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Entrenamiento cruzado: Adquiere fuerza y mejora tu rendimiento físico


Cross training: Gain strength and improve your physical performance

When it comes to sports, there is no universal law that applies to all athletes equally. If some like to train at altitude, others will be more focused on their modality and not get out of the mold of it and there are even others who choose to carry out cross training. But what exactly does this type of training consist of? Keep reading because here we tell you what it is and what is the best way to carry it out to take advantage of all its benefits.

Very popular among elite athletes, cross training has become one of the preferred techniques for those who want to increase their physical performance, gain strength and volume, avoid or even recover from injuries.In addition, even if practicing a sport is your passion, it may be that in order to be in perfect condition, you should rely on other sports techniques that prepare you for important days, such as competition days.

It is common among athletes for their training to reach a point of diminishing utility. What does this mean? that your usual training stops being 100% effective since your body has become accustomed to the same type of stimulus, because it understands it as a routine movement. That is why the need arises to create a variation in the training of athletes in order to enhance their physical condition and, in a certain way, awaken other muscles.

This is why cross training is not only a way to prepare to play your sporting events, but also to clear yourself, innovate, improve in your own discipline and even have fun practicing others. But do not worry! Although this technique is truly popular among experienced athletes, it is also perfectly suited to those who are still just starting out.

A ‘wildcard’ modality

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That said, cross training is based on being a 'wild card' modality, that is, the discipline that is practiced in parallel to your routine sporting activity.

This additional discipline can be very varied, including aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling and cross-country skiing. Also anaerobic exercises have a place in your training such as overload exercises and weight lifting among many others. Both types of exercises are fully combinable so that you can enrich your workouts to the maximum.

In addition to escaping from routine and not falling into boredom, we must emphasize that this type of training will be key to gaining strength, since when changing training, the body will identify that it must do a new effort in a different area, thus generating stimuli. When you leave your comfort zone and try yourself in other ways, which are not your usual way, your body will be forced to work harder to respond to the new stimuli that this training will provide, generating self-motivation that will It will encourage you to cross new barriers and live new sports experiences.

Also cross training will make it easier to avoid possible injuries, but why is this? Practicing the same workout for a very long time means that you are using the same muscles continuously, which can mean that this benefits the appearance of overuse injuries. By practicing new forms of training, your body, despite the fact that it continues to use those muscles, does so in a new and different way, decreasing the possibility of suffering any damage.

When to start?

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After all the information we have told you, now you are wondering when is the ideal time to add this type of training to your life, and the answer is simple. The best thing would be to incorporate it when you return to your sports routine, since mixing different types of disciplines will speed up the process of getting ready for competitions or when you are overloaded, since your muscles will be at their limit, and you will be doing yourself a great favor by anticipating any injury.

Normally, professional sports teams use it at the beginning and at the end of each season, coinciding with the moment in which the athletes are in the worst shape and when they are most tired, respectively.

Benefits of cross training

Cross Training is mixing different sports disciplines such as Cycling, Swimming, Cross Country Skiing, elliptical and gym machines into daily training routines. But, what are really the benefits for our body by alternating these sports in our daily routine?

  • Cycling: The advantage of alternating your training with cycling is that you will gain volume without overloading the joints. For example, gaining more strength in the quads and glutes, developing better musculoskeletal balance as a runner, and correcting your posture.
  • Swimming: Swimming or any other water activity, in addition to helping you release stress, helps improve your breathing. Also, it strengthens muscles such as the shoulders, pectorals, back, dorsals and arms, so when you do your running route you will notice the improvement in the arm movement when running. Even if you are going through an injury, aquatic training is ideal for a quick recovery by strengthening the lower body.
  • Gym: The use of dumbbells, weights and machines helps to develop the upper body and if you are undergoing an injury, it is a low-impact exercise that helps strengthen the muscles that are affected.
  • Cross-country skiing: It is trail runners who find cross-country skiing the best cross-training for them. Being highly demanding, it always improves their upper body with a very low risk of injury.
Cross training for runners

Carrying out cross training undoubtedly brings benefits to anyone who practices it. However, if there is a discipline that we should highlight, that would undoubtedly be that of runners.

Probably contrary to what is thought, cross training brings the greatest benefits to beginning runners, since the mixture of disciplines benefits the improvement of aerobic resistance and lung capacity resulting in a better physical performance.

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For professional runners, although it is true that it is not a training that will generate a notable improvement in aerobic resistance, as in the previous case, it can help them in another matter as acquiring strength, especially for those who lack it.

An example that this type of training really gives results is the athlete Luis Miguel Martín Berlanas, runner in the 3,000-meter obstacle course, who, as he himself has recounted on occasion, due to his condition Haglund syndrome (posterior heel bursal tendon entrapment) and his four surgeries and subsequent recoveries, he had to start considering cross training, which he finally ended up practicing, using the elliptical, the bicycle, and on some occasions, practicing cross-country skiing, which were undoubtedly the keys to recover, resume training and prepare for competitions.

For Trail runners, cross training also has many benefits both in the short and long term and especially when doing it on the bike. Since the Trail is carried out in mountainous terrain where streams and rivers must be crossed with great ascents and descents, the risk of suffering injuries due to bad falls or due to uneven terrain is quite high. For this reason, when it comes to training for competitions, riding the bike is a very good alternative for these athletes, since spending so many hours in the mountains, but this time on the bike, the training can be just as intensive. at the same time that the area is studied, but without the danger of suffering the typical injuries of the Trail.

Pau Capell, the runner par excellence of the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail, is another of those who has already joined cross-training and has ensured that of the 30 hours he trains a week, 40 % does it under this type of training, using the bicycle. In addition, his own trainer is a fan of cross-training, which encourages him to follow this mechanism and ensures that its benefits are really visible.

For all the reasons that we have given you, it is proven that the benefits of cross-training are evident, and that, furthermore, there is no single type of this exercise, which makes it easier for each athlete to find the one that best suits them. and to their needs, as assured by elite professionals. And you, do you dare with this training?

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cross Training

What is cross training?

Cross training is a modality that consists of mixing different sports disciplines, such as cycling, gym, skiing and swimming, in order to improve physical capacity.

What are the benefits of cross training?
  • Helps prevent muscle injuries.
  • It is a good method of rehabilitation after surgery or injury.
  • It helps to increase the athlete's strength.
  • Increases active breathing.
For what type of athletes is cross-training beneficial?

Cross training is beneficial to athletes of all disciplines as it helps them improve physically. However, for athletes such as runners and especially trail runners, cross training favors them especially when it comes to avoiding injuries when they are in the preparation period for a competition.

When is the right time to cross-train?

The most appropriate moments to develop a type of training such as crossover are mainly at the beginning and end of the competitions, since in the first, the routine is being resumed and the body is in a lower shape, and the second , because it is when the body is most exhausted and overloaded, which can lead to various injuries.