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  1. #1
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    Best Cross-Training Sports

    What does everyone think are the best sports for XC training? Be it because of the workout, mental toughness, strength building, ect.

    I honestly think freestyle skiing has greatly helped my decending. Being able to stay balanced and pick lines when skiing moguls and trees seems to translate very well to riding down rock gardens and root stairs.

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    Running, is the best at developing stamina and cardio strength and dropping weight (shaping your body).

  3. #3
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    Easily the best x-training sport is hiking. Whether it's on trail, snow, or in snowshoes.

    Reasons:
    -Ability to dial in the intensity, just like cycling
    -Mitigates muscle imbalances
    -It has a similar time window. You can bike for 3 hours, but you can also hike for 3 hours. Try running or XC skiing for 3 hours. Very different.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Easily the best x-training sport is hiking. Whether it's on trail, snow, or in snowshoes.

    Reasons:
    -Ability to dial in the intensity, just like cycling
    -Mitigates muscle imbalances
    -It has a similar time window. You can bike for 3 hours, but you can also hike for 3 hours. Try running or XC skiing for 3 hours. Very different.
    Not to me, I do 4 hour runs and I do 4 hour hikes on all sort of terrain.
    They require about the same endurance for me as riding 4 hours off road.
    The difference to me is the pace, not so much the mileage or terrain.

  5. #5
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    Well lately I have been swimming, running, lifting, and paddling on top of my riding. Dont think any of its helping my bike speed but I have been enjoying the change of pace...
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  6. #6
    lgh
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    Why do you want to do cross-training?

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Easily the best x-training sport is hiking. Whether it's on trail, snow, or in snowshoes.

    Reasons:
    -Ability to dial in the intensity, just like cycling
    -Mitigates muscle imbalances
    -It has a similar time window. You can bike for 3 hours, but you can also hike for 3 hours. Try running or XC skiing for 3 hours. Very different.
    I'd argue that (for many) your third point is actually a drawback. Not that I don't enjoy hiking (I do that as well when time allows).

    Running does everything walking does, in a much, much shorter timeframe, and really help with weight management, even done 2x/week.

    The caveats? You have to be patient and really ease into it, and keep it up regularly to maintain the ability to run pain-free. Injury risk is higher with running vs. hiking. It hurts at first
    Registered Dietitian, Cycling Coach, E3: Elite Human Performance

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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Why do you want to do cross-training?

    Larry
    As we age, cycling's deficiencies in building bone density and balanced musculature become more evident. Cross training helps address these, in moderation.

    I choose running as it is so accessible and easy to do while traveling, with limited time, etc.
    Registered Dietitian, Cycling Coach, E3: Elite Human Performance

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  9. #9
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    two words...

    ... skate skiing

  10. #10
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    Running, snow shoeing in the winter.

  11. #11
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    The best way to get good at biking is biking. If you're not going to ride I'd say do anything and everything else. Mix it up as much as possible so you're not a one trick pony. I'd do a workout program like P90X, Insanity, Asylum, etc.

  12. #12
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    Traditionally, most pros (especially out west) use cross country skiiing or snowshoeing as a crosstraining tool. As limba noted above, if you want to get faster on the bike, riding more is the best bet.

    To me cross training is a way to get away from the bike for a while but continue to maintain by endurance and balance out my other muscles. running, lifting, ice hockey, soccer, etc are all other sports I enjoy if I'm away from the bike for a while.

  13. #13
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    'Not a sport, but I have a versaclimber which I used to use regularly prior to getting into riding.
    If I weren't able to ride as often, I would definitely be using that machine again to maintain/enhance cardio.

  14. #14
    pk1
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    Quote Originally Posted by lgh View Post
    Why do you want to do cross-training?
    Larry
    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    The best way to get good at biking is biking. If you're not going to ride I'd say do anything and everything else. Mix it up as much as possible so you're not a one trick pony. I'd do a workout program like P90X, Insanity, Asylum, etc.
    exactly! as the OP notes, there are a number of different reasons for doing cross training but if you really want to be better on the bike then concentrate on riding the bike! (even if that is an indoor bike)

    i do some strength work in the gym, in part because i lack outright power and in part to work on specific muscle engagement patterns and weaknesses.
    i also do some running as its very time efficient and relates well to cycling, also i do some duathlons.
    otherwise most of what might be called cross training is really just stuff i want to do.

