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Suffering from Burnout? Athletic Benefits of Cross Training

December 4, 2012 | Z Altug

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Athletes are typically in much better shape than the general population. Day in and day out, training is part of their routine. However, even if you're conditioned to excel in your sport, constantly performing the same type of exercises is a shortcut to injury or mental burnout.

Repeating the same movements over a long period of time trains your body to become extremely efficient at those movements; but it reduces your level of conditioning. This is because rather than continuing to improve, you simply maintain. How do you avoid this? By cross training—using different sports, activities or training techniques. Cross training can actually improve your performance in your sport. (See How Cross-Training Makes Athletes Better.)

When cross training, you perform exercises and activities different from your normal routine. But you can easily tailor cross training to your sport-specific needs. Remember, though, that as an athlete you must continue to regularly train critical game skills—like shooting, throwing or passing. Just don't get stale. Employ cross training for fresh ways to condition for cardiovascular fitness and strength.

Athletic Benefits of Cross Training

  • Helps prevent overuse injuries and overtraining by challenging different muscles
  • Avoids muscle imbalances by challenging the body in various movement patterns
  • Prevents mental burnout by varying workouts and activities
  • Helps different areas of the body recover faster
  • You become a more well-rounded athlete by engaging in different sports, movements and exercises

Good Exercises for Cross Training

  • Cardiovascular: running, swimming, cycling, rowing, jumping rope, skating, skiing, dancing
  • Strength Training: calisthenics (Push-Ups, Crunches and Pull-Ups), free weights, machines, bands
  • Flexibility: stretching, yoga, tai chi
  • Speed, agility, and balance drills
  • Circuit training, sprinting, plyometrics
  • Other forms of skill conditioning

Sample Cross Training Program

  • Monday - walk or run for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Tuesday - weight training exercises for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Wednesday - bike for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Thursday - weight training using different movements for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Friday - boxing for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Saturday - yoga for 30 to 60 minutes
  • Sunday - walk or run for 30 to 60 minutes
Topics: WORKOUT PLAN
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
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