3 Benefits of Cross-Training for Athletes | 2aDays

3 Benefits of Cross-Training for Athletes

3 Benefits of Cross-Training for Athletes 3 Benefits of Cross-Training for Athletes

Athletes are always training to be the best that they can be and get one step ahead of their opponent. But what if one of the ways to be a better athlete in your sport is to actually take a step back from it and train differently? Enter cross-training, which can be a helpful tool for athletes looking to stay in top shape without burning out or wearing their bodies down. 

Related: How to Make the Most of the Volleyball Offseason

What is cross-training?

Cross-training is the idea of using sports or activities outside of an athlete’s usual sport for training purposes. For example, a distance runner might replace a weekly run with a 90-minute swim to engage in cardio while reducing wear-and-tear on their joints. Cross-training allows for variety in the exercise and activities that an athlete takes part in outside the normal drills (and impact) of the athlete’s primary sport. 

Skeptical? Consider these three big benefits of stepping  outside of your routine.

1. Recovery

Changing your training allows an athlete to focus on different muscle groups that may not always be used while training in the athlete’s primary sport. Using these new muscle groups can allow for the other muscle groups to recover which prevents overuse.

2. Athleticism

Playing sports outside of an athlete’s primary sport can lead to the athlete developing skills and abilities that can help the athlete in their primary sport. For instance, if a baseball player picks up golf as a cross-training activity, they can get some cardio in on the golf course, while sharpening the same hand-eye coordination that can help them in the batter’s box. These other skills can supplement the skills it takes to perform well in the primary sport. 

Related: Football Offseason Made Simple

That said, cross training doesn’t have to be playing another sport–it can mean using different methods of training overall. For example, cross-training for a swimmer could be weightlifting. Cross-training can also include finding new ways to get cardio in or adding in new fitness routines, such as doing yoga. If you want to incorporate cross-training into your routine, there’s no wrong way to do it–just find what works for you!

3. Motivation

Taking a step away from a sport to cross-train allows the athlete to have a break both mentally and physically. It can sometimes be hard to constantly train the same way day in and day out. This can wear on an athlete and lead to a lack of motivation or drive. By stepping away and training in a new way can lead to new motivation for the athlete when they start training for their primary sport. This break is very beneficial because it allows them to continue to train athletically, but also receive a break that athletes need from time to time. 

Playing a sport or training outside of an athlete’s sport of choice should not be looked at as a negative. It allows for the athlete to recover, help them gain new skills, and give them a mental and physical break for better motivation. So consider giving cross-training a try this offseason!

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