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Cross Training for Injury Prevention: A Physiotherapist’s Recommendations

Muscle and strain injuries are a common concern for people in all walks of life. Whether you’re an athlete who relies on your body, a worker who does a lot of heavy lifting or even if you’re stuck behind a desk for most of the day, your body becomes practised at specific motions and skills.

If you put your body through a lot of repetitive work you are at a higher risk of strains and injuries when you try to use your muscles in other ways.  This is where cross-training can be used for injury prevention. By stretching out your muscles regularly in different ways, you can build your resilience and avoid sprains. 

For personalised advice, contact our team at NDPE today.

Cross Training for Injury Prevention


What is Cross Training? 

Cross-training is the combination of different activities and exercises to stretch and build muscles in new ways. These exercises can be a combination of any drills or sports but are often a mix of swimming, running or cycling, as they activate different muscle groups.

When you undergo the same exercises too often, you could be limiting your adaptability and increasing your risk of overstraining your muscles. Cross-training helps your body adjust to different exercises, ensuring that your entire body is trained and that less-used muscles are not neglected.

This can offer some much-needed relief to the areas you usually exercise, reducing the risk of overstraining them. Likewise, by using different muscle groups you’ll build flexibility so that those muscles are ready for use.


How Cross-Training Prevents Injuries 

Cross-training has a range of benefits for the body depending on your exercise regime. Below we’ve listed just a few of the benefits cross-training can have and how they can help prevent injuries.


By alternating exercises, you build strength in different muscles. If you’re an athlete who uses a particular set of muscles a lot, such as quadriceps and hamstrings for running, your upper body strength could be neglected. 

This could result in a weakened upper body and reduce your internal balance as your muscles are pulled out of alignment. By exercising different areas your strength is more evenly distributed, improving or preventing the degradation of your balance.


Cross-training improves your overall flexibility as your body becomes used to adapting to different exercises. You will regularly stretch out and exercise muscle groups in different ways, increasing the elasticity of your muscles and improving your flexibility. 

By training your body this way, you are less likely to sprain or injure yourself. Building your flexibility, reduces the risk of your body reacting negatively to new tasks. If your focus is on running, but you cross-train with weight lifting, your body will be more prepared for heavy lifting tasks.

Preventing Overstrain

Though you may want to prioritise drills that help with your preferred sport or work, you could be putting your body at risk by not branching out. Exercising the same group of muscles over and over again can quickly lead to overstrain or muscle tearing.

Cross-training lets you exercise in different areas so that the muscle groups you prioritise have a chance to rest and recover. This allows you to continue building strength and resilience while reducing the risk of overwork or injuries that could prevent you from exercising for longer.


Determining Your Cross-training Regime

The perfect cross-training regime is designed based on your unique exercise goals and needs. Depending on your preferred sport, you want to plan exercises that activate the same muscle groups in different ways. This allows your body to recover from overstrain while continuing to build strength in your desired areas.

A balanced cross-training regime may be spread over a few days, focusing on different goals each day such as flexibility, strength or aerobics. While cycling, running and swimming are often used in cross-training regimes, any physical activity counts as long as it uses different muscle groups.


Why Cross-training Matters 

Cross-training is an excellent way to condition your body so that it is ready for the different sports or activities you pursue. By allowing your body relief from overexertion and improving your adaptability you can make your body more resilient against injuries, as well as more likely to recover faster.

If you experience strained or pulled muscles often, contact us at NDPE. Our services offer quality physiotherapy that can help you recover from injuries as well as offer advice to help you prevent future or re-injury.



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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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