Guest Post: Why Every Runner Needs Proper Cross-Training

So you want to become faster this year? What should you? Most people simply start running more. However, unless you’re an elite athlete, you don’t really need to run more than three (or maybe four) times a week.

So in addition to running, you should do some proper cross-training as well. Cross training will surely keep you motivated to get all of your workouts complete. There are numerous advantages of cross training, including (but not limited to) avoiding burnout and injuries.

What’s more, if you start focusing on a completely different group of muscles (that you may not work enough when you’re running) will ensure that you will become a better and stronger athlete from top to bottom.

But is every cross training technique helpful? As it is with anything in life, cross-training has its downsides. So before you start hitting the gym, you need to ask one question – does this exercise involve moving your pelvis?

The Proper Movement of the Pelvis

This is simply the most important part of healthy running. The frontal and transverse planes of your pelvis need to move properly (it moves sort of like a seesaw, from side to side).

If you spend too much time on exercises that hold it still, you’ll eventually start moving more slowly and become more prone to injuries. Also, keep this in mind – your brain memorizes movements. So if you manage to strengthen your muscles and learn all the right movements, then you’ll be both strong and mobile enough to run better.

Naturally, if you want to cross-train properly, you need to make some serious lifestyle changes, including changing your diet, timing your meals and getting used to careful meal prep.

But let’s get back to the topic at hand – first you need to learn about the right exercises – because if you learn and practice the wrong ones, even if you manage to strengthen the right muscles your training will still be useless. So let’s look at a short list of some cross-training activities, and see how they’ll help you become a better runner.

Why Every Runner Needs Yoga

  • The Big Benefits

Yoga can improve your strength and mobility, especially of your hip joints and core, especially in warrior poses and sun salutations. And if you pay special attention to all the different kinds of movement your pelvis makes, and allow it to move more, yoga will be even more effective.

  • The Possible Downsides

While there are no huge downsides of yoga, you don’t actually need to spend more than two to three hours a week practicing yoga. Only a small amount of it will do the job – so don’t overdo it.

Why Every Runner Needs Swimming

  • The Big Benefits

Freestyle swimming is great for runners for one main reason – it helps them line themselves up from foot to head. But you’ll maybe have to consult a trainer; because you’ll need to do everything properly (proper freestyle involves rolling side to side and lengthening one side first and then the other).

  • The Possible Downsides

However, the effectiveness of swimming mostly depends on what stroking technique you use. For instance, some strokes that doesn’t involve a lot of turning like the butterfly and especially breaststroke are actually not beneficial at all.

Why Every Runner Needs Strength Training

  • The Big Benefits

Most strength enhancing exercises involve spiral movement, balance and of course, turning – all of which are essential to running. And when it comes to pelvis movements, one great exercise for this is pulling a cable and creating resistance while you turn – this will move your pelvis a lit and strengthen your core.

  • The Possible Downsides

On the other hand, you need to pay special attention to small details, because training on machines that don’t move your pelvis at all can be bad for your running abilities. So before you start using certain machines, you’ll need to evaluate the equipment and learn what it does for your body.

Final Thoughts

Those are just a couple of reasons why every runner needs strength training. So what do you think about our list? Do you maybe have a different cross-training routine? If you do, you should definitely leave a comment in the section bellow and share it with the rest of us.

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