Usually as cyclists, when we think cross training, we tend to picture, weight lifting, or a little running, maybe some swimming, 'hey, maybe I'll do a tri!' Or sometimes a roadie will think, 'maybe I should do some trail work.' While all of the above are terribly good ideas, real crosstraining is a well thought out exercise regimen designed to balance your musculature. In his book, Cross Training for Endurance Athletes, Olympic Coach Raul Guisado takes crosstraining beyond the typical forums discussing the strength and flexibility benefits of some form of alternative exercise, and he developes a program specifically designed to increase trunk stability, joint stability, and overall power and agility.
The approach is quite simple really. Coach Guisado first educates the reader regarding skeletal and muscular interaction with a focus upon the mechanics and physics of sports activities. From this basis he expands the discussion to illuminate the need for activities specifically planned to balance the strength, stability, and agility of the musculature, and the speed of the nervous system for the opposing muscle groups for your sport specific needs.
Once this concept is grasped, it becomes very simple to follow the discussion and to design an exercise regimen suitable for balancing your strong muscles and nervous system response by implementing the exercise examples he suggests.
His discussion of strength building is not oriented to building bulk, but rather developing efficient muscle use and core stability. I would guess a good analogy would be the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Strong enough to remain intact while leaning the weakness was in the foundation, thus the tower leans. So it is with trunk stability. All power ultimately is translated to motive force through the body's core muscles, thus the foundation or launch platform must be strong and yet flexible to absorb punishment. And through a stable platform, energy can be delivered explosively with little loss.
This book will teach you how to achieve this balance. Laid out logically, and progressing upon a stabile pyramid of blocks of knowledge, the program is easy to follow. The illustrations are excellent, and clear, but what is really outstanding are the illustrative exercise photos. Often when viewing exercise photos and texts, I require several reads before I can really figure out what is going on. For the most part the photos in this book virtually obviate the need for text explanations. I give the production staff a huge, 'Well Done!"
Most books of this nature are not really designed to be read cover to cover, but rather as an instruction manual read as aspects of the regimen are implemented. For that reason, if read as a book, cover to cover, the points the author stresses at the beginning of each chapter can become redundant. But viewed as introductions to each phase of training approached in order separately, these redundancies transform into positive re-enforcement introductions to new exercise skills.
This book will become a valuable reference in the months ahead.