Mistakes You’re {probably} Making in Your Cross Training — PART ONE

*Mistake is a harsh word. I know you’re not sitting on a bench lacing up your skates and thinking, “How can I possibly make myself less effective when I play roller derby?

The problem is, though, that often what we do with the best of intentions holds us back from actually becoming stronger and meeting our goals.

These are by no means hard and fast rules, but they’re something for you to think about as you start planning out your cross training for the new season.

You subscribe to the “No Pain, No Gain” mentality.

No Pain, No Gain

A workout isn’t a good one unless you can’t lift your arms high enough to wash your hair in the shower the next morning. You can’t stop your HIIT routine until you’ve nearly (or actually) vomited. An exercise isn’t over until you’re shaking with exertion. Sound familiar?

The basics of muscle acquisition require a certain degree of stress to your muscles in order for them to grow — whether you want to grow size, strength, or power. But too much stress requires a lot of energy for your body to repair and takes a longer time to fix. This can open you up to fatigue, immune weakness, and overuse injuries. It’s okay to be sore, it’s not okay to be paralyzed.

This is also known as the “If a little is good, a lot must be better” mentality.

You don’t count your practices as exercise.

A lot of us overlook practice as working out. Why?

We go to practice for 2 hours (or so). We sweat, we work hard, we breathe heavily. Occasionally we’re sore afterward and we’re slamming back water during. That sounds like a workout to me.

This mindset probably comes from the fact that derby has just become “something we do”. We’ve adapted to practice, it’s part of our weekly routine and it doesn’t feel hard anymore. This is rooted further in the “no pain, no gain” idea, but it’s time to recognize that practices are WORK.

Your cardio is {wiggidy, wiggidy} whack, yo.

Derby skaters are a little less prone to believing all the cardio myths that plague the average population, but skaters have their own weird cardio hangups. I know a skater that practices 3 to 4 times a week and cross trains 5 to 6 times a week. She participates in bouts of HIIT (high intensity interval training) that last 45+ minutes multiple times a week. She’s convinced that huge amounts of HIIT will increase her cardio endurance for jamming.

Sound familiar?

This is still in the family of the “if a little is good, a lot must be better” and “no pain, no gain” mentalities that so many skaters (and other amateur athletes) get caught up in. Giving your body little to no time to rest — especially between high intensity bouts of exercise — can lead to fatigue and performance decreases.

And remember, stamina in roller derby isn’t all about cardio endurance. Your muscles are a big part of the equation too. That doesn’t mean cardio is bad for you or that you shouldn’t do it, but you should be cognizant of how much cardio you’re doing and whether {or not} it’s actually helping you meet your goals.

How do you address these issues while still cross training? How do you create an effective cross training program for yourself without falling into these traps? That’s where Intelligent Cross Training comes in.

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About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.