No Days Off: 5 Cross-Training Workouts You Need to Do This Summer

  • kickboxing

    Peter Gordon/Flickr Creative Commons


    Going into my senior year of college, I spent an entire semester at a boxing/martial arts Dojo nearby and it got me into the best shape. So much so that I considered fighting, until my mom nixed that notion quickly. Moms always win!

    Basketball involves a great deal of endurance, footwork, and core strength for the quick movements and decisions you are forced to make. Not only was it so different than what I was used to, but it was so hard, and fun. Working out and having fun? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sore for days after but it’s hands down one of the best offseason/summertime workout ideas I can recommend because the benefits are enormous and unless you’re diving into the ring it doesn’t get too risky which will please your college coaches.

    image via Peter Gordon/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • Running Hills

    Steffi Sorensen

    Hill sprinting

    If you live anywhere near a field or a park that has some sort of hill or incline, learn to take advantage of it. If the majority of what you’re working with is flat, stadiums of some sort are also outrageously beneficial as well. Most sports, specifically basketball, require a strong lower body, and endurance within your lower half to push through the later stretches of a game.

    Hills are a tough cardiovascular challenge but more importantly you’re doing them outside. The conditions are not ideal. It’s hot. You work up a good sweat and you’re not confined to four walls of a gym. Once your body actually acclimates to the incline sprint or stadiums, build up the number you do, change how long you rest in-between or even harder, I’ve begun to turn hill sprints into hill suicides. No days off, right?

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  • Beach workout

    Erik Nomm/Flickr Creative Commons

    Beach workouts

    When I think of some of my harder workouts, I go back to the days of doing workouts in a sand pit, on the beach, or anything involving running in sand. That way when you run on the court, your feet will feel lighter and it will improve your speed and conditioning. Finishing it up with swimming in the ocean, or a pool, is a total full body and great core workout. I recommend UA compression shorts and sports bra to train in while outdoors that keep you cool and take the grit of any environment.

    image via Erik Nomm/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • Steffi Sorensen

    Sled Push

    I currently train at a gym with a lot of former and current athletes who compete or competed at the highest level. You know the one toy in that bad boy that’s always occupied? The sled prowler. Everyone knows it’s awful and hard and yet we all surround it and are eager to give it a go. As one former athlete and current trainer told me just the other day, “This thing is everything!” You can insert the sled push in the beginning of a workout, in the middle, or as a finisher. I usually like to save the best for last.

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  • Steffi Sorensen

    Heavy tire work

    When I turned 25, I asked my parents for a tire for my birthday. No, I’m serious. I really wanted one. BUT now they are everywhere. A lot of gyms carry them, or they are free at junkyards. I’ve seen a lot of collegiate teams also use tires for strength training purposes as well, including my alma mater, the University of Florida. I suggest flipping the tire for a certain amount of time with no rest, or for reps. Once you have the hang of it, you can stand in the tire, pick it up, and walk with it. (Easier said than done.) This trains your core, your grip. (Remember, you can better your handles with a strong grip.) Any of these are great and allow you to use this piece of equipment and turn it into a multi-movement and functional exercise. (Check out my 25th b-day gift. Thanks, dad.)

    Weight tire
    Lifting tires
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  • kickboxing
  • Running Hills
  • Beach workout

Hope everyone’s enjoying their summer. Today, I want to to switch it up and take a break from hoops, and focus on things that don’t involve draining threes and running cone drills but could still be beneficial to your overall game.

For starters, something I highly recommend to high school athletes–and keep in mind this is purely my opinion–is to utilize your high school’s various sports teams. Don’t be afraid to play other sports that you are good at or interested in. Channeling your competitive spirit in different outlets keeps your mind and body engaged year-round. I played three sports in high school, and it helped me lead a tremendously balanced life. I’m not recommending these specific sports but you get the idea.

I played golf in the fall, and this sport did wonders for my mental strength. Anyone play golf? Yeah, you hook a shot into the woods, lose your ball, and you can’t just toss your club like Happy Gilmore. You have to re-group and come back and stay focused. Sure, I still attended open gyms for hoops but golf had my attention and once basketball season came around I was refreshed and mentally stronger.

After hoops season wrapped up, I transitioned to tennis. Tennis helped my footwork tremendously in regards to translating to the hardwood. Again, I would break away from basketball for a bit and enjoyed having fun and also again the mental challenge of playing a game that is truly mono y mono, so that when the pressure rises on the basketball court, you recognize that feeling and you’re prepared. You can have the confidence to step up and be a leader because you’ve done it before.

Once you make it to college, it is much harder to be a dual athlete at that level. If you’re a college athlete you are locked into your sport for long durations. So when summer hits, that’s when it’s beneficial to step out of your comfort zone and try different things to stay in shape and stay motivated. Here are a few of my absolute favorite cross-training exercises that will spark whatever summer workouts you’re doing now and kick them into another gear. I suggest these five because I’ve either done ’em, still do ’em, or swear by ’em. Happy training and go out and kick some butt.

Follow Steffi on Twitter @steffisorensen

image via Erik Nomm/Flickr Creative Commons