For those interested in a comprehensive and intensive training program, cross-training is a fantastic option. A Krav Maga training program can fit into your cross-training regimen and become a key part of your journey toward self-improvement, self-defense, and empowerment. A combination of combatives, athletic training, and mind-centering is the key to turning a new leaf in your life and developing a new, healthier self. Seek the balance that your body naturally desires.  

What’s the Point of Cross-Training?

runners on beach

Cross-training began as a way to improve overall athletic performance. It’s a method that many professional athletes began using during the off-season to stay in shape and push their skills to a higher level. But the idea is slightly counter-intuitive, as you would think that an athlete should simply continue to practice their sport year-round. As the cliche goes, practice makes perfect, right?

Standard practice and training would be to simply drill your muscles in the same way over and over to improve your ability to perform in a certain sport, but cross-training works in a different way. The idea here is to use and exercise the muscle groups that you don’t naturally use. The underlying belief is that the body is a unified organism. Every action, motion, and thought naturally affects every other part of the body. Thus, by working muscle groups that may seem irrelevant to the sport you’re playing, you are actually raising your overall performance, even if it’s counter-intuitive. If the body is just one, interconnected entity, then every form of exercise should push you towards good health.

Who is Cross-Training Good For?

As long as you have a functional body and strong desire, cross-training can be good for you. While it has the reputation of being rather hardcore, with a routine tailored towards professionals, the truth is that anyone can safely cross-train. The implication of intensity is there because so many professional athletes use cross-training to an extreme extent. However, the intensity of the workout is ultimately, entirely up to you. The root of the Krav Maga training program is simply in the concept of training a wide variety of muscle groups with the aim of strengthening the entire body.

The reason so many athletes cross-train is because the practice is an excellent way to prevent sports injuries. Sports like soccer, basketball, and football require athletes to make lots of sharp, jagged cuts while running and often the contact between athletes can place the body in strange and awkward position, leading to injury. Cross-training can be a strong defense against these types of injuries because they’re essentially a way of preparing for the unexpected. This idea is similar to a chain being only as strong as its weakest link. Think of cross-training as strengthening every link in the chain of the body, no matter how irrelevant some of the links may seem.

What Does Cross-Training Do For the Body?

yoga practitioner on rock

A Krav Maga training program and other cross-training techniques go a long way toward injury prevention, along with injury recovery. Many sports can cause a lot of wear and tear on the joints and muscles. This is where cross-training can be helpful— it enhances sturdiness in neglected areas. For instance, if you’re a rower, you may be tempted to work solely on arm strength, since this is clearly the primary motion of the sport.

In this instance, cross-training provides a reminder that in order to use your arm strength, your body has to first be grounded and leveraged against something. It turns out that leg strength to brace the bottom of the boat is essential in promoting the effectiveness of the arms. Strength training is far more effective as a holistic venture, rather than to beef up isolated muscle groups. The philosophy that guides the concept of liberal arts— building a comprehensive intelligence before diving into a specialized field— also applies to cross-training. You must first build the base before building a tower.

Learning To Run

female running at sunset

Running may seem like one of the most natural functions of a human being. If you go to a playground, you’ll likely see children running around endlessly, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. But the fact is, running, especially long distances, can wreak havoc on the body if you’re not trained for it. A recent Danish study followed 930 new runners for a year to check their progress. During that year, 254 of the participants sustained some sort of running injury. These injuries were defined as soft tissue or bone injuries of the legs or back that affected the runner's training for at least a week. Another Australian survey showed that 70% of casual and competitive runners sustain at least one running injury per year.

Naturally, older people, heavier people, and those with a history of leg injuries are more at risk for running injuries. However, anyone can easily get hurt running, no matter how fit, should they not use proper technique. Don’t think that just because you’re generally fit that you’re not in danger of getting injured.  

That’s not to say that running can’t be very beneficial to your workout program. Olympian Nick Symmonds recommends running programs that focus upon speed, strength, and explosiveness. Many of these factors are difficult to come by in other forms of exercise. This is what makes a Krav Maga training program such a great physical fitness supplement: it’s a self-defense system that focuses on these exact aspects through mental acuity and physical quickness.

For the Love of Cycling

biker on road

Cycling can serve as an exercise alternative to running to reduce impact injuries. There’s far less landing impact on the joints, yet you still increase your respiration, which strengthens your core. Cycling can be a fantastic sport to throw in your exercise regimen mix, to accompany running, cross-training, and Krav Maga.

