Benefits of Cross Training

Most runners take to cross training when injured to maintain fitness. However, cross training should not be used simply as a way of remaining fit when you cannot indulge in your primary passion, but should form a part of your daily routine. While it is true that if you are a runner, then the more you run, the better you will get, it is equally true that you need to focus on other areas of your body as well in order to be totally fit. Cross training should not replace your primary practice, but it can work wonders when used as a supplement with running. This is because cross training has a number of powerful benefits that can greatly improve your performance on the tracks.


Five major benefits of cross training

1. Improved Muscle Strength and Performance:  If running is your primary sport, then most of your workouts and practice sessions would work out your calf and heel muscles. However, it is not uncommon to see even the best of runners fail on the track because of weak abdominal muscles, quadriceps or arms. These weak muscles often show up in the form of hunched postures or flailing lifeless arms just before the finish line. An athlete with stronger biceps, quads and abs definitely has an edge over one who only has strong hamstrings and calves, and it is cross training that can endow you with these. Swimming is a great low impact cross training workout for runners that strengthens legs, arms and the whole upper body. Cycling is another activity that can improve quads and calves and provide runners with better speed and strength on the tracks.

2. Prevents Injuries: A large number of sports injuries occur due to over training. Cross training can play an important part in injury prevention by letting you get your cardiovascular workouts while giving your primary running muscles time to rest and recuperate. Cross training is especially advised after long and fast runs, since it lets your muscles heal, strengthens other supporting muscles and keeps your cardiovascular system strong.

3. Improves Stamina And Endurance: Your stamina and endurance are directly related to your cardiovascular workouts and cross training provides an excellent way of supplementing your cardio workouts without overstraining your running muscles. By cross training with an activity like swimming, cycling, skiing or interval training, you can easily improve your endurance while keeping your running within safe limits.

4. Increases Balance and Flexibility:  Most professional players and athletes cross train because they know that becoming more flexible, agile and stable on the field or track can give them the edge over their competitors. Cross training with gymnastics, yoga, dancing or Asian martial arts can endow your body with the stability and balance to leave others behind on the tracks.

5. Prevents Monotony:
If you are constantly into running, then you will definitely face those days where getting down to practice seems like the worst thing in the world to do. Regular cross training can help keep this kind of monotony and boredom at bay while keeping both motivation and fitness levels high.