Cross-training refers to a form of training routine that uses different forms of exercises other than the normal drill associated with a sport. It is good for athletic preparation as well as injury preparation. Athletes are often forced to perform exercises or training out of their chosen sport. Weight training is commonly incorporated as a cross-training tool. Some popular cross-training tools include skiing, running, swimming, circuit training and plyometrics.
Does cross-training help with injuries?
Incorporating a variety of exercises with cross-training can help in preventing injuries. The exclusions of core training can lead to an imbalance of strength and flexibility. This puts stress on your muscles and joints which can lead to injury. When you perform a new training your body is not used to the type of movements, which is a risk of injury.
Benefits of cross-training
• It conditions the entire body, not just specific muscle groups, this is not possible with just one type of activity.
• Our muscles gets easily adapted to new activities, as we start working with various activities.
• There is flexibility in training regime, which reduces boredom as there are multiple trainings to work with.
• With the alternate use of muscles during cross training, it tends to reduce the risk of injury while working with most muscles.
• It helps in the improvement of skill, agility and balance.
How does cross-training prevent injuries?
Cross training can help with injuries caused by repetitive exercises. It helps in reducing the pressure caused in the muscles and tendons, performing such alternating exercises works the different muscles in our body allowing the built-up of wear and tear in our body to recover. As for an example, athletes that deal with heavy running can incorporate swimming as a cross training exercise. It is also known to increase stability and balance for both the dominant and non-dominant sides of the body, while also increasing flexibility.
How to cross train?
Any exercise or skill which is not related to the particular sport can be taken up as cross training. One can include the following program:
• Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling etc. which can improve cardiovascular fitness.
• Strength training such as weightlifting can help develop muscle bulk.
• Flexibility exercises such as stretching and yoga can help keep the muscles flexible.
These three exercises can be incorporated into your fitness routine. But, it is advisable to seek the help of your physician before beginning a program.
While such exercises can be beneficial for just anyone, people tend to get excited since it’s new and different. They tend to push themselves harder resulting in injuries because of which precaution needs to be taken. It is safer to start slowly and progress further, warm up and cool down are crucial, proper technique and form is required, overtraining should be avoided, but don’t forget to stretch and incorporate flexibility into your trainings.