Many of us have a passion for different athletics, ranging from yoga, to wind surfing, to aerial arts. Sometimes these activities may feel great mentally and not so good physically. Different sports may push our body to create more compression in various areas while limiting the ability to decompress. The human body is very adaptable and will push to get a range of motion, shape, or speed necessary for the task. Compressing ourselves may hinder the ability to disperse the forces we are putting through our bones and soft tissues. This can lead to further pain or injury.
My own athletic journey over the years has revealed that I feel the best when I perform a variety of activities during the week. Finding a balance that works for everyone is an individual journey. “There is no cookbook” as one of mentors Bill Hartman would say. Finding that balance per say is all trial and error for each person. Typically performing a variety of physical activities is termed Cross-training. Most studies on cross training are regarding various aerobic modalities to decrease running frequency per week. In 2017, Paquette et al found that outdoor cycling and EBIKE cross training may be the most effective cross-training modalities to incorporate for improved high school running performance. In the rehabilitation world, different types of aerobic training can be beneficial as well as strength training. It is also a great supplement to many different athletic endeavors. With female high school runners, strength training was found to increase maximal running performance (Stohanzel et al, 2017). For example, when an injury holds you back, strength training can be tailored to develop the athletic qualities necessary for the sport, while keeping in mind current movement limitations. Many movement demands can be mimicked in a gym setting, in order to work back to what you really want to be doing. Speed, strength, load, and position can be manipulated accordingly. Strength training does not have to be pushing a barbell in a gym. It encompasses everything from laying on the floor doing positional breathing drills, jumping, to rotating, and lifting heavy.
Even after overcoming an injury or pain, I find that consistent strength training to address the movement limitations or strength deficiencies can be a great supplement to your preferred activities. One of the things I strive to do is help tweak that balance and give your body back what it needs. Then, we see how well you are able to perform. Sometimes we may need to bring you back to the point of decreasing muscle tension via positioning. Other times we may need to push things a little further into compression to get the desired performance outcome. The goal is to teeter on the line where you have enough strength to perform and have enough adaptability in reserve to minimize discomfort. Whether you call this strength and conditioning, functional training etc., it doesn’t matter. Taking a Holistic approach to training in my mind is just a way to keep your body resilient to deal with life or more athletic endeavors. Stay consistent, trust the process, and breathe! Keep moving my friends!
Beato M, Maroto-Izquierdo S, Turner AN, Bishop C. Implementing Strength Training Strategies for Injury Prevention in Soccer: Scientific Rationale and Methodological Recommendations. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2021 Mar 1;16(3):456-461. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2020-0862. Epub 2021 Jan 27. PMID: 33503589.
Paquette MR, Peel SA, Smith RE, Temme M, Dwyer JN. The Impact of Different Cross-Training Modalities on Performance and Injury-Related Variables in High School Cross Country Runners. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Jun;32(6):1745-1753. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002042. PMID: 29194186.
Štohanzl M, Baláš J, Draper N. Effects of minimal dose of strength training on running performance in female recreational runners. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 Sep;58(9):1211-1217. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07124-9. Epub 2017 Apr 28. PMID: 28462571.