Why The Best Athletes Cross-Train

Please enjoy the guest piece from our ambassador Luisa Howell (@noelleh33)

Throughout my years as a trainer I have worked with athletes in all skill and competitive levels.  The athletes that tend to have the best athletic success to match their talents are those that incorporate cross training and recovery into their regular fitness programing.

So why do athletes need to cross train?

As an athlete who is looking to improve in your sport, an element of consistency is needed in order to reach your potential.  That means staying healthy and free from injury so you can keep on moving and progressing.  A lot of endurance athletes have a hard time prioritizing this need and pay the consequences with injuries that disrupt their season. A lot of times when I start to work with a marathon runner or a cyclist, there is a lot of push back on this notion. The reasoning varies from not knowing how it fit into their already limited training time to just not understanding the importance of moving in ways that are varied from your sport. After all, isn’t specification the best route to success?

What exactly should I include in my cross training?

There is no one size fits all as far as what an appropriate cross training program would include.  An experts eye can help you evaluate where your body is now, get an understanding of what you are feeling and identify fundamental exercises to start massaging into your fitness regimen.  Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced athlete, cross training and continued progress in fundamental movements is crucial. Once fundamental movements are healthy, power training can be a very valuable training tool to introduce into your training routine.  There are definitely some functional exercises that every runner or athlete that runs should master.  Such exercises challenge core stability and strength, single leg stability and dynamic hip mobility.