Feel Better Fit

Feel Better Fit

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cross Training Works!

Hi Kathryn,

I need some advice. I have done many miles of biking this summer. My legs are strong and I am feeling fit! How can I stay in shape over the winter when it is too cold to bike? I don’t want to lose the strength I have gained. I go walking but this does not push me as hard as biking does. 
IS there a better way to walk? I love to be outdoors. I cannot run because it hurts my joints Do I need an exercise bike or other machine?

Thanks for your advice. AF

Hi AF,

Great question!

Cross training is always recommended for any athlete that does a repetitive movement. This occurs in most every sport, biking included. Off season is a good time to do more cross training. The objective is two-fold: Reduce Injuries, Improve Performance

1.     Train in a more varied, hence balanced fashion. This limits sprains and tears, rubbing of connective tissue and also improves overall performance ability by recruiting lazy supporting muscles. Exercises should recruit other supporting muscles or surrounding muscles, while still utilizing the same groups you use in your sport or activity.
2.     Work the necessary muscles (the tools of your sport) in different ways. Achieve/maintain maximum strength in the necessary muscles in ways besides the typical repetitive motion required by the activity. Hence reducing the amount of breakdown on the cushioning material between the joints that are moving.

Example: Strength type movements like:

Uphill Walking outdoors or on a treadmill
Stepper, Elliptical, Stairmaster
Hamstring Exercises might be useful also or calf raises.
Water Walking
Jumping on a mini tramp
Suspension Training (Recruits weak supporting muscles, increasing overall performance)
Lunges or Squats Side squats (shown here) would be valuable for you!
Side to Side Squats
Add a Jump to the movement
for more benefits!

The key is: Variety of Training gives a more balanced body which reduces the risk of overuse injuries while increasing overall strength and performance!

Imbalance refers to strengthening some muscles while neglecting to strengthen others and/or over tightening some areas while over stretching others. Overuse Injuries – This refers to injuries that are the result of repeating a similar movement over and over. This creates imbalance which may tug the joint out of alignment causing rubbing of tendons and ligaments or wearing away cartilage. Over use may also lead to tears and strains of muscles that are “over-used”. Remember many, if not most of athletic injuries are due to overuse.

Cross training may also provide you with the added benefit of maintaining your Cardiovascular Fit Levels while “resting and repairing” your “over used” tissue.

Year Round Cross Training is your best course of action with extra during off season.

So be glad for the cold months; a blessing in disguise as you try some new activities that strengthen in new ways! Continue those activities in limited ways during your active seasons for continued benefits and optimum balance and strength!

Now, go have fun!