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The ability of cross training shoes to perform equally well in sports, like weight training, volleyball and tennis, have made cross training shoes tremendously popular. In addition, continuous technological innovation in products, like Adidas, New Balance and Nike cross trainers, has created interest in this incredibly desirable shoe.
A couple of summers ago, Tony Gonzalez, the Pro Bowl tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, had the best training camp of his career. He didn't show up. His salary details weren't quite right, so instead, he played basketball for the Miami Heat's summer-league team. He ended his holdout by signing a cool $31 million contract, and returned to K.C. just 1 week before the start of the season. His stats for the first game: five catches for 87 yards and one touchdown.
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Not bad for a guy who skipped the entire preseason. "Playing basketball prepared me athletically for football without burning me out," says Gonzalez, who credits the cross-training with also helping him develop soft hands and tremendous jumping ability, attributes that have made him the AFC's premier tight end.
Cross-training simply makes sense, whether you're involved in a specific sport or you're lifting in a gym for strength and weight loss. It adds variety to your workout, which will help you beat boredom -- the number-one psycho-killer of workout motivation. And it forces you to exercise muscle fibers you probably leave out of your regular routine. All of which can give you a boost, especially when you hit a plateau. The key to getting Gonzalez-like results: Choose your cross-training activities wisely. "Combining the wrong sports will sabotage your training goals," warns Alex Koch, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise researcher at Truman State University.
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We've made it easy for you with our simple three-step process, designed to help you find the ideal cross-training matches for your main sport. It'll ensure that you're always ready to go -- even when your contract isn't.
Step 1: Pick Your Goal of the Month
Rank your top three fitness goals -- losing 10 pounds of fat, improving your vertical jump, and increasing your length off the tee, for instance -- in order of their importance to you. Then, for 4 weeks, concentrate only on goal number one. When the month is up, switch to the next goal in line. When you've completed three 4-week cycles, rerank your goals and repeat the process. If you plan effectively, you can double-dip to meet succeeding goals.
Your goal: Gain muscle and lose fat.
"Physiologically, it's very difficult to add significant amounts of muscle and lose significant amounts of fat at the same time," says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness Training in Santa Clarita, California. Instead, Cosgrove recommends bulking up first. Then work on losing fat, which will be easier with the added muscle.
Your goal: Improve at two or more sports.
If you want to improve in a multisport event such as the triathlon, put more time into your weakest event for a 4-week training cycle. In the next cycle, switch your focus to your next-weakest event. Train your weakest link about 75 percent of the time, and split the rest of your time equally between the other two events, says Cosgrove.
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