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| Jeremy Kethley |

Recently there has been a large increase in the amount of interest in cross-training workouts and fitness. Crossfit, Camp Gladiator, P90X, Insanity, and many other high intensity workouts have become the top fitness choices among many athletes and non-athletes alike. Cross-training is defined as a training program to improve competitive performance in a specific sport by training in a variety of sports. There are many advantages to these alternative workout regimes.  Cross-training effects do not exceed those of sport specific training, however for the general population, it can be extremely beneficial for overall fitness and weight loss.

Cross-training by the general population should be performed slowly and carefully.  Everyone should listen to their body and no their limits.  When performed correctly, cross-training can be used to help eliminate injury caused by overtraining for a specific sport. With sport specific training, it is important to monitor increases in intensity and frequency to avoid overuse injuries, such as stress fractures and different types of tendinitis or inflammation of the tendons. Overuse injuries are often caused by an attempt to improve rapidly. Cross-training can allow continued improvement in fitness, while giving the tendons, bones, and joints used most during sport specific training a break. Cross-training can also be a realistic supplement post injury, during the rehabilitation phase.

Unfortunately, if you are looking to improve in a specific sport, cross-training does not provide the most effective workout. There is a principle of training called specificity. This principle states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect. In other words, running does not make you a better swimmer, and swimming does not make you a better soccer player. However, different forms of training may help to improve endurance and fitness level.

Many exercises in the different workouts mentioned above are full body movements. It is important to refrain from using momentum, which increases the opportunity for injuries. With all types of cross-training, it is important to remember to learn and practice correct form while integrating core stabilization. When starting any kind of exercise, it is normal to feel muscle soreness. However, soreness is different from pain.  Soreness will peak in intensity about 24 hours after training and is expected to diminish within 2-3 days.  If you sustain an injury while exercising, be sure to see your doctor to discuss treatment. Physical therapists are able to use different modalities and other forms of physical activies to treat many kinds of injuries to muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones.  Have fun and get moving!