One relevant combination of self-defense methods and cycling is practicing how to roll in the event of a bike crash. There are full classes you can take on how to maneuver your body to fall safely in a cycling tumble. The training incorporates techniques from Judo (“the gentle way”), where you practice dispersing your weight and energy as you hit the ground, to avoid direct impact on your joints and bones.

Swimming

swimming pool

Hitting the water has long been a popular way to exercise without impact. Most leg rehab training programs highly recommend swimming in the early stages of recovery. The benefit that water provides is a natural resistance against which your body must work in order to stay afloat, but there’s no impact whatsoever, so it’s very rare for someone to get injured while swimming. That’s why it’s an excellent supplement to a Krav Maga training program.

However, just because swimming is used as a light rehab method doesn’t mean that it can’t also be used for strength training. Doing laps while meticulously employing a variety of swimming styles is actually very challenging and exhausting. Even if you’re simply treading water, you’ll quickly see that swimming is a great workout.

Olympic Trials competitor Joe Pascale started his athletic journey playing football, basketball, and lacrosse. At first, he started dipping into the pool for some light aerobic exercise, but he soon found that he was falling in love with the sport. His competitive edge was sharpened when he met some swimmers on the local team, who were all “Olympians in the making,” as Pascale noted. In no time, he came to view swimming as the ultimate competitor’s battle.

A Case for Martial Arts Training for Football

football player scoring touchdown

Football is one of the most dangerous and contact-heavy sports. Players are under tons of pressure ranging from intense media coverage, enormous contracts, and elaborate training regiments. A few players have been known to experiment with unconventional training programs, such as ballet. Although the two sports differ drastically in most respects, they both share the requirement of balance and grace.

Another fantastic way to develop and deepen football skills is through a  Krav Maga training program and other martial arts systems. A prime advantage of this kind of training is increased body awareness and conditioning. Much like football and ballet, Krav Maga is a practice centered around focus and balance, but with an end goal of long-term, sustainable health. Many athletes are aware of the benefits of martial arts conditioning. In fact, football stars David Akers, A.J. Hawk, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson incorporate martial arts training into their regimens to supplement their workouts throughout the season.

Martial arts training helps draw the focus to total body control. Tackling a player with your entire body is far safer than hitting with only the legs or the arms. Fragmented tackling is one of the primary causes of football injuries. A Krav Maga training program is a great way to incorporate all the necessary grace and power to perform at a high level on the football field.

Zen and the Art of Golf

woman playing golf

Legendary golfers Paul Bertholy and Phil Mickelson both practiced Tae Kwon Do during their prime years. Golf and martial arts both aim to put you in a centered place where you can find focus, balance, and access a relaxed, but powerful core. Golf requires such fine motor skills, strong drive, and intense focus that it’s no wonder so many golfers seek serenity by practicing Krav Maga.

The Power of Krav Maga

One of Krav Maga’s most recent and hottest innovations is Cardio Con. This program is all about maximizing your power and gaining strength. Your workouts will rely on no machines, but simply your own bodyweight. With the help of simple items like plyo boxes, medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, pull-up bars, and rings, you can completely retool your body and mind.

Forget those complicated workout programs that gyms promote involving complex machines and heavy, unwieldy weightlifting. Self-defense classes and Krav Maga bodybuilding is a matter of pitting the body against itself and letting you fight against your own weight. Your extra pounds will lose the battle, as you simultaneously tone your muscles, improve your form, and strengthen your heart.

Another popular program is the Mobility program, which is an elegant combination of yoga and physical therapy. This program is designed for those who need to recharge, or re-strengthen their body’s weak points. Imagine improving your speed of movement, soothing back pains, and increasing your range of motion— all painlessly. The practice involves concentration on breathing and stretching. Slow and deliberate activities are the key to gradually rebuilding muscle and increasing flexibility.

The Complete Krav Maga Package

woman in yoga pose

All told, the Krav Maga training program boils down to one word: balance. Without balance, all your hard work may amount to nothing. Krav Maga self-defense is about making training into a lifestyle. The goal is to combine many different practices to benefit of your entire self: body and mind. Using self-defense training to cross train cycling, swimming, running, and other sports will help you find physical and mental balance. Cross training adds a key element to your regimen and helps you maintain form and strength.

If you look in the mirror and feel ashamed or self-conscious, it’s time for a change. Inspire your whole mind and body with the proven holistic practice of Krav Maga. Strength and conditioning isn’t a matter of maneuvering around complicated machines and continuously stacking weights until they crush you. Your body is already built with all the tools it needs to improve and hone itself. All you need is a little direction and support to maximize your efforts.

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