Get our exclusive report. Download the iSport360 Club Switching Report Here – For Club Admins, Rec Leaders and Coaches.

The Benefits of Cross Training in Youth Sports

One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve learned about training in the past few years as a college athlete has been the importance of cross training. Track and field can be a very demanding sport physically and mentally.  Making it easy for your body to burn out early in the season. 

Generally, every sport can be extremely tough on your body if you practice and play a lot. But even if you don’t practice and play a lot, integrating cross training can help. 

cross training

Why is Cross Training Important?

Injury Recovery

Cross training can be very helpful if you are recovering from any type of injury. It helps your body be able to gain back some of the strength, endurance, and agility in this specific area that’s injured. I know as someone who does a lot of running workouts, injuries are likely to spike up. The cause is usually the stress being put on your feet, ankles, knees, and muscles. Cross training can also help in injury prevention and rehabilitation. 

One of the main reasons injuries get worse is because athletes immediately want to jump back into high intensity workouts when they start to feel better. I am completely guilty of this myself. But I’ve learned that having the option to take it slow and use other forms of aerobic exercises can help you keep up with your fitness and help your body fully recover.

More Success In Your Sport

Besides just being used for injuries, cross training can be beneficial in other ways that eventually lead to greater success in your sport. Cross training can often be confused with lifting weights, stretching, and yoga. While these aspects of your training are necessary for athletes to increase their flexibility, strength, and agility, cross training includes activities that keep up with your fitness. 

Cross training is a really great way to stay in shape during your off season. Athletes cannot constantly train hard in their sport 365 days a year.  This is why doing different physical activities during your so called “time off” can allow your body to recover fully from a long, difficult season. 

Another word you’ll hear a lot after a hard race or practice will be “active recovery”. Cross training is a good way to help you condition your body after resting. Doing workouts that are equal in intensity and endurance can be beneficial to your success. 

Leads to Less Burnout

To avoid having a burnout in your sport is making sure you get enough rest and sleep. When training, it’s important to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night or you’ll begin to experience constant fatigue. 

Another way to avoid burnouts is communicating with your coaches or athletic trainers whether that be about the workout intensity or overtraining. Modifying these areas can be important if you feel like your body is under too much stress and needs rest. 

Finally, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping yourself hydrated will always help your body when you train. Make sure you are drinking enough water and keeping your electrolytes up. This will prevent you from running low on energy. Or even getting a nagging headache for the rest of the day. 

Examples of Cross Training for Fitness:

  • If you’re running a lot, biking or indoor cycling can take the constant stress of your joints and muscles away while keeping your heart rate up.
  • Swimming can be another great way to keep stress off any parts of your body that may be hurting.
  • Using some of the exercise machines found in either your gym or your home like an elliptical, stairmaster, rowing machine, or even a treadmill to walk can be beneficial cross training activities. 
  • If you compete in a sport that doesn’t require much running then jogging can also be a good activity to increase endurance. 

About author Sara Puskar

I am currently a Division I Track and Field athlete at Binghamton University in New York. I’m working towards a BA in Political Science (Concentrating in International Affairs) and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I enjoy creating content for Tik Tok and social media through my internship with our Public Relations Department at college. iSport360 is helping me learn more about social media and marketing while allowing me to create blog posts that surround educating athletes and my personal experiences from youth sport participation, success, and performance. 

About iSport360 Athlete Nutrition posts:

For more posts on playing multiple sports, click here

Learn more or request a demo of our youth sports software that is helping teams improve communication, organization and player development.

July 6, 2022

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

youth lacrosse