Pres Girls Conquer Cross-Training

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Pres Girls Conquer Cross-Training

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Bella Anderson Enni, Reporter

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Growing up, we all experienced our fair share of sprained ankles, scraped knees, and bruised elbows from playing outside.  But as some of us grew older, our injuries due to outdoor sports and extracurricular activities became more serious and internal such as fractures, dislocations and tears.

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of sports injuries in teens.  The Cleveland Clinic estimates that forty percent of all pediatric injuries are sports related.  With this number significantly high, researchers have set out to establish a mode of prevention for all athletic injuries in teens and adults.

The result has been a method known as cross-training.  Also known as interval training, this form of exercise differs greatly from the popular Crossfit workout.  The New York Times defined cross-training as participating in a second sport in order to improve performance and avoid injury.  In other words, the best way for athletes to increase their power and flexibility is to alternate between activities and duration of exercises.  For example, you could lift weights on days when you are not running or switch between cycling and swimming.

Many people currently participate in cross-training in their everyday workouts, even though they are unaware that this is an official form of exercise.  Senior Kiely Fagundes has played varsity soccer at Presentation for the past two years.  Although previously unfamiliar with the term cross-training, Fagundes says each soccer practice consists of alternating between core workouts, drill and passing exercises, and sprints.

Junior Rikki Maldonado was also not aware that she took part in this revolutionary method of working out.  A member of the Pres varsity basketball team since her sophomore year, Maldonado says, “When I am not in season, I do swim, lift weights, and run outside of basketball.”

In contrast, Junior Taylor Farley is quite knowledgeable about cross-training.  She says that she was educated by her orthopedic and physical therapists after sustaining an injury playing soccer. Farley experienced severe injuries when she tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament, or ACL, both of her meniscuses, and dislocated her kneecap.

Because cross-training helps to prevent injuries once an impairment has already occurred, Farley’s team of doctors and therapists recommended it as a form of physical therapy that targets opposing muscles groups.  “Although I play soccer my doctor had me do some cross-training by swimming and cycling to recover,” Farley says. “It helped work a different set of muscles than I’m used to. At first it was a lot harder than I expected and was really sore after these new workouts.”

Essentially, cross-training strengthens more than just the muscle necessary for the sport in which you excel.  Therefore, when the body becomes fatigued, it has more muscles to rely on so that injuries do not occur.

In addition to strengthening the muscles immediately surrounding the injury, physical therapists will also recommend abdominal exercises.  By targeting the core, overall balance is improved, which has a significant impact on further injury prevention.  Likewise, zero-impact workouts such as swimming, cycling, and zero-gravity treadmills are popular because they are an excellent source of cardio exercises that limit the strain on injured bodies.

Besides the physical therapy benefits, the rotation of activities and their lengths have also been shown to increase the motivation of athletes.  A change in routine keeps both the mind and body active as well as healthy.  But Sophomore athlete Mia Bellafronto says, “I think that cross-training is generally beneficial if you know your limits and how much your body can handle. It can be a downfall if you are pushing yourself too hard and weakening your body. There has to be some time for rest.”

At Presentation, it is difficult for athletes to cross-train because of the demanding physical and time commitments that their sports require.  However, if athletes need to maintain their physical shapes and skill levels during off-seasons, they can strengthen opposing muscle groups alongside playing for a club or exercising in the same specific sport they play at school.  In general, Presentation already does an excellent job training their athletes.  But by including more cross-training workouts into practices, student athletes could excel even further while protecting their bodies from harm.

All are welcome to join strength and conditioning coach Shaun Eagen and his weight-training regimen.  For those who want to begin improving their performance, increase their strength, and lessen their risk for injury by simply training across a variety of sports, the Presentation weight room schedule for the semester is always available online at presentationhs.org.  Go to http://www.presentationhs.org/data/files/gallery/ContentGallery/PHS_WeightRoomSchedule.pdf for December’s calendar.

 

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