“ By performing activities that are different from your traditional movements, you train your muscles while keeping your mind fresh“
Types of Cross-Training
What is Cross-Training?
Cross-Training is the act of training in a manner that is different from your traditional sport. For example, runners who spend 9 months training for marathons may try cycling, rowing, or swimming for 2-3 months during their off-season. Ideally an athlete cross-trains in a similar energy system to their sport (aerobic, anaerobic, or neuromuscular). If you can find a similar activity that is different from your traditional movements, you will see large improvements in your year-to-year results.
Why do you Cross-Train?
The purpose of cross-training is to maintain fitness while allowing the body to recover both mentally and physically. By performing activities that are different from your traditional movements, you train your muscles while keeping your mind fresh. Often, athletes will find this new challenge exciting and fun! Change things up this off-season and start a new activity that will have you ready for your next training season.
How Much Training Should I Do?
If you’re in-season and looking to cross-train, you should perform 1-2 activities/week. While in off-season however, this number could build upwards of 3-4 activities/week. Depending on how much training load you normally carry, your cross-training could make up 60-80% of your normal training. This will be dependent on athlete wants and needs. There is no harm in cross-training more if you’re having fun and staying active!
For athletes that spend all year performing their sport, they can develop physical limitations. These include muscular imbalances, concentrated force/impact areas, and other items that wear the body down. By performing cross-training, the athlete allows the body to utilize muscles in different ways and create balance. This balance will help athletes fight off injury and have them ready to start their upcoming seasons.
Performing the same routine and maintaining the same focus year-round can become exhausting. When athletes begin to lose focus, they often see a reduction in performance. As you near the end of your season, it is easy to lose focus and the energy required to keep pushing. This is the perfect time for cross-training. By picking a new activity, you will keep things fun and engaging for your mind. This newfound excitement will allow you to return to your dedicated sport ready and eager to improve.
It should be the goal of every athlete to maintain movement, but with limited mental strain. Throughout your cross-training block, we want to focus on re-balancing your muscles for the upcoming season. If you can aid your training through injury prevention, you are sure to continually have great seasons that allow you to explore perfection!