An Olympic cycling medalist like Wout Van Aert likes to race track and field in the off-season. Richie Port likes to swim. While, a super class like Primoz Roglic, came from skiing; a sport that the legendary Greg LeMond was also a fan of. So let’s talk a bit about cross-training and its benefits in cycling.
What is cross training?
Although cross training is often understood to mean strength work in a gym, we can really talk about cross training with any sport or activity that replaces or complements cycling.
Any exercise outside of cycling that helps you be a better athlete, either because it improves your aerobic capacity or because it strengthens your core, is cross-training.
What are the benefits of cross-training in cycling?
With the arrival of the “off-season” comes the ideal time to try different things and look for opportunities to improve beyond your primary sport.
However, you don’t have to limit cross-training to the pre-season. You can take advantage of it to recover from injury, rest after a demanding period or just improve your fitness throughout the year. Undoubtedly, engaging in other activities creates some interesting benefits for your cycling life as well.
Cross training is a great way to kick start after an injury or to pick up the pace again after a holiday. Not the most specific example, but Belgian Wout Van Aert even uses his breaks between seasons to compete in track and field events.
It is also common to see the occasional running activity on Wout’s Strava account throughout the year. Among other things, cross-training is a way to activate different muscle groups, complement cycling training, strengthen the rest of the body and avoid minor injuries.
Another benefit of cross-training is its ability to help you stay in shape when you’re away from home. Finding other activities when you’re traveling is a great way to keep your fitness from slipping.
Reduce the risk of injury
Practicing other sports such as running or swimming corrects numerous muscular imbalances. Thanks to this, minor aches and pains and some injuries can be greatly reduced.
Strength training plays an important role here. Although it is a key element in the performance of every athlete, it is often forgotten. A good strength workout will not only reduce the chances of injury, but will help your performance on two wheels.
Develop some skills
Do you know what’s ideal to help a road cyclist who descends badly? Mountain biking. You don’t always have to try completely different sports. Some other variants of cycling can have a very positive effect on our performance.
Let’s talk about cyclocross. Wout van Aert, Tom Pidcock or Mathieu van der Poel are some of the current big names in road cycling who have come from the mud.
Cyclocross prepares you to ride in mud or demanding weather, in addition to improving your power and handling skills. Its demanding circuits and numerous pace changes can make you a much more complete cyclist.
Improving our capabilities
Sports such as swimming or cross-country skiing subject your body to a complete workout involving all muscle groups. These disciplines are ideal to complement cycling training because they improve strength and increase endurance and lung capacity.
In addition, some studies report that regular swimming reduces the risk of death from heart disease by up to 41%.
Improve mobility and flexibility
As cyclists, we spend numerous hours in a fixed position performing repetitive movements. This generates some negative consequences, such as limiting our mobility and flexibility.
Practicing yoga or pilates can help improve your strength and range of motion, in addition to your general well-being and your ability to concentrate.
At BKOOL, we believe other disciplines can bring great benefits to your performance as a cyclist and athlete.