Suffering from Burnout? Athletic Benefits of Cross Training | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Suffering from Burnout? Athletic Benefits of Cross Training

December 4, 2012 | Z Altug

Must See Training Videos

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
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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Workout Lessons Every Athlete Must Learn

5 Workout Lessons Every Athlete Needs To Learn I'm going to keep it real with you guys. You are not going to find any muscle building, nutrition,...

31 Pro Athletes Workouts That Will Inspire You in 2015

Introducing Youth to Off-Ice Hockey Training

Kaitlin Sather Nielsen Does It All

Above and Beyond: STACK Velocity Sports Performance San Diego


Kelly Clark: Strong Enough to Fly

7 Training Tips from Professional Triathlete Linsey Corbin

The Comeback Kid: How Scott Kazmir Resurrected His MLB Career

31 Fitness Experts You Should Follow in 2015

The Training Behind Super Bowl XLIX

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?

What's Up With Elite NBA Players Losing Weight?

Sanya Richards-Ross Looking Sharp in the Gym, Training for Rio

Hanley Ramirez's Explosive Sled Row

Katie Eberling: One Athlete, Many Sports

Athlete Assessment: Tips to Get You Started

Preparation Nation: Hoover Buccaneers Basketball

5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes Beginners Make

11 Strategies for Getting More Done During Your Workouts

Make Your Training Weaknesses Your New Strengths

WATCH: Darnell Dockett's Explosive Sled Row with Training Mask

How to Stay Safe When Exercising in Cold Weather

The Easiest Fixes for 4 Common Exercises

Make the Most of Your Pre-season Training

6 Training Ideas Shaping the Future of Fitness


Find Your Hidden Weaknesses

Jump Higher and Faster With Transitional Med Ball Box Jumps

GHD Sit-Up: The Worst CrossFit Exercise?

Greene's Lantern: Riding With 'Soul'

WATCH: Jon 'Bones' Jones's Brutal Uphill Sprints

Antonio Brown Built His Ridiculous Footwork With Pilates

Training Trash Bin: Dumbbell Side Bends

Training With Performance Pyramids

Why You Need to Follow the F.I.T.T. Principle

WATCH: 3 Power Moves for the Diamond from Edwin Encarnaci

Breaking Down Eddie Lacy's Untacklable Performance

The 4-Day Deloading Plan for Recovery

Why CrossFit Is Perfect for Me

6 Things the Best Athletes Have in Common

The Training Formula Behind Drew Brees's 5 TD Passes

Inside the Athlete Factory

WATCH: D.J. Campbell's Net Wall Explosive Pull-Up

WATCH: Clay Matthews Move the Earth in New Muscle Milk Ad