Cycling is one of the biggest sports in the world, and tonnes of people do it regularly. Since you’re here, you’re probably one of them, and you want to do it better than ever before. One of the best ways to make sure that happens is to cross train and make sure that your cycling performance is pushed to the limit by doing other exercises using the same muscles differently. That’s what cross training is, in essence.
To do it well though, of course, the first place to start is to find out the best ways to do it. There are always tonnes of options when it comes to cross training, and, to make sure you’re hitting the right muscles in the best ways, it never hurts to get some outside guidance.
We’re here to walk you through some of the best choices you have so that you can choose for yourself and let your cycling performance skyrocket.
Let’s do it
Strength Cross Training Exercises
A great place to start with cross training for any sport is by making the muscles you use stronger. Generally speaking, you need to be making the most of the muscles you’ll be using in the sport by hitting those muscles specifically. That makes them stronger without sacrificing mobility. The best way to do that is with a little weight training.
One of the best exercises you can do in general is squats, and that’s no different for cross training for cycling either. It means that you’re hitting most of the muscles in your lower body at the same time. With that many different variations out there, you can target your weaknesses specifically to make sure you’re powering through. They’re a big hitter but remember not to sacrifice mobility with big weights.
Another awesome compound leg exercise you can do to make your cycling even better is to do lunges. They help to increase mobility as well as build muscle, and with the multiple ways to can adapt it to suit you again, it’s an awesome way to build up your weaker leg muscles.
Kettlebell swings are an absolute game-changer when it comes to lower body exercising, since they’re a mix between a tonne of other things. They have all of the benefits that deadlifts do, but they hit even more muscles on top of them. Add a pass in there, and you have some serious core work going on as well. That’s a great way to help you become a better-rounded cyclist.
It’s easy to go all quads in your cycling cross training, but it’s pivotal you have great hamstring work in the long term too. This is one of the best hamstring exercises you could ask for (here’s the list), and it uses no weight either which means your flexibility and joints will have an easier ride as well. It’s a great way to boost your functional strength with a low impact.
The last thing we’ll look at to improve your leg strength is yoga (and yes, it does build muscle). Although it’s not the best way to boost your strength, it still does something that a lot of other exercises just can’t. Your flexibility will improve massively as well as your core strength in particular, and when you mix up your training like this, it helps in a number of ways. Even your recovery after a long ride will be improved, and this is an excellent way to make the most of your rest days.
Taking things away from strength training, it’s always a good idea to replace cardio with cardio and try other avenues to boost your performance, especially when it comes to cross training for cycling. There aren’t many exercises out there that get you moving in the same kind of way, but that’s not always a bad thing. Switching things up entirely has a world of other benefits, and using them all is rarely a bad thing.
The first port of call when it comes to cardio is pretty much always going to be running. It’s a great full body exercise that uses all of the same muscles that cycling does but from a totally different angle. It’s always smart to remember that it’s a higher impact workout, so be careful with your knees. As a short term solution at least, you’ll quickly see the difference.
Stepping is a bit of a wildcard considering the difference in intensity from other workouts, but it can still be a big help with improving your cycling. The difference mostly comes from the lower impact and of course, the added incline. Stepping is like walking uphill for the whole workout. That shifts the focus to other parts of your legs and allows you to get just as hard a workout as the explosive movements of running, without all of that impact. It’s a great middle-ground.
Finally, a fantastic form of cardio no matter what you are cross training for has to be swimming. It’s another of those hybrid exercises that has something for everyone. The resistance of the water means you get some resistance training in there, and the fluidity and physics of water exercise mean your joints are taking it easy too. It’s a great way to relax while still training harder than ever.
All of these are great options for cycling cross training, and it’s a good idea to mix and match all of them to see which is the most beneficial to you personally. Everyone is different, and so is your riding, so make sure you do what’s best for your body.
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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.