Is it better to Cross Train Zone 2?

let’s say you cycle a moderate amount (for an amateur)…call it ~10+ hours a week

assuming a perfect world where you had easy access to different sports (skiing, swimming, rowing)…

would it be better to take say 1 day a week and do a 1-2hour Zone 2 / Endurance session (say using heart rate) in a completely different sport?

not talking about doing serious intervals or perfecting technique

just to hit muscles / ligaments / tendons at different angles and minimize repetitive stress while still working your aeorbic base? (and taking 1 hour away from cycling out of 10+ isn’t going to make a big difference in your cycling technique I don’t think)


Not physiologist but I expect it does not – while cross-training might help to develop cardiovascular system, it does not help as much with cycling specific muscles i.e. you miss out specificity.

Nevertheless, it probably helps to strengthen supporting muscles: core, triceps, lower back, etc. I plan split time ~ 30:70 between SkiErg and bike (not only Z2 but also VO2max intervals), just for overall improvements.

To maximise cross-training benefits, maybe it is better to do high-volume Z2 on bike and lower volume VO2max on different sport :thinking:

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Define “better”…from a straight cycling performance POV, probably not.

From a general strengthening POV and working muscles in a different manner / different muscles, etc…yes there is probably some benefit there.

Some people will also tell you that “base is base”… :man_shrugging:

If you are talking about the offseason, then by all means cross-train. If you are talking about in-season, you are probably better off on the bike.


I am not sure I would say 10+ hours is a moderate volume for an amateur! That aside, I have recently started running in conjunction with my cycling, mainly for bone density and better all-around fitness and strength as well as trying some strength training; I noticed when I was only cycling, while I was getting fast on the bike, my body was good for literally nothing else… being over 40 this is a concern.

While I was not in prime cycling shape when I started running my experience is I was a lot slower at running than I anticipated given I have a good aerobic engine from cycling over a number of years. While other types of cross training may overlap more with cycling in terms of muscles e.g. cross country skiing, I would say if you are cross training it is purely to benefit your all-around health and fitness, rather than your cycling.

If you purely want to be a faster cyclist then cycle more, but if all around health and fitness is the goal then I would highly recommend cross training. Even mentally, doing one day on the bike then another day running feels less stressful and breaks up the monotony in my view.



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