5 Cross-training Movements to Train Better

It is a common knowledge that Cross-training helps you in strengthening your performance and increasing your stamina which helps you in your training greatly. So if you are a newbie and looking for some cross training activities to incorporate into your routine or just looking for some really effective cross-training activities, then we have the perfect list for you:

1. Yoga

This is a no-brainer really. Yoga helps your body become more flexible and strengthens your body muscles which can prove to be very useful while running or performing other sports. Usually, when you train for any event, you work mostly on a fixed set of muscles which leaves your other unused muscles tight and vulnerable. However, make sure you have the right non-slip yoga mat for your workouts.

A sudden twist or stretch and you could find yourself in pain on the big day. Incorporating Yoga in your training will condition your body and prevent such injuries from occurring. Another benefit of Yoga is that it helps in your breathing which in turn prevents fatigue and tiredness, so now you can run for hours without tiring by just including yoga in your training.


2. Swimming

This activity proves very useful as a cardio activity. It will make your muscles work and help greatly in the strengthening of your upper body. The best part about this activity is that you can still train your upper body muscles while not applying much pressure on your leg muscles thereby giving them a chance to recover from their previous hardcore training session.

Another benefit of swimming is that it increases your stamina greatly which could help you last longer on the field than was possible before taking up this activity.

3. Kayaking

One of the most inventive cross-training activities would be kayaking where you use your upper body strength mostly and give your legs the much-needed rest.

Kayaking is advantageous as a cross training activity because it gives you the much-needed change from your training scenario making you enjoy and work your upper body muscles at the same time. Kayaking isn’t easy and requires a lot of arm strength hence it helps in toning your arms and making your muscles more powerful if included in your training at regular intervals.


4. Use a Cross Trainer

A cross trainer is the perfect workout machine in case you’re not in the mood to go out and want the perfect cross training session from home itself. One reason the cross trainer or an elliptical trainer is so effective is that it’s of the few cardio machines that workouts both, your upper and lower body muscles.

These machines come with adjustable resistance and incline to bump it up when needed. These are available in various price ranges and can be folded too for easy storage when not in use.

5. Martial Arts

This is one of the activities which can help you in strengthening your lower body muscles which can prove to be useful in most of the activities. Performing martial arts can improve your balance and make sure that you don’t trip or injure yourself during the event.

Apart from providing balance, martial arts help in increasing your endurance level due to which you are able to train harder and longer.

Now that you know a few cross training activities which sound like a little fun too, why don’t you go ahead and include these in your fitness training and see the result for yourself?

Martial Arts

Brief Introduction to Minimalist Running

Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews – Origins of Minimalist Running

Since the 1970′s when the padded running shoe was introduced into the market, people bought into it like it was going out of style. From that point on there was a big transition into what we now call the conventional style of running shoes.

Until just a few years ago, there was no other kind of running shoe available and everyone just got used to running and walking with extra padding on their feet. The common understanding was that this was the best kind of shoe for their feet and would offer the best protection for feet and legs.

Recently, however, this idea has been challenged with emerging evidence on the benefits of minimalist running or barefoot running.

The minimalist running concept was also brought to the public’s attention by Chris Mcdougall’s novel Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen where Mcdougall actually spent some time in Mexico with the Tarahumara Indian tribe and recorded his experiences with their running style.

While in Mexico, he studied the running style of this tribe who were able to run quickly for hundreds of kilometers with nothing but a pair of sandals.

Benefits of using Minimalist Running Shoes

One of the most common questions we hear at minimalist running shoes reviews regards minimalist running shoes and how they would really help you physically while at the same time reduce the possibility of injury.

Minimalist running shoes are specifically designed with a reduced top covering, a less amount of arch support and little to no heel-to-toe drop, it helps the runner shift to a fore or mid-foot landing, instead of landing on the heel which is usually very painful and more prone to a foot injury.

Minimalist running shoes are lightweight, flexible with a large toe box which allows your toes to spread upon landing thus developing a more efficient step and shorter running pace which reduces the effect of impact.

The minimalist running approach strengthens your foot muscle tissues and your helps to shape your figure as your entire body becomes gradually conditioned to the new running style.

Research shows that by helping you to imitate the gait of a barefoot sprinter who softly lands on his mid or forefoot, minimalist running shoes will enhance your physical running form, reduce injuries and ultimately improve your running ability faster and more effectively.


Minimalist Running Shoes as a Revolutionary Idea

If you really think about, padded shoes were only recently introduced into the market in the past few decades. From the beginning of time, man has always worn minimal footwear. Our ancestors had always worn minimal footwear or sandals.

Primitive man hundreds of years ago ran, walked, hunted, etc. with little to nothing on their feet for protection, yet their running abilities were pretty similar to the Tarahumara Indians.

Once the padded shoes were introduced into the market, people seemed to believe that this was the best solution for optimal running and reduced injuries.

This change to padded shoes created a new gait or motion in running which was much different from the natural gait of the human body and in reality, made the runner more prone to injury.

The concept behind minimalist running is based on the “revolutionary” idea that “less shoe is better” as demonstrated by the Tarahumara Indians. Evidence now shows that minimalist running shoes or barefoot running shoes actually benefit our feet, along with our overall physical health and well-being.

Although Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews recommends trying the transition to the minimalist style for greater benefits please make sure you have checked with your doctor to ensure you have no other physical limitations that would prevent you from making the change. You can find out more information Here about studies on this.

Injuries with Minimalist Running Shoes?


Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews Finds Less Injury with Minimalist Shoes

Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews researched running-related injuries using minimalist running shoes vs. conventional running shoes and found some very interesting, though not completely surprising information.

Traditionally, we have known that wearing cushioned shoes for running or other athletic activities were always the best choice for reduced impact and stress on the foot and heel.

The latest scientific evidence though has discovered quite the opposite in that a more minimalist approach works better with man’s physiological stride and has been most beneficial in reducing running related injuries.

The minimalist running approach has become quite popular for experienced runners and novices alike. More efficient effort and decreased stress on the rear foot and heel are changing the way people are looking at the minimalist running style.

Minimalist Running Style Revolutionary

Studies show that the more natural, shorter strides used in minimalist running help the brain to make a better evaluation of striking and leaving the ground as we run. The brain receives better feedback from the muscles through the nervous system in a way that reduces the stress on the bones, muscles, joints, and tendons.

The minimalist running motion reduces the stress on the heel and tendons as we land through the mid-foot and fore foot which is the natural motion of barefoot running without a cushion. The padded heel in most running shoes causes undue stress on the rear portion of the foot and can result in greater injuries.

Minimalist runners worldwide have been experiencing an awakening to this more natural form of running. Due to the conventional running style, most runners have been using over the years, their body muscles, joints have become conditioned to this style.

Their brainwave feedback is different as they must undergo some re-conditioning to this new style of running thus it is best to transition to the minimalist running style gradually.

One way to do this is to alternate between minimalist shoes and conventional shoes until you can finally adapt to the change.

Another way to transition is by selecting hybrid versions of the minimalist running shoes such a Merrell Trailglove or New Balance Minimus.

These shoes have a slightly thicker heel and little but more cushion on the insole which makes for a great transition shoe allowing your muscles to better adapt to the changes.

We do not insist on making the change to the minimalist style as many people may have previous conditions with their feet or legs that would not allow them to make such a change.

Here at minimalist running shoe reviews, we can only make the suggestion to try the minimalist approach based on our latest findings but you should always consult your physician before making any sudden changes to your running style.

What Do We Mean By Minimalist Running Shoes?


Minimalist Running Shoes Almost Barefoot

The idea of minimalist running shoes was inspired by the book Born To Run by Christopher Mcdougall who spent time in Mexico with the Tarahumara Indians studying their natural ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. He discovered that the shorter strides used by the Indians when running concentrated more on the forefoot and midfoot while reducing contact with the heel and its associated pain and injury.

Any style of minimalist footwear is designed to help deliver a more natural running experience. Minimalist footwear has developed a widespread following in the past couple of years due to at least two primary reasons:

Minimalist running shoe design helps you to shift contact to your forefoot and midfoot (away from the heel) when running or walking.

Minimalist footwear involves shorter, quicker strides that can help create better propulsion and natural shock absorption.

So basically, minimalist footwear is designed to help promote athletic as well as day-to-day activities in the most natural form possible, like living barefoot and natural the way nature intended.

Minimalist Running Shoes Wins Hands Down Over Conventional Footwear

In our Minimalist running shoes reviews, we discovered some important differences from conventional footwear. Minimalist footwear promotes the concept of running barefoot. Running barefoot helps you come down on your forefoot and midfoot instead of your heel, as you would experience with the longer strides you take with conventional footwear.

This results in a better and more efficient energy transfer, subsequently reducing the impact on your feet, ankles, and knees while strengthening foot muscles. Seeing is believing and for most people, all it takes is a trial run to convince them this was the better choice for their feet and their entire body overall.

Minimalist running shoes not only offer physical benefits to your entire lower and upper body but they also leave you feeling completely natural and “closer to the Earth” as most Tree Huggers might say. Many customers claim they get the feeling of touching the rocks and ground with their bare feet is like running barefoot as a child once again.

Minimalist running footwear is something many people still discuss as well as the topic of whether minimalist running is of any real benefit or whether it is just a lot of hype.

Here at Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews, we realize that making these changes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change your ways, but from many other comments and discussions of people that have tried the minimalist shoes, the footwear has helped them have a better outlook overall on their daily life.

Getting Started in Minimalist Shoes

At minimalist running shoe reviews, almost everyone we asked about their experience with minimalist footwear, gave the response that you should give yourself some time to break into this new type of footwear as it is quite a departure from the standard, conventional footwear we are all used to.

All footwear gives you some cushion or space between you and the ground. Once you put on the minimalist footwear, you are suddenly transported to another dimension you could say, but a very pleasant dimension, to a different place and time.

Most of us have grown up buying athletic shoes with conventional footwear design for arch support and cushion between the soles of our feet and the ground. Minimalist footwear design changes the old concept completely and brings us closer to nature and the way it was intended for our bodies to move.

As with anything else, there is a period of adjustment required until your body can conform to the changes so you need to “wear them in” as they say for a little while to make the proper changes. As you become more comfortable with the different fit and feel, you will begin working the footwear into your workout routine gradually. Stretch properly to limber up your muscles and eventually, your speed and endurance will improve over time.

Which brand and style of minimalist footwear is right for you? Check out all our selections and choose from our most popular designs to see which one best matches your needs.

Switching to Minimalist Running Shoes


Switching to Minimalist Running Shoes – Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews

Minimalist Running Shoe Reviews asks the question: If you’re an avid runner or even a novice how do you know whether you should be using conventional running shoes or barefoot running shoes?

Most likely you will need to try both types of running shoes to make a better decision. Almost everyone who runs using barefoot running shoes have run with conventional running shoes and continues to run with them alternating between the two.

For the novice runner, when running trails or very difficult terrain, conventional running shoes will offer better support with the extra cushion and padding.

Traditional running shoes (Montrail Rockridge and Saucony Exodus for example) provide excellent support and stability for very rocky terrain and may be a better choice for novice runners. Another important factor is that with long distance running, feet and ankles become fatigued, thereby affecting your balance and stride and your ability to absorb and dissipate the shock associated with it.

Studies show, however, that there is less injury over time associated with minimalist running than with conventional running. Conventional running puts more pressure on the heel and ankle than minimalist running allowing the runner to use the midfoot and forefoot more, relieving the pressure from the heel and ankle. This motion of using the mid and forefoot more than the heel ultimately reduces the overall impact on the feet and lower body thus reducing injury.

Runners who have conditioned their legs and feet with the barefoot running approach can withstand more stress and are able to travel on more difficult surfaces and indeed will fare better in the long run.

Tips On Switching To Minimalist Running Shoes

Below are some tips to help you break in slowly with barefoot running shoes:

  • For the first 2-3 weeks run ONLY 10% of your typical mileage
  • For the first month NEVER run 2 consecutive days in a row
  • After the first 2-3 weeks add 10-20% of your typical mileage to your run continuing to add another 10% every 2 weeks
  • If you develop any excessive muscle soreness in your feet or your lower legs, you should reset back to your original 10% you started with and work from there again

Minimalist running shoe reviews currently recommends the Merrell Trail Glove running shoes and the Saucony Kinvara as solid transition shoes.

Similarly, New Balance MX Minimus is an excellent choice as well and can be used for gym workouts or circuit training.

For women, we recommend the Terra Plana as an excellent choice which has the look and feels of a slipper and is very stylish. At minimalist running shoe reviews, we encourage all runners to at least give minimalist running shoes a try. Start out on level surfaces at shorter distances as mentioned earlier and gradually transition to more difficult terrain such as running trails.

If you find yourself running more comfortably with the minimalist running shoes, you can start using them for long distance running while transitioning to more difficult terrain such as running trails. For most people barefoot running usually requires a transition period. If you begin to feel uncomfortable or any persistent pain, you can alternate with conventional running shoes and change back again later once you’re feeling more comfortable.

Although minimalist running shoe reviews recommends trying the barefoot running shoes as an alternate running method, we certainly will not insist that you stay with any particular brand or style if discomfort persists and always consult with your doctor if there are any medical issues you might have before embarking on this new experience.