  15. #15
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    Another one I forgot about, Rock Climbing! I never appreciated my rock climbing to cycling benefits until I tackled a 60mi race this summer. I noticed that even with hydraulic brakes I'd still get the forearm pump. It wasn't too bad, but I can bet any amount of money that without my 2-3 rock wall days a week I would have been in serious discomfort.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemiwinks View Post
    I'd still get the forearm pump.
    That reminded me of another great cross training sport: dirt biking on motorcycle.

    Seems that all people who motorcross have great handling skills. But the fitness it builds is a bit different (more strength), and there's no oscillation of the legs.

    I coach a high school team with students new to biking. One kid rides moto and his handling skills are head and shoulders above every one else.
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  17. #17
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    surfing, works core/ shoulders, arms. Improves balance and has an endurance factor if you paddle a lot.

    But like everyone above stated, to be a good cyclist one must cycle.

  18. #18
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    dirtbike riding is great. Coming from a 215lb bike to a 25lb feels great, plus you get used to trails at a much faster speed. Panch is spot on.
    Running is also good for cardio.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck D View Post
    ... skate skiing
    yes, Yes, YES!

    cardio, endurance, upper body. I'm in better shape after a good skate ski season than I am after a good mtb season.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    yes, Yes, YES!

    cardio, endurance, upper body. I'm in better shape after a good skate ski season than I am after a good mtb season.
    The only negative I've heard with skate skiing is that it exacerbates muscle imbalances in people with overdeveloped outer thighs and underdeveloped inner thighs (I have that problem).

    If you have overly developed outer thighs, skate skiing just makes it develop even more, which can misalign how your knee cap tracks and eventually cause pain. That's why i hike or snowshoe, better distribution of muscle load around the leg.

    I still skate ski occasionally though because it's way fun.
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  21. #21
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by pk1 View Post
    exactly! as the OP notes, there are a number of different reasons for doing cross training but if you really want to be better on the bike then concentrate on riding the bike! (even if that is an indoor bike)

    i do some strength work in the gym, in part because i lack outright power and in part to work on specific muscle engagement patterns and weaknesses.
    i also do some running as its very time efficient and relates well to cycling, also i do some duathlons.
    otherwise most of what might be called cross training is really just stuff i want to do.
    I do kettlebell turkish getups now. In winter, more types of resistance stuff (mostly kb) but will drag my butt outside this year, I swear. Goal is to correct/avoid muscle imbalances and stave off boredom. Imbalances lead to injury. I

    f you want to go faster on the bike, you have to do bike stuff.

    Larry

  22. #22
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    yeah, skate skiing whoops my A$$. But, I also traditional xc ski too. I usually skate if I'm just going out alone. I'm planning on much more skiing and snow shoeing this winter compared to last year.

  23. #23
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    United States Army Ranger School!

    You'll develop a very strong core, lose a lot of weight, and your legs will get a workout like you've never seen before.

    On a more serious note, XC skiing (skate) is incredibly difficult. Hardest sport I've ever done, bar none.

  24. #24
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    I play squash.

    The anaerobic and aerobic fitness has similarties to MTB riding/racing (shorter, harder bursts, with the ability to rest/recover).

    It however is much better at building an overall muscle balance/strengthening in the body.

    It's also a crap load of fun, so it doesn't feel like a necessary evil.

    Not sure if trying to be specific or not is the best for cross training. I just try to have fun and keep myself feeling good!


  25. #25
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    Noone has said this but in all seriousness: Basketball.

    I was struggling with my lungs early in the race season so I started doing the pickup basketball games at the YMCA. If you actually put a lot of effort into the games running up and down the court and guarding people on defense it is a great workout. I was suprised how out of breath basketball made me compared to my bike riding. Its also great for twitch muscles in your legs.

    The immediate benefits I noticed after just a few weeks of pickup games 2 to 3x a week were much better oxygen use during tough biking sections (aka took longer to run out of breath) and I definitely had more endurance and punch on hills...
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

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