Cross training as defined by Runner’s World, is “a combination of exercises from other disciplines, different than the sport the athlete normally practices.” In the case of runners, cross training could include swimming, cycling and other types of fitness done to supplement their running.
Cross training serves several purposes including strengthening ancillary muscle groups, improving flexibility and reducing muscle imbalances all of which help to prevent injuries.
Cross training also helps to add variety to the athlete’s workout schedule which can be just as important as the physiological benefits. According to HVMN, finding inner motivation sometimes requires help from outside influences. “At it’s purest, motivation is the human desires to do something; unlocking that desire may be even more difficult as the task itself.” Cross training can serve as a new opportunity for small wins which boost our motivation.
Here are three ways runners can use a Gravity Ball to enhance their running, as based off of this advice from Runner’s World.
Strengthen Your Hamstrings With Gravity Ball Leg Curls
The quadricep muscles have a tendency to become overdeveloped in runners. The muscle is already a much larger and stronger muscle, generating 1.5 times more power than the hamstrings. Strengthening your hamstrings with the Gravity Ball leg curl can help to prevent imbalances and potential injuries.
Increase Upper Body Strength With Gravity Ball Chest Flies & Push Ups
Upper body training not only improves your running form but also improves your body’s oxygen utilization capacity. For a runner who is new to resistance exercise, two important things to remember are to use a proper weight (one that is not too heavy) and to focus on maintaining proper form and posture during exercise.
Improve Flexibility With A Gravity Ball
Practicing yoga, Pilates or doing some basic flexibility and mobility movements can help to improve your flexibility and loosen tightness in your calves, hips and hamstrings. The trick is to listen to your body and not to push a stretch too far so that you risk straining a muscle. Instead, use the time to improve mental focus and acuity while working out some tight areas.
To supplement their running, runners can strengthen their hamstrings to prevent imbalances, improve their upper body strength to enhance form and oxygen processing ability and increase their flexibility - all of which contribute to more injury-free running.
If you're a runner, what are you doing to cross train? What has been your experience with crossing training so far?
Running Motivation: Tips for Runners at Every Level
Tips for finding motivation that focus on reconnecting with yourself and rediscovering your own style and motivations for running