Cross Training for Greater Fitness for You and Your Dog

Share Button

Another of the habits that are common to fit people (and their dogs) is the habit of cross training.


Cross training means that the athlete (you or your dog) engages in a variety of exercise protocols. To be most effective, the different protocols won’t overlap in terms of the muscles or systems that they train. Some examples include: mixing running with swimming or running with strength and core training.


Benefits if Cross Training with your Dog

There are many benefits to cross training. These include:

Reducing injury risk from repetitive use. Repetitive use injury is very common in people and their athletic dogs. Common with runners, repetitive use injuries can occur when the body is stressed in the same way over long periods of time. Dogs can fall prey to this type of injury as well. Even if your dog loves to run, it pays to mix in strength, core and balance training on alternate days.

cross training

Building a more well-rounded and athletic body. Exercising in different ways, by definition, will work different muscles and tax different neurological systems in the body.   This will translate into a more athletic and better balanced athlete in the long run. For us humans, a great example is using Pilates to augment a running program. For our dogs, using balance and core training to augment running or agility is also a smart way to cross train.


Improving overall fitness. By working out in different ways, you are able to train harder in each session and thus, build and maintain peak fitness levels. Using the running analogy again, running everyday with your dog will lead to both muscular and mental fatigue. This can result in lower levels of enthusiasm and ability to perform, which can lead to sub-par performance. Conversely, mixing up the workouts can ensure that the muscles that worked the hardest last time are able to rest, while other muscles (and systems) that had it relatively easy last time can push hard in today’s workout.


By mixing in strength, cardio (endurance), and stretching and mobility training, you can ensure a well-rounded and functional outcome. Each one of these modalities are available to both you and your dog if you know how. For some great examples of cross training exercise that you can do with your dog, search the site or use category = fitness.   Exercises like the Labby Limbo, the Touch Drill, and use of the K9 FitVest (for adding a strength component) can all help your dog stay fit and injury free, as part of a smart and balanced workout routine.


Keep yourself and your dog fit and healthy in the long run by leveraging the benefits of cross training and make sure to keep your workouts varied as much as possible. Your bodies will thank you for it!

Share Button
FitDog Friday Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life.   Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!  


  1. Great post! I do a lot of these with my girls!

  2. Great advice and it not only is good for the body, it reduces boredom with any one activity!
    Emma recently posted…Sniff n’ Go FunMy Profile

  3. Once the water opens up here the sa gang will be doing land running Nd swimming for their cross training.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And BytesMy Profile

  4. Mixing it up a little? I’m down with that 🙂
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…A squished up BassetMy Profile

  5. Great advice! We know cross training is good for us and it keeps things interesting, too!

  6. Hi Y’all!

    And remember, don’t overdue when the snow melts…start slow!

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Lift Your SpiritsMy Profile

  7. I think this is great advice for senior dogs too (as long as you exercise within their abilities). I sure wish there were more options for people to swim with their dogs, maybe one day we’ll have an in-ground pool built.
    Elaine recently posted…Do Dogs Get Spring Fever?My Profile

  8. Great post! We love mixing it up, it always keep us on our toes or paws, I guess! lol
    Golden Daily Scoop recently posted…Video: Bruin in the SnowMy Profile

  9. Great tips- we try to mix it up a bit. We featured All About Dogs fundraising to build a therapy pool through fitness activities today. I plan to teach Kilo in the bath in a jacket first- not sure he’ll love it but we’ll see. XS

  10. I prefer cross training for myself because it breaks up the monotony of doing the same old thing all the time. I’m working on adding more variety for the dogs as well, because it stands to reason they might feel the same way!
    Jan K recently posted…FitDog Friday – We’re Back!My Profile

  11. I have been doing this recently and am hoping for some great results!
    Rama’s Mama recently posted…Fun FridayMy Profile

  12. Variety is good! I’m sure dogs get bored doing the same thing all the time too.

  13. The vets have had me teach R some “tricks” that help him keep his range of motion from decreasing too much due to elbow dysplasia. He waves with either paw and “takes a bow” several times each day to help him stretch his shoulders and elbows.

    Great post!
    KB recently posted…A Glimpse of Springtime!My Profile

  14. We love keeping our pups’ workouts varied ~ we would all be bored out of our minds if we kept repeating the same exercise routine over and over.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Understanding and Fulfilling Your Dog’s Breed(s)My Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.