Thursday, March 4, 2010

Philosophy of Cross Training

From what I have read and the general outlook that I have on athletics, cross training can have 3 main meanings or interpretations:

  1. Cross training is a way to stay generally fit by doing other sports that are not the athlete's primary focus in the off-season.  Said cross-training sports tend to work the same general muscle groups.
  2. Cross training is a way of building fitness in muscle groups that are not emphasized as much in the athletes primary sport.  The athlete does this in order to become a better all-around athlete.
  3. Cross training is a way to keep an athlete from becoming too "burned out" in his sport of choice.  This is especially relevant if the sport has a 12 month per year season.  
When I think off cross training, all of these factors play into what has become my "Philosophy of Cross Training."  I like to cross train in order to work muscle groups that don't normal get work when mountain biking.

Lead Climbing at Mt. Yonah
Now that I live in Georgia and can basically bike 12 months out of the year, finding something to occupy my time in the off-season is not a big issue.  However, to keep biking 12 months out of the year, year after year after year, I find it essential to mix it up with different sports.  This helps keep things fresh and interesting. Once the weather warms up, my cross training sport of choice is rock climbing.  It's an incredibly pulse-pounding sport, and works a whole different muscle group than mountain biking.  It also requires a different frame of mind than mountain biking.  Rock climbing requires different strategies, different types of decision making.  This differs from sports like downhill skiing, which require much of the same decision making skills.

Since participating in other sports is so vital in becoming a good athlete and maintaining a good athletic drive, several different cross training pursuits will find their way onto this blog when I see fit.  No, they may not be mountain biking.

But here's the bottom line:  None of us can mountain bike 365 days a year and not get tired of it.  To stay in the sport of mountain biking for the long haul, it is absolutely crucial to keep mixing it up.

What sports besides mountain biking do you practice?


Unknown May 31, 2010 at 8:16 AM  

I started running on my treadmill during the winter this year. I noticed I did not have the beginning of the season drop in c-v performance.

I don't do the gym, but I like to do pushups and some strength exercises with one of those exercise bands.

Greg Heil June 5, 2010 at 9:05 AM  

@Jason, I wish I was as disciplined as you to run on a treadmill!

Anonymous,  December 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM  

I run, especially like trail running, hate the treadmill but trying to do it a couple of times a week during the winter. Also picked up a kayak for next spring.

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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Mountain biking, plain and simple. Trail reviews, ride reports, and philosophical musings induced by delirium from grinding up way too many vertical feet.

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