If you’re training for a specific event or towards a specific fitness goal, you may think you should always train for that specific activity. Turns out by always doing more of the same, you may run into performance plateaus, injuries or you might just get bored of your workout. Crosstraining is a workout planning approach that incorporates a variety of sports and exercises into your training routine, and, while it may seem counterintuitive, it can actually improve your performance and help prevent injury and mental burnout!
During your crosstraining workouts, you will use your muscles in different ways than in your main workouts. So by varying your activities, you limit the stress that occurs on a specific muscle group. This allows you to continue to train and maintain your strength and cardio levels while giving your main target muscles and joints a break. By using low intensity crosstraining workouts as recovery you are actually practicing active-recovery which is known to help your body recover faster and make adaptations for fitness gains more efficiently than outright rest. For example, if you’re a runner, swimming or cycling will give your bones and soft tissue a break from all that impact while still keeping you active.
Injury prevention is probably the most widely recognized benefit of crosstraining. Overuse injuries are due to putting constant and repetitive impact or strain on the same muscle groups or joints. The key to prevent this type of injury is giving your body enough recovery time. Crosstraining is a great way to give your target muscles the recovery they deserve while still keeping active; effectively preventing injuries and practicing active recovery at the same time! Furthermore, adding a core workout in your program will help build stability, balance and muscle control which helps to keep you safe from injury in almost any sport.
Crosstraining can also improve your sport performance. You can choose crosstraining workouts that target aspects you want to improve for your main sport. For instance, if you’re a cyclist, cross country skiing can help build your quad strength to help increase your power when you’re going uphill. If you’re a runner, pilates or rowing can help improve your muscular endurance which helps keep your form and avoid placing strain on your spine and lower legs.
Crosstraining is a great way to improve your overall fitness. By repeating the same movements your body can become very efficient at those movements, but it limits your overall fitness and actual conditioning you get while training; this is how you run into a performance plateau. It’s also a great way to get a killer workout in and change up your routine by doing something different; maybe do something you’ve never done before or something fun – you could have a try at rock climbing, kayaking, rollerblading, or water skiing.
If you want to find out even more about the amazing benefits of crosstraining, have a look at the articles linked below or come and experience it yourself with Fabian on Thursday at 18:00 in Zurich West for with a special Veloburn + 40 minute / 8 km run.