Why cyclists should crosstrain!

Cyclists need to crosstrain but cyclists want to ride. Knowing the why might help motivate you to incorporate new routines like strength, core stability and mobility so that you do more than just your favorite sport every day. But is it worth your time & energy?

I am obviously a big believer in the power of cross-training. My bias is that most of my C2C Training clients and our community here at WCC are adult endurance athletes with busy lives. I get that sport specificity is key and agree but, at least in my experience, we risk long-term benefits and consistency and injury by not cross-training.

Cross-training keeps you motivated, helps you avoid or rehab an injury, can help increase your total training time/load/capacity, and help you thrive in poor weather (we all know what is coming!). There is a BIG list below that expands on more of the reasons why:

  1. WEATHER - Ever noticed that when you are chatting with other WCCers that the weather is about 80% of the conversation? There has already been a lot of discussion on the forum about group rides “virtually” to avoid the dark, cold, snow, ice, etc. that comes with winter. To limit the amount of time spent pedaling on a trainer we can cross-train and have a bit more fun, perhaps illicit other beneficial training adaptations, and, in many cases, avoid overuse injury by having phases of training with less ‘goal-sport’ time. For example, being able to run as a cyclist lets you keep training in poor weather when cycling might be really crummy (or even dangerous!)

  2. Time Availability – Busy adult athletes have about 8 hours to train. If you can squeeze in some additional workouts perhaps first thing in the morning or at lunch you can stretch that available time. Having a small home gym or perhaps making use of a gym at work for a 15-30 minute workout 3-5 times a week. You do NOT need to spend hours at a gym!

  3. Avoid Overuse-injury & Burnout – A runner might ride a bike; a cyclist might go for a run; nordic skiing is another option (when there is snow) to keep your training load high with a much lower chance of overuse injury. Having a few sports you can rotate through lets you adjust for different ‘niggles’ you might feel but keep your fitness stable or progressing. If you can mix up your routine and provide yourself some options and avoid really crummy (or dangerous) weather you might be able to stick with your sport longer. So it’s like pacing your enthusiasm for training for a sport by doing some other stuff.

  4. Rehab an Injury – When injuries do happen the worry is that you will lose all those gains you made in fitness but crosstraining helps keep your training load (e.g. fitness) might be fairly stable or at least any declines are minimized.

  5. Built-in Peak – This is a neat common-sense idea that you might not consider. You cross-train in your base/general preparation when your important events are further away. This added cross-train time helps you train more. Then as you get more specific and want to do more event-specific training (e.g. more intensity, less volume) you do LESS cross-training. So cross-training is like ‘easy’ periodization.

  6. Specific Adaptations – The simplest, most straight-forward form of adaptation would be adding in a weight-bearing movement for cyclists including some running, walking, or strength training to help bone-mass or add muscle mass.

  7. Community – It never hurts to meet more like-minded people by doing different activities.

  8. Ego – no judging or basis for comparison when in a new sport. Embrace the beginner’s mindset and just move.

  9. Try Something New – You might find you enjoy, or that you are more proficient in another sport. This isn’t just for kids. As we age, as we move to new locations and as our time available shifts the sports we prefer can change. So cross-training helps you find new sports to enjoy!

Feeling motivated and inspired yet? Maybe you have more questions - feel free to message me. Better still, join the crew who have already been reaping the benefits of crosstraining movement with C2C’s online Zoom workouts. Feel free to ask about the classes - reply to this post or email me at kellyellisbikes@gmail.com


Great post!

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