Whether you have a weekly basketball game, golf on the weekends, tennis after work, or whatever recreational sport you’re into, you know that you can’t go at it every single day. Not at the same level every time, at least.
But it’s important to keep our bodies moving, especially if we want to stay at the top of our game. So if you’re hella competitive like we are, here are some of the best forms of cross-training so you show up to the court or the pitch every week a stronger version of yourself.
We could all use a little bit of cardio
Cardio is not everybody’s favorite way to work out. But, adding at least a little bit of it into your cross-training program can work wonders for any sport you play.
Let’s get more specific. Cardio refers to any form of exercise that brings up your heart rate for a relatively prolonged period of time. When your heart rate goes up, you’ll start to breathe more quickly and more deeply. Sound familiar?
These are some of the most popular forms of cardio workouts:
For sports like basketball, football, and tennis, the benefit of cardio is plain and simple. It will help you build endurance and expand your lung capacity which is vital when you’re consistently running back and forth or up and down the court or the pitch. Over time, you’ll be able to run faster and longer, which will help you play better.
But even for sports like golf, cardio can definitely be beneficial.
Although golf is a low-intensity cardio sport, it does involve a lot of walking. And, if you’re from the Philippines, a lot of time under the blazing sun. You may not need endurance in the same way that tennis players or footballers do, but you will nevertheless need to stay fit for full days on the course.
So if you don’t have cardio fit into your cross-training routine just yet, you can start by adding one cardio session a week. It may suck at first. But, after a few runs, jump rope sessions, or cycling stints, you may start to look forward to it. But whether or not you do, it will definitely make you a stronger athlete.
Lift those weights
It’s surprising, but strength training may actually be the more underrated way to cross-train in comparison to cardio. This is because when we watch people play sports like basketball or badminton, we see them running on the court. So naturally, we associate cardio with good cross-training.
But strength training is just as important.
Let’s break it down. Strength training is also referred to as weight training, resistance training, or muscular training. Put simply: its goal is to strengthen your muscles. These kinds of exercises usually involve some kind of resistance, such as weights, dumbbells, or resistance bands.
Here are some forms of strength training:
Strength training is important for any sport. That’s why professional athletes are always spending time at the gym and not just on the court. When they do this, they are conditioning their bodies. And in doing so, they are able to strengthen the muscles they use to play, increase mobility, and enhance their ability to learn new movement patterns.
Try and think about every time you throw or kick a ball, or swing a club or a racket. Which muscles are you using? How do you think you can strengthen those muscles to make you play stronger and with more power?
Try and add two to three days of strength training to your cross-training routine. Soon, you’ll notice yourself get stronger both on and off the court.
If you’re an athlete, we know you love fully sending it every time you hit the court, the gym, or the road. We get it. But it is equally important to slow down your movements too. Yoga is one of the best ways to do this.
Put simply, yoga refers to a type of physical activity wherein you move your body into different positions. These positions can help you improve your flexibility, mobility, and balance.
Yoga is also is a form of stretching out your muscles and your spine, which is important for recovery. How many times have you gone for a workout and skipped the stretching?
When you’re playing any sport, flexibility and mobility are extremely important. As athletes, we’re often moving side to side, up and down in quick bursts. We’re also running or walking a lot. And over time, this puts a strain on our bodies and muscles, especially if you add in other forms of training such as cardio and strength training.
Yoga is the balancing element you need in your weekly routine to keep your muscles in check. Not only will it help you lengthen your muscles, move more freely on the court, and help your breathing, but it will also prevent injuries.
Adding at least one day of yoga every week will definitely pay off if you want to keep yourself from missing months of playing because of an injury. So whether you add it in as your rest day or do a quick session after a workout, yoga will definitely be valuable to you as an athlete.
These are just some small building blocks that can help you improve your game on the court, on the field, or on the course. Ultimately, it will be up to you how you decide to utilize these cross-training activities in order to become stronger every time you show up to play.