Thursday, August 5, 2010

How Important is Cardiovascular Cross-Training? Part 2 by Michael George

Here is the second in a series of training blog posts by celebrity trainer and Harbinger friend Michael George. Whenever possible, we like to bring you some of the top fitness experts in the country, like Michael, who trains celebrities, athletes and just regular folks, too!

Let us know what you think!

Cardiovascular Cross training: Is It Important?
by Michael George, BS, NASM, ACE, AFAA

The body is very much like a machine. Repetitive use of muscles in the same activity with the same amount of resistance at the same speed wears down joints and strains muscles where the greatest amount of stress is located.

Let’s take jogging for instance. Think about it. What are you doing when you participate in resistance activity? Contract and release, right? Jogging uses the quadriceps and gluteus maximus primarily. The gluteus maximus is a muscle, just like your biceps and deltoids. The gluteus will get harder and more toned over time however, every muscle needs recuperation time.

Joggers tend to develop the infamous “runner’s knee,” a sharp pain located directly under or surrounding the patella. This pain is typically the result of inflammation of muscle tissue due to overuse and over-pronation. This inflammation and pain can become chronic or develop into chondromalacia if not attended to by refraining from running for a period of time. Other running injuries resulting from overuse include shin splints, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. The musculoskeletal system needs time to recuperate from the mechanical stress of running.

As a runner myself, I have first-hand experience with most of these stress-related injuries and the frustration and pain associated with them. Over the years, I have learned to use cross-training as a way of preventing injuries before they happen without stopping my cardio training. By participating in a variety of activities I decrease down-time due to injury and pain. Running then becomes much more enjoyable and less of a mechanical necessity.


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