Cross Training for Greater Fitness for You and Your Dog
Another of the habits that are common to fit people (and their dogs) is the habit of cross training.
Cross training means that the athlete (you or your dog) engages in a variety of exercise protocols. To be most effective, the different protocols won’t overlap in terms of the muscles or systems that they train. Some examples include: mixing running with swimming or running with strength and core training.
Benefits if Cross Training with your Dog
There are many benefits to cross training. These include:
Reducing injury risk from repetitive use. Repetitive use injury is very common in people and their athletic dogs. Common with runners, repetitive use injuries can occur when the body is stressed in the same way over long periods of time. Dogs can fall prey to this type of injury as well. Even if your dog loves to run, it pays to mix in strength, core and balance training on alternate days.
Building a more well-rounded and athletic body. Exercising in different ways, by definition, will work different muscles and tax different neurological systems in the body. This will translate into a more athletic and better balanced athlete in the long run. For us humans, a great example is using Pilates to augment a running program. For our dogs, using balance and core training to augment running or agility is also a smart way to cross train.
Improving overall fitness. By working out in different ways, you are able to train harder in each session and thus, build and maintain peak fitness levels. Using the running analogy again, running everyday with your dog will lead to both muscular and mental fatigue. This can result in lower levels of enthusiasm and ability to perform, which can lead to sub-par performance. Conversely, mixing up the workouts can ensure that the muscles that worked the hardest last time are able to rest, while other muscles (and systems) that had it relatively easy last time can push hard in today’s workout.
By mixing in strength, cardio (endurance), and stretching and mobility training, you can ensure a well-rounded and functional outcome. Each one of these modalities are available to both you and your dog if you know how. For some great examples of cross training exercise that you can do with your dog, search the site or use category = fitness. Exercises like the Labby Limbo, the Touch Drill, and use of the K9 FitVest (for adding a strength component) can all help your dog stay fit and injury free, as part of a smart and balanced workout routine.
Keep yourself and your dog fit and healthy in the long run by leveraging the benefits of cross training and make sure to keep your workouts varied as much as possible. Your bodies will thank you for it!Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!