Friday, September 25, 2009

Why Should you X-Train?

If you're a road rider and you followed an Annual Training Plan for the 2009 season, and you started this training plan in December of 2008- you should be ready for a rest. If you're not, you either didn't race/train much in 2009 or your riding volume and/or intensity was not that high. If you are ready for a rest, you're probably not thinking much about the bike but are thinking about other activities to maintain your current fitness level. The idea behind off-season training is to integrate OTHER activities with your cycling skills- activities that will increase your Endurance, Speed and Power. What are some good x-training exercises? These exercises come readily to mind: weight training, mountain biking, running, x-country skiing (if/when we get snow), inline skating, etc. Why? Because they work the same muscles that riding a road bike do...albeit in a slightly different way..and they also condition the cardio-respiratory system.

But, what about specificity of training? You know, the concept that implies that sport movements and training are specific to one sport and do NOT improve performance in another sport. Well that's true (the concept), but a lot of the x-training exercises that I mentioned above will actually work the same muscles that road cycling does. For example, inline skating will develop the Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes just like cycling..granted, not in an identical way..but close enough. And, although the demands of mountain biking may NOT be similar to the demands of century ride on a road bike..mountain biking will improve your handling skills on the road bike.

Also, when weight training for cycling strength, the weight training program that I prescribe (for the athletes I coach) uses independent leg action on EVERY excercise to simulate the pedal stroke of the bike- as much as possible And, as I already told you in a former blog, mountain biking is a's a great workout..and isn't that what it's all about- getting in shape and having fun? I think so.

If you want to join me this Fall/Winter (in the Doylestown area) for a little x-training, I'll be mountain biking, inline skating (used to do this with my dog) and x-country skiing (snow required- may have to drive to the pocono mtns.) Here's a great article on the benefits of inline skating by Dr. Carl Foster:

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