Cross-Training: Building Confidence
54“After it snowed, I just skied and the form was good…I was out for two to four hours of skiing…I rode my bike a half-hour on the rollers and skied every day.” Jason McCartney, Pro Cyclist on his preferred cross-training activity
Cross-country skiing and speed skating are legendary as both supplementary training and as a reservoir for cycling talent. After a suitable rest period, most serious racers engage in some form of cross-training.
Cycling has many benefits but is also limited to one plane – straight ahead, unilateral movement – mostly legs, in forward flexion. Typical cycling posture produces a profile with rounded shoulders, turtle-like forward head, and ski jumper-like posture with weight over our toes from our overdeveloped hip flexors. It’s important to train in ways that change this profile, using the total body bilaterally in multiplanar motion. Mixing up training to stretch an overly developed front body against an overstretched and underdeveloped back body is essential. Plus it’s great for one’s sense of confidence to have total body awareness and functional strength.
It’s best to choose an activity that will enhance cycling fitness and psychology. Some pro riders will choose a team ski trip or adventure activity like ice camping to build unity that requires trust in intense circumstances. Others choose to escape winter by taking a scuba diving vacation. One faced a life-long fear of water and took swimming lessons. After learning so well she could lap swim, her confidence in herself translated to ability to target cycling skills that were daunting to her before.
A California rider decided to surf in the off-season, another plays “winter” soccer. Surfing improves balance and forces movement in extension in all directions. Soccer works anaerobic capacity, sensory perception, and emphasizes team roles. Basketball, Ultimate Frisbee leagues, fall 5k runs, squash – whatever the sport, enjoy it! You’ll be back on the bike soon enough.
Prayer for Cross-Training
“… I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” 55Psalm 139:14
We are thankful for a variety of recreational activities and the incredible bodies to pursue them. We confess we can be one-dimensional cyclists. We pray for more choice for off-season fitness variety.
Ponder Which activity should I choose and for which results? Affirm I can become proficient in another sport. Watch cycling benefit.
54“Interview: Jason McCartney, Discovery,” 16 April 2007 www.cyclingupdate.com
55Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain