We hate to say it, but autumn’s really not far off, and that means getting back into gear and back into the gym. But rather than doing the same old exercises as your pre-season training, why not try something different?
Trying out some new styles of exercise, ones that you wouldn’t normally associate with your favourite sport or fitness routine, will help you work on new muscles, build new strengths and even achieve better results. Interested? Give one of these alternative training techniques a go this autumn…
Great for: Football
When you think of yoga, you may think of green smoothie-slurping, super bendy people doing headstands like it’s absolutely no sweat. Contrary to that, yoga is a great workout for those of all ages, all fitness abilities and can improve performance for all sports.
The benefits of doing yoga include improved flexibility, balance, posture and bone structure, as well as increased muscle strength and blood circulation. Meditation, which is often practiced in yoga classes, can also help you sleep better and reduce stress.
If you play football, yoga is a great way to warm up and cool down. Start with easy poses, like these here, to stretch out and soothe muscles. If you’re after something a little more intense, head to your local Fitness First and try out one of our many yoga classes, which include Ashtanga, hot yoga, Iyengar, Kripalu and Vinyasa Flow. You’ll soon get to know the different poses and positions, and will be able to recreate them elsewhere.
Good for: Tennis
Ballates, know as Ballet Fit at Fitness First, is a popular new combination of ballet barre, pilates and yoga, and it’s designed to help you achieve a long, lean and toned body.
For racquet sports, such as tennis and squash, ballates will strengthen key areas like the arms and legs, but all without adding the bulk that you can often occur with weight training. After a few ballates classes, you’ll notice improved posture, better breathing and increased flexibility – you’ll be able to stretch out and reach that wide-angle shot without breaking a sweat!
Good for: Cycling
Swimming is great exercise in general, but it’s particularly beneficial for cyclists. Not only does it help build a strong core, but it also lengthens your hip flexors, and increases your range of motion and breathing capacity. It combines strength training and cardio in one easy and simple workout.
Swimming is also recommended if you’re suffering from or recovering from injuries. Swimming’s not a weight-bearing activity as the buoyancy of the water supports your body. So if you’re having to go easy on cycling or high intensity workouts because of an injury, swimming means that you can still keep on top of your exercise regime.
Good for: Running
Running is quite a specialised sport, which means it can be hard for experienced runners to transition to other workouts. Running puts a focus on the legs, so runners’ bodies aren’t very well adapted to lifting weights, swimming or racquet sports.
If you’re a runner looking to up your workout, you should first try a HIIT class. HIIT (high intensity interval training, that is) is a popular workout, which alternates periods of intense anaerobic exercises with less intense recovery periods. Dynamic and explosive, HIIT gets your heart pumping, speeds up your metabolism and effectively burns fat. If you’re a runner, a bit of HIIT promises to get you out of the blocks faster, help pacing over long distances and recover quickly from sprints.