With temperatures dropping on the Northern Hemisphere and some parts of roads covered in snow, it might not be ideal to continue training outside on the bike. On top of that, off-season is the perfect time to have some time away from the bike to train neglected muscle groups, have some fun with in other sports, or create that hunger for the bike so you can stay motivated the whole next season. We selected up five sports you can do in winter which will also help you to prepare for the next fixed gear crit season.
Text & Photography: Brian Megens
1. Gym: Strength training legs
When it’s freezing outside, or snow simply prevents you from riding, going to the gym might be a smart move. Several work-outs can be done, but for fixed gear crit racing, it might be a wise idea to focus on strength training for the legs. To improve your core and balance, I advise to avoid many static exercises and focus on the strength exercises with barbells that allow ‘non-guided’ movement.
Exercises: squats, front squats, pistol squats, lunges, box-jumps, deadlifts, leg press
Freeletics can be done almost everywhere, in a park, on a field, or in a gym. The investment is relatively low as you only need a pair of running shoes and an outfit. It is beneficial for fixed gear crit riders as you mainly train in the same heart0-rate zones. There are several different types of freeletics work-outs, some focus more on upper body strength others focus more on legs while there are also work-outs focussed on cardio. The only pitfall is technique because it is all about reps if you don’t pay attention to your routine an injury can happen quickly. For those with weak knees, avoid the jumping exercises.
Exercises: push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planking, burpee jumps, lung walks, climbers, sprints
CrossFit is a mixture of strength training and freeletics. So alike to freeletics the heart rate is often high but on top of using your bodyweight, in CrossFit you often also use barbells, ropes, and boxes to increase the resistance. In cross-fit technique is even more critical due to the use of weights.
Like freeletics, running can be done everywhere. It can be a good variation on bike training or serve as a substitute when you’re travelling and don’t have access to a bike, or because the weather doesn’t allow going out on your bike. It is important to keep in mind that the knees have to absorb a lot more impact than with cycling, so it is advisable when starting to build up towards longer runs slowly.
The most bike related sport in this article is spinning. Often classes take around 1hour wherein several exercises varying from sprinting to ‘climbing’ are done. However, often spinning classes are simply too intense meaning that the sprinting blocks are too close to each other which results in insufficient time to recover preventing you from really going 100% in each sprint.