As a youth athlete, getting better at your sport is easy-just play your sport more. As a masters athlete, the million dollar question becomes how do you improve in your sport when you don’t have as much time to dedicate to it? When you are a beginner, improvements are quickly gained. As a veteran, improvement comes much slower, but add in the effects of aging and it might seem all but impossible.

Great news is that it is possible to improve at your sport, without playing your sport. Now I don’t mean you don’t ever have to play it, that would be a little ridiculous. What we’re talking about is being able to improve without spending any more time doing your sport than you already do.

If you want to get better as an older adult/senior fitness enthusiast you must cross-train. There is no getting around it. Adding in smart conditioning and strength will help you reduce your risk of injuries from over-use. Cross-training doesn’t mean that you just need to hit the gym every once in awhile. True cross-training should factor in several variables.

Let’s cover two of the easiest things we recommend our older adult personal training clients do to maximize their time on the trail and improve in your sport.

Variables In Cross-Training

Aerobic demands

Is your sport an endurance, steady-state event? Or is it more stop-start, fast-slow movements? You’ll want to stress this system similarly to your sport first of all. The next step would be to stress it in different ways that might be harder.

The rationale behind this is that when you go to your sport (ie skiing, mountain biking, tennis, etc) those demands are far less than what you are ‘used to’ and are therefore able to play at a higher level.

Movement Matching

If you want to improve at your sport, mimicking your sport is an easy place to start. This is where the idea of ‘functional training’ was born. Unfortunately, functional training grew like a cancer and blew out of proportion, but the original premise is good.

Let’s say you are a mountain biker. What are the motions of your sport? For pedaling you have a similar motion to lunging. So adding in some lunging or other single leg strength training can be really beneficial. Also when you pedal, your cadence changes, so you can change the tempo of your lunges to match your sport.


  1. It is possible to get better at your sport without spending more time doing it.
  2. True cross-training for sport needs to be thought out.
  3. Aerobic conditioning is one of the best places to start to improve your performance.
  4. Movement matching (both in similar motions and similar speeds) will boost performance.

Get Your Performance Dialed In This Season

Schedule a complimentary sport performance assessment today. We assess your current abilities with your sport demands and come up with the areas you need to address to most to get better faster and stay injury-free.

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