by Charles Weller February 15, 2017
If you are looking for ways to help you master your sport or just improve your game, it might be time to step out of your comfort zone and realize some of the benefits of cross-training. Cross-training is a training approach that combines different styles and techniques from various types of workout strategies into one. For example, a boxer might incorporate sprint drills and plyometric exercises to shorten recovery time and improve explosive power. It might not seem intuitive to incorporate exercise strategies foreign to your sport, in fact it might seem more like a distraction keeping you from focusing on the obvious. However, the benefits of cross-training are quite significant that if you haven’t been incorporating this approach you might want to consider it!
Cross-training can help break through plateaus and actually give you an edge and advantage over other competitors, especially if they are not cross-training. By mixing up your routine, your body is forced to go through that process where it is no longer adapted and efficient with the known routines but must instead re-adapt and grow stronger in order to get through the change. The different techniques that are recommended to include in a cross-training approach to break through plateaus vary according to the sport and individual.
Contrary to what might be assumed, training your body by mixing up exercise strategies is not self-defeating, assuming the cross training isn’t taken to an extreme. For example, a body-builder isn’t going to want to crank up his/her cardio to the point of running marathons and burning through the muscles! However, if he/she participates in some various types of cardiovascular activity, it is going to help improve overall heart health as well as help him/her lose the unwanted fat.
Strengthening your body in different areas will help prevent injuries, especially those due to repetitive movements. For athletes that are recovering from injuries, training using other techniques provides the opportunity to continue training and actually improve the weak areas that might have been neglected before.
Trying something new that will still help you with your goal, is always a nice way to take a break during a rigorous and intense training program. It gives you a chance to re-group and re-focus for the intensity that will come with the next sessions. Additionally, experiencing different activity in different environment can provide stimulation that might allow you overcome obstacles that you previously had trouble with. Or perhaps even better, the change provides you with an improved perspective with which to approach your sport.