What exactly is cross-training?
Cross-training is a training method to improve performance in a specific sport by incorporating a variety of other sports and exercises into your training program.
Why bother spending time training something that isn’t aerials?
Time is precious, but the benefits of cross-training are significant.
If you choose your cross-training wisely, you can boost your overall fitness (and therefore efficiency, endurance and power in aerials). By increasing your total amount of exercise per week, you can gain many benefits without overloading your joints from the constant, repetitive stress of aerial specific-training.
You can also use cross-training as active recovery – rather than having a full rest day. Choose an activity that gets you moving, is low intensity but isn’t focussed aerial training. Your body will recover faster, and your mind will be clear!
There is also a preventative effect on overuse injuries. We need to even out those pulley systems around our joints, otherwise we get weak and tight on one side of our joints, and that is never a good thing! Additionally, if you are injured but have a solid cross-training routine in place, you can maintain a good level of fitness and strength throughout your recovery period.
Finally – variety really is the spice of life! Taking part in other activities will keep you excited about aerials and keep that mental fatigue at bay!
What should I look for in a cross-training activity?
1 – Something that uses your legs more than your arms
If we train aerials 3-4 times per week and then back that up with another 3 sessions of arm work, we are going to put ourselves at risk for over-use injuries.
2 – Something that has more pushing than pulling
We really want to exercise the antagonist (opposite) muscles to the ones we use in aerial training. Look for classes that have elements of push-ups, boxing and/or weight training
3 – Something that utilizes fast twitch muscle
In aerials, we are primarily using slow twitch muscle fibres, and like anything – if you don’t use it you lose it! Fast twitch muscle is extremely important for reacting to dangerous situations, so we definitely want our emergency back-up system primed.
4 – Bonus points for stability training
As we generally are working at 100% with our abs, hip flexors shoulders and sometimes our neck (eek), it’s crucial to take time to focus on those super important stabilizers. Activities that get specific on deep back, neck and abdominal muscles as well as rotator cuff for the shoulders should definitely be a part of your weekly regime.
What are your favourite cross-training classes?
At the moment, I am loving Pilates and getting a kick out of high intensity circuit training at my local F45*. Last week I tried out ice skating for the first time, which left my legs very sore the next day – it was super fun, and I’m already planning to go back.
*I’m not sponsored or affiliated with F45… but, if anyone there wants to give me a membership … 😜😀well hello there 😘