Cross training during the base season

I thought it would be nice to start a conversation about cross training during the base season. Personally, I’m interested in integrating rowing and strength training, but I’m sure others might be interested in other modalities, e.g., running and sking.

Exercise Types
Generally, my questions revolve around what types of cross training can be viewed as supplemental/additive (enhance performance), what can be safely substituted without the expectation of on-the-bike performance suffering, and what types of cross training might not be a good idea.

Timing and Sequencing
I’m also interested in what folks think about the manner in which cross training can be implemented; specifically discussions around the timing and sequencing of different modalities, especially if done consecutively on the same day, and circuit training.

Amount of cross training
Finally, I’d like to hear about the amount of crosstraining cyclists are incorporating into the base season, specifically relative to their total weekly volume.


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@fazel1010 Thank you. Your timing could not be better.
We don’t really have a season here ( South Africa) so it all depends on what races you want to do. I did a 230km/300m elevation XCM race (TRANS BAVIAANS) the 28th of August. The race was postponed three times so my training was way to long and my body is really telling me to back off now.

The first week after, I went total couch potato. I am planning on riding a 120km 300m race (ATTAKWAS EXTREME) the 15th of January it is said to be one of the toughest single stage races, It is used by some international élite riders to prep for the Cape Epic .

I am now doing weight training three times a week 1. All movements pushing away from the body 2. pulling towards the body and 3. leg exercises. In the central part of our country were I live there is no mountains to hike and definitely no snow sport or water sport, so I’m doing two really slow LSD rides 60% and lower of max heart rate for 2:30 to 3 hours and one ride of just me having fun in the local game reserve, no structure, no metrices.

I was wondering if the cycling part of these 4 "of "weeks is a good idea.

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Hello @fazel1010

I have always been a big fan of cross-training for a few reasons. I come from a cross country ski background, which also had a large strength and running with poles component. The other is mainly where myself and many of my athletes live, snow around 5 to 6 months per year.

Most of my go-to sports are winter sports, sorry. First and foremost cross country skiing. Even with top National team athletes, I may have them go a few months with skiing as their primary sport, with as little as a few hours of cycling per week in 18-24 week blocks. The cycling during this time would focus mainly on cadence drills and coordination at low-level power.

The other type of training I have had very good luck with is combing strength training in a circuit format with cycling, an example of this is below. The goal is to keep the cycling aerobic and NOT let heart rate above 84% of max during any of the strength, so picking the pace and weights is important.

15 min riding below or up to LT1 depending on the feeling.

15m strength circuit - step - ups 5 per side + plank row 5 per side + 8 kb swings

15 min riding below or up to LT1 depending on the feeling.

15m strength circuit - reverse + plank row 5 per side + 8 kb swings

and so on…

I have done these sessions up to 3h in length and over time changed the endurance between the strength to tempo.


Thank you so much for this reply!

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