells you ‘More! Faster!’.



Namaste. Looking for a workout that will help you find your inner Zen? Yoga is just what you need.

A combination of stretching and supporting your own body weight with an emphasis on breathing, Yoga has been around for eons. So have the benefits that it provides.

Yoga is a very functional form of exercise- improved flexibility and body weight supporting strength have been shown to lead to better posture, as well as decrease joint and back pain. The emphasis on breathing is also great for reducing stress.

Studies also suggest that yoga can promote digestive balance, improve your immunity system, and help you sleep better at night. Thirty minutes of yoga before bed is a surefire way to put your body in a pristine state before drifting off to dream land.

Benefits of Yoga: Increased flexibility and core strength; reductions in stress, joint pain, heart rate and muscle stiffness; improved posture

Popular Poses: Downward Dog, Warrior, Tree, Triangle, Child’s Pose, Cobra

Caution: Most of us are not nearly as flexible as we should be (especially us guys). Just because someone else in the Yoga class can rest their elbows on the floor while standing, never force your body to do something that it won’t do. After a few Yoga sessions you will begin to notice improvements in flexibility. Don’t force it prematurely.


Cross Training

As the name suggests, cross training will span several different facets. Say you're a basketball player. You can run sprints all day long, but what happens if you try to run the cross country course?

Cross training aims to fill in the gaps. While the above forms of training describe specific routines or moves, cross training is the combination of several different types of training. By combining different routines you can increase your overall fitness by removing any glaring holes you may have.

As with functional training, cross training will make everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs and lifting medium-heavy objects without throwing out your back, much easier (just rearranged order). This will involve a combination of strength, agility, endurance, and flexibility.

If you're looking to try cross training, a great first place to start would be to pick two or three different training methods mentioned above and try them out! Find a few that work for you and start to incorporate them into your training. Variety is the spice of life, but also a key ingredient in the recipe of fitness.

Benefits of Cross Training: Helps to keep your body guessing by throwing in a different routine than usual, can help break through the dreaded plateaus, increase in overall fitness, balance, and agility

Popular Moves: Mixing up your normal routine. If you exclusively lift weights, try some cardio or yoga. If you are a runner, throw in a pool workout or some time on a rowing machine.

Caution: As with all of the above training methods, always test the water when trying something new. Don’t get discouraged if the first few times you try a new routine you cannot lift as much or run very far. That’s what cross training is about, expanding your repertoire!

Personally I mix things up all the time, based on what my current goals are. Two 5ks are on the horizon this fall, so that will mean ramping up the cardio efforts (woo…). Will also be incorporating more circuit routines to help increase overall stamina. Functional training moves such as squats, deadlifts, and hang cleans will help to keep strength levels up while working all muscles required to outrun the un-dead at a Halloween Zombie Run. Two weight training sessions per week will be rounding out my fall cross training portfolio.

What are your favorite training methods? How often do you switch up your routine? Do you dare cross over into a different fitness realm? Let us know in the comment section!

Happy training!


Posted by: Vince

You’ve always got one more in you

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