Offseason: Maintaining Fitness Using Cross-Training
Are you enjoying a bit of a break after a big season of sport, but still wanting to keep fit and strong without burning out? Here is a guide to offseason training that will keep you fit while being a bit of fun and something different to your sport!
Running is a basic component of most team sports such as hockey, AFL, soccer, rugby, etc, and is something that is trained into the players heavily during any preseason and maintained during the season. So it is understandable that by seasons end the players have had enough of being on their legs and running around. Instead of losing all that fitness built up over a season because running now feels like a chore, why not try something new and fun this offseason?
Here are 3 fun Cross-Training options for you and why they are effective:
Swimming is the ideal offseason fitness method as there is no direct impact on the legs, yet you are still getting a really good workout for the cardiorespiratory system. Not only does swimming keep you off your legs whilst still getting the fitness benefits, it is also great for the body to be immersed in water for recovery and just because it feels GREAT! Another benefit of swimming is that you can build up your upper body strength without having to do any extra gym sessions. Regardless of your swimming ability in the past, this is a great form of cross-training because you can tailor your program to suit your own level. Modifications such as using a 25 metre pool for extra breaks if you haven’t done that much swimming before or the ocean for the more confident swimmers needing a longer distance and the challenge of currents or waves.
Cycling is a very popular sport in its own right, but also a fantastic way to maintain strength of the lower limb and also cardiorespiratory fitness during an offseason. The direct impact of cycling to the legs is minimal compared to running but still promotes the use of the important muscles such as glutes, quads and hamstrings. Another great cross training method for people of varying degrees of cycling ability as you can range from riding on the footpath with a mountain bike, to riding long distances with a road bike.
This offseason, do away with your car for short trips to the local shops, beach or workplace and start your fitness campaign by riding your bike instead. Plus, with the rising cost of fuel its also a cheap alternative for commuting, so this could be the only form of exercise that will keep you fit and save you money.
A personal favourite of ours here at Stoke Physio, and used in many of our exercise sessions as an adjunct to core strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and upper body strengthening. This is a great way to really get the blood flowing and raise a sweat. If you have a boxing bag at home or at the gym, we recommend trying a session made up of 3 sets of 3-minute rounds with a 1-minute rest between each round. Make sure you move your feet and work around the bag, trying out different combinations of punches and remember to keep your guard up! If you have access to a set of boxing pads and a friend keen to get involved. You can try a pyramid set of either sit-ups or push-ups where you hit the pads in increments of 2 (e.g. 2,4,6 etc.) up to 20, and for every 2 punches you do a push-up/sit-up between (e.g. 2 punches = 1 push/sit-up, 8 punches = 4 push/sit-ups).
Boxing is a cool and fun ways to keep some of that fitness from last season without having to do endless laps of the oval or pounding the pavement with running. It's also a really good way to take out any frustrations you have on a bag or the pads, you’ll be guaranteed to come out of a boxing session feeling physically worked and mentally fresh!
Stay active this off-season, and go into next season fighting fit and ready to go!