Every athlete is constantly looking for the newest way to get the upper hand on his or her competition. In soccer, a game that is often decided by just a singular goal, the smallest advantages can make the biggest difference. One of the most overlooked ways to gain that game day advantage over your competition comes from the way you train.
In the last few years, a new form of training, cross-training, has become incredibly popular in the NFL, NBA, and even the military. Cross-training—not CrossFit—is the act of training through a second sport or fitness workout in order to enhance one’s performance or fitness level in their main sport. For instance, an avid marathon runner may cross-train with swimming or biking. The reason why cross-training is becoming so popular in the athletics world is because it presents the athlete with a multitude of benefits.
The most obvious benefit to cross-training is improved conditioning. When you do the same kinds of workouts or training exercises consistently, your body gets accustomed to them and at a point, your athletic ability begins to plateau. By adding a different sport or fitness workout to your weekly workout routine, you force your body to learn how to adapt to new conditions. This increases your cardio-aerobic capacity and helps to improve your overall fitness and conditioning level.
A less noticed, but no less important benefit of cross-training is injury prevention. Many injuries in sports often occur due to overdoing a single activity, such as jumping, cutting, or running. This high level of repetition wears away at the joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your body and causes them to break down over time, thus resulting in injury. Through cross-training, you utilize your body differently—switching up the way your body moves to prevent you from tearing down your body while still allowing you to train. This also helps you to iron out any weakness in your game e.g. balance, cardio, flexibility, etc. Many injuries occur from over-compensation of a stronger muscle to make up for a weaker one. Cross-training allows you to attack the weaknesses in your overall physical fitness.
Its seems counter-intuitive but cross-training can be a huge benefit to your recovery. By working out through cross-training, you are giving your body the opportunity to recover actively. Active recovery is one of the best ways for your body to recover from hard workouts because it allows you to work out other parts of your body while the increased blood flow from your workout speeds up the recovery time of your damaged tissues. More and more evidence is starting to show that sustained and controlled motion are more beneficial to muscle recovery than rest, ice, and elevation.
And lastly, cross-training is just fun! It is a nice way to break the monotony of summer workouts with something different while still getting the benefits of a good workout. So get your team together this summer and play a pick up football or basketball game, go for a bike ride, or go rock climbing! Maybe even show this to your coach to try to convince him or her into making it part of your team’s training regiment this summer! Changing up your workout in the summer can make all the difference when game time rolls around in the fall.
Even when it comes to cross-training, soccercorner.com can help get you set up for success. For training shirts like the Nike Dry Academy Top, training shoes like the Adidas ACE Tango 17.1 Trainer, or some slides for after the pool, soccercorner.com has you covered!