Importance of Cross Training for Athletes: Abbey Wills

Posted 6/5/2015 in Physical Therapy Corner | 2154 view(s) | 0 comment(s)

The Importance of Cross Training
Abbey Wills, DPT, ART-Cert
Performing Arts Medicine Specialist

No matter what level you are, we all deserve to feel our best and maximize our outcomes while keeping things fun and interesting. Cross training is a great way to accomplish both This term refers to performing a program that involves several different forms of exercise in addition to normal practice or workout routine. It is a way to diversify your workouts to enjoy maximum benefits while helping to prevent injury. A good example of this is strength training and biking to enhance power and performance for runners.
Potential benefits of integrating additional exercises are numerous. It can help to decrease overall risk of injury due to overuse or repetitive training routines and decrease burnout. Strength training can enhance weight loss and helps to improve form with dominant sport. Flexibility programs help to improve alignment, decrease compensations and relieve muscular/joint stress. Cross training helps to limit stress on commonly used muscle groups in one sport or activity. It can also allow you to continue fitness and training during times of injury when participation is not possible or appropriate.
Exercise options can be tailored to the needs of each athlete based on their dominant activities. To help with building a program, it is important to recognize alternative areas that are not commonly performed with individual training. Some examples are:
 • Speed, balance and agility drills
 • Yoga and/or flexibility programs • Pilates classes/core strength ie planks
 • Aerobic conditioning (non dominant) such as biking, elliptical, stairs, hiking,swimming, deep water running (see Fluid Running article), running/Alter G, walking
 • Upper and lower body strengthening using free weights and/or cybex machines
 • Kickboxing
 • Inline skating
 • Many more
So, lets all get out there and make a commitment to ourselves to be as well rounded and smart as possible with our training As with anything, moderation is key. When training for one specific race, event or sport, set aside time to utilize alternate muscle groups (and try something new). Hey, you may even discover a new passion in the process!

Abbey Wills is a Doctoral PT and one of Achieve's Performing Arts Medicine Physical Therapists. Abbey has an extensive competitive dance and musical theater background including minoring in Dance at Ithaca College. She has been privileged to work with many Broadway in Chicago tours including "Book of Mormon", "Motown the Musical", "Amazing Grace", and many more. Check out for more information on Abbey and all of our Clinical staff.


No comments yet.

Leave a Comments