Cross training is a way to optimize your athletic performance. I am a road biker, but if the only workouts I ever did were road biking, I would probably get bored after a short time. Also, only doing one type of athletic activity will make certain muscles more powerful than others. Cross training will balance all your muscles and make you a better overall athlete.
Here are some of the fitness activities I participate in when I'm not out riding my road bike.
Spinning Class at the Gym
I like spinning classes for a number of reasons. Spinning is a great way to get in a killer workout, in a short amount of time. Most spinning classes last from between 45 minutes and one hour. I like night time spinning classes, especially during the winter, when daylight hours become shorter, and there isn't as much time to get in a road bike ride.
Indoor Bike Trainer
We have a bike trainer at our house that allows us to turn any of our bikes into a stationery bike. Riding the trainer at home is not as much fun as a spinning class, as working out on the trainer is a solo activity, unlike spinning classes. I have a TV/DVD in the room where I setup the trainer, so I can put a movie on, or my favorite music CD so I'm not totally bored.
Some year I'd like to save up my pennies for a set of rollers. They are a bit tricky to learn how to ride, but give you a workout almost like a road ride. And my husband and I have seen quite a few cyclists using rollers to warm up at the time trail races we participate in.
I can do this activity with my daughter, and/or my dogs. They would freak out if I tried to take them running. I also go walking with my mom, when she comes down for the holidays. She has had both knees replaced, so walking is about the only athletic activity she can do anymore. Walking is a great, low impact workout. But I find it to be a bit boring.
I used to be a sprinter in high school and college. Don't ask me how many years ago that was, I will lie! After a 18 year hiatus from running I have decided to start training for a marathon. Yes, I am crazy. It has taken a couple of months, but I think I am finally starting to enjoy running again.
Cycling and running are terrific workouts for your legs. However, neither sport really challenges your upper body. I started lifting lightweight dumbbells a few months ago to help tone my arms and increase my upper body strength.
Although I own a mountain bike, now that I am a roadie, I hardly ever ride my mountain bike anymore. Mountain biking uses a totally different set of muscles compared to road biking. So if you are a road biker, use mountain biking as a cross training activity. If you are mostly a mountain biker, go out road biking every so often to cross train your other muscles.
Here are some other popular cross training activities to consider. I don't participate in these activities, but a few of my friends do:
What's you favorite cross training activity? Leave me a comment and let me know what athletic activities you participate in besides your main sport.
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva