In clinic I see a lot of cyclists and runners, a vast amount of their injuries are often due to overuse. You may have heard of some of the common ones like; Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (also known as Runner’s knee); ITB Syndrome; Achilles Tendonosis and Plantar Fasciitis to name but a few. The reason for some many overuse injuries are that people tend to stick with the discipline they are training for and forget to mix it up! This is where the benefits of cross training come to play; not only does it help reduce injury by not repeating the same movements thousand of times but it also helps achieve whole body strength and conditioning; which actually aids performance in the long run!!!!
As soon as someone mentions the words ‘cross training’ they often think that the only alternative is to swim. Knowing the great cardiovascular benefits you get,yet without the undue stress and impact on low limb joints swimming really is a great sport for cross training, however, there are so many other activities that you can do ….
I recently attended the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross as my sister bought me a Hydrospeeding session for my birthday. I had no idea what this was but I am always game for some adventure and fun!! Long story short you hold onto a giant float (shaped like the nose of a speed boat) and go down the rapids trying not to barrel roll to often!!!
I managed about 7 runs in the hour slot and I WAS SHATTERED!!!! Wet suits, life jackets, helmets, and flippers made it a challenge to walk in let along getting tossed and capsized by the force of the rapids – let’s just say I became very proficient ( much to my sister’s amusement!) at barrel rolls! My thighs were burning; my biceps and forearms had a workout from gripping so hard and my cardiovascular system certainly went into overdrive!!! But boy was it fun!
It was while chatting to one of the instructors that she mentioned they often see marathon runners coming along to Hydrospeed as a form of cross training – what a great idea!!!
I got me thinking about what over ways we can cross train that is fun yet provides us with the strength, CV workout, stability and conditioning that we need for our chosen sport that will keep us motivated and free from overuse injuries. Here’s a small list of a few other activities I thought of:
Yoga – to help lengthen tight muscles; increase balance, core and concentration.
Piliates – to activate core units, strengthen muscles, improve co-ordination and stability and can increase CV workout depending on the form of Pilates used.
Powerwave & Body Pump – Weighted workouts that not only increases CV fitness but is a fun way of incorporating those long weight sessions.
Canoeing/ Kayaking – works on CV fitness, core and upper body strength – especially when working against those rapids!
Rockclimbing – helps with core strength, stability and upper body strength.
Water skiing – A full body workout!!!
Trampolining – Improves CV fitness, tones and engages the core (especially if you intend to do all that flipping and somersault stuff!)
Ballroom Dancing – Superb for postural alignment, core engagement, balance and co-ordination, and of course CV fitness
This is just a very short list of about a billion things you can do that will help mix up your training whilst keeping it fun, relevant and more important free for overuse injuries!!!
So go out there, explore and have fun!
My clinic is based in west Brentwood, Essex. It is walking distance from the High Street and Brentwood Rail Station; and a short drive from J28 of the M25, free parking is available on the drive.
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