If i assume that (hopefully correctly!) you are an endurance rider of some sort (e.g., road, track, XC, etc) then X training will have little or zero benefit to your cycling *performance*. Furthermore, depending on the mode of X training (e.g., weight/resistance training) it may even have a negative impact on your *cycling performance*.<br /><br />Ric
What?! For developing core strength, weight-training is extremely beneficial. Strong abs are necessary for sprinting but nothing you do on a bike will develop your abs. Check out Friel's Bible for specific groups to work on.<br /><br />A large number of cyclists use skate-skiing as a cross training tool in the off-season to develop upperbody strength and endurance; it gives the mind a break, too. I highly recommend mixing it up before you start again with the next season's specific training.<br /><br />My two cents,<br /><br />chris<br />ne iowa
I'm from the new school that believes that X-training can have a beneficial impact on your cycling. Altho I do agree with Ric that massive amounts of weight/resistance training probably won't improve your cycling "performance", I do believe that light weight sessions every so often can only do you good. Also, strengthning muscles (without drastically increasing muscle mass, of course) like your arms, chest, back and core muscles (abs) will make you a better "toned" cyclist. I'm not advocating that a bigger chest or stronger back will enable you to shave 3 minutes off your best 30mile TT, but what I believe is that an overall "toned" body "lasts longer".<br />Swimming, skiing (If you live near snow covered mountains) and rollerblading are all examples of alternative training methods you can use during the off season.
while there may be some very slight issues of core stability and most likely in untrained or just beginning cyclists, i don't see how core stability will affect cycling performance for the vast majority of cyclists. <br /><br />*if* strong abs are required for sprinting, but cycling itself doesn't recruit these muscles then how would stronger abs help?<br /><br />it's very hard to transfer a strength gain made using one motion to some other activity. this is a rule of specificity. adaptations take place at specific joint angles and velocities. also, most strength gains, are actually increases in neuromuscular ability especially over the first six weeks. one classic example of this is over a 6-wk period you might be able to double what you can lift in (e.g.) a bench press, but when asked to do some other resistance exercise there is no change in pre weight training strength.<br /><br />weight training itself, may affect performance at a cellular level, as new contractile proteins are built, there will be a dilution of mitochondria, which are required and are a possibly a rate limiting mechanism in aerobic/endurance exercise.<br /><br />for some athletes, some X training may help prevent burnout or staleness, but then so might changing training routines or routes on your bike.<br /><br />a search of the primary peer reviewed literature will show that weight training (or increased) does not increase ability in cyclists.<br /><br />personally, i'll continue to cycle all year round, whether that's outdoors, or indoors in awful weather!<br /><br />specificity, specificity, specificity!
I do accept that for elite or supremely fit cyclists, x-training is questionable. But for those that are unfit or marginally fit, x-training can be beneficial, as it can improve 'general' fitness (however, it won't improve specific cycling fitness or performance). It generally is conceded that if a cyclist wants to become maximally fit then cycling, and only cycling, is the best activity that will produce such a state, as training effects are specific in cardiorespiratory and muscle adaptation (as Ric has pointed out).<br /><br />The general consensus here then is that if you are a recreational cyclist, cycling for fun or just to stay fit, then yes, x-training can help your general fitness levels. If you are a serious or elite cyclist, then no, x-training will not help you much.<br />Whatya say, Ric?
Vo2, yes, i'm in agreement with that. of course, it might depend how you define "serious", "recreational" (etc) cyclists. i feel that if you race then X training is of little benefit.<br /><br />off to X train now... that's a run down the stairs to get my coffee ;D<br /><br />Ric
[quote author=Vo2 link=board=19;threadid=2640;start=0#22627 date=1037261484]<br />I do accept that for elite or supremely fit cyclists, x-training is questionable. But for those that are unfit or marginally fit, x-training can be beneficial, as it can improve 'general' fitness (however, it won't improve specific cycling fitness or performance). It generally is conceded that if a cyclist wants to become maximally fit then cycling, and only cycling, is the best activity that will produce such a state, as training effects are specific in cardiorespiratory and muscle adaptation (as Ric has pointed out).<br /><br />The general consensus here then is that if you are a recreational cyclist, cycling for fun or just to stay fit, then yes, x-training can help your general fitness levels. If you are a serious or elite cyclist, then no, x-training will not help you much.<br />Whatya say, Ric?<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Indeed, x-training can - and probably will - improve your general fitness level, but so does specif cycling training. The main problem I have with x-training is that it is usually done to improve max power (weight training), while the people doing it don't have their bodies conditioned enough to be at their cycling top. Seriously working on your base fitness going for long, low impact rides (outdoors or indoors) in the winter will be much more beneficial to your cycling performance than x-training, although I must admit that the real results from working on your base only come after years of training.<br /><br />This training is also what puts the elite in a whole other category than us, mere mortals, mainly by postponing lactic acid buildup.<br /><br />An intersting example of this is the world championship win in Lugano by Musseeuw. During the first half of the race he was always starting the hill in the front of the peloton, at the end he was at the back of the pack and during the climbing he made sure that he never went anaerobic. In the end he was the freshest one of the pack, even though it wasn't his favourite 'parcours'<br /><br />Niek
Junior Steve, <br /><br />There are some interesting points made above, idealy the more specific the exercise to cycling the better it is at enhancing your cycling performance. Cycling is therefore the best form of training, and other forms of cycling MTB, BMX, Track, Speedway, etc. being the best form of X Training.<br /><br />Being a young person, its a good idea to x-train so that you get away from all the stuffy cycling types and build all round fitness. In the off season, its good to have a break and play football, go to the gym and 'enjoy your cycling'.<br /><br />If all you do is cycle Steve, you'll develope bad posture, poor coordination (and be a bad dancer forever!), etc. etc.<br /><br />Time will come for you to focus exclusivly on cycling (when you turn senior). If you want to know what people your age are doing on the World Class Start plan, visit www.thisiscycling.org.uk and contact your local talent unit. As far as I'm aware the people on that program are not 'just cycling'.
Junior Steve<br /><br />Your question was "Is cross training good or bad".<br /><br />I would say it is good. Even if it does not improve your cycling performance it will still make you a fitter more rounded athlete.<br /><br />There is generally a fear out there there that with a bit of weight training you will pick up vast ammounts of muscle mass and look like Arnold Schwarzneger. Believe me that simply is not going to happen. <br /><br />Firstly it takes many hours in the gym to gain the sort of muscle mass you see in body builders. And of course time is a commodity in short supply with most cyclists <br />Secondly people that do high volumes of indurance training symply do not pick up muscle mass easily .<br /><br />At your age you should try many different sports even if it id cycling that you love! ;D<br /><br />Leon