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The Benefits of Cross-Training for Athletes

brooke ence

Brooke Ence in action at the CrossFit Games

Almost everyone is familiar with the term cross-training these days. Like any sports regimen, it has many benefits for your health and fitness. But do you know what they are, and what it means for your particular sport? We explore this in our outline of the benefits of cross-training for athletes, below.

Lowers Your Risk Of Injury

Are you a surfer? As much as you live for catching that next wave, you likely spend most of your time paddling. Your shoulder, back, and arm muscles are probably well developed, but what about your leg and chest muscles? 

These muscles may be far weaker. And this imbalance in the body makes you more susceptible to injury. Strength training lowers your risk of injury by improving muscle strength and improving balance while promoting greater flexibility and mobility. 

Proper strength training techniques will strengthen your major joints like your knees, hips, and ankles, further lowering your risk of injury. This is good news for surfers. But these benefits will also lower the risk of sports-related injuries and improve performance in other sports too.

Improves Your Blood Circulation

Are you a weight lifter? Healthy blood circulation will give a major boost to your sport, but also your general health. To fully grasp this, you need to understand why blood circulation is so important. 

Your blood delivers oxygen and vital nutrients to your body’s cells. And if you have more blood flow to your muscles, you will be able to lift more weight and do more repetitions. Healthy blood circulation also aids in ridding your system of excess waste products. 

Cardiovascular exercise such as power-walking and cycling, or even hiking up steep terrain,  greatly increases blood flow. So include various forms of cardio exercise in your cross-training routine to vastly improve your circulation.

Increases Your Endurance And Stamina

Do you practice martial arts? Or perhaps you are a boxer or wrestler? Then you’ll be pleased to discover the synergistic relationship between the various combat sports and cross-training modalities. 

This is due to the increase in endurance and stamina that cross-training provides. In the combat sports and martial arts arena, these are benefits that cannot be overlooked. 

Running, cycling and swimming are all excellent forms of cardio exercise that will offer you these benefits. But any aerobic exercise will increase the efficiency with which oxygen is delivered to the muscles of your body. And this results in greater stamina.

But the wealth of fitness gains you’ll enjoy from activities like biking or swimming are not specific to combat sports alone. They are global benefits that will get any type of athlete in top form and fighting fit.

Encourages Proper Form And Posture

Are you a runner? Having the correct form and posture is essential for many sports, particularly running. This helps to prevent injuries and enables you to run faster and further, more easily.

Yoga is a no-impact, gentle yet effective form of exercise that will improve your flexibility while improving your posture. Many runners are already including yoga in their cross-training routine. 

And yoga offers a variety of other benefits, too. It will improve both your physical and mental health. This has been recognized and acknowledged by the medical and academic community. 

Aqua jogging is another no-impact exercise that encourages the proper form needed for running. And a workout on an elliptical machine also offers running-specific strength gains while mimicking a running motion.  

Facilitates Recovery And Improves Performance

Are you a cyclist? Do you want to improve your overall performance and reduce recovery time in your sport? Whether you are a professional athlete or just enjoy your sport on the weekends, you’ll know the importance of recovery from muscle fatigue. 

Training recovery is a critical step in any sport because it allows your body time to heal in anticipation of your next workout. When you perform the same muscle movements repetitively, you risk injury due to overuse. But what about underused muscles? 

By alternating your sport of choice with another sport or exercise activity, you employ a greater range of motion and use different muscle groups. The glutes are of extreme importance when applying force to the pedal. But they are not dominant in cycling and need to be targeted with progressive resistance training. 

Cyclists especially will benefit from strength-training, to strengthen underused muscles and target the all-important ab muscles as well. This is the core principle of cross-training. It will benefit you no matter which sport you love.

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.