Do you do any other exercise to complement your cycling?

Freediver underwater diving with monofin during freediving competition in London UK

Yesterday, I took up swimming at my local leisure center. I’m doing it to lose weight after the America trip (I’ve never seen portions so huge!) and also, more importantly, for a swimming event in July I’ll be taking part of. As I write this I’m aching a little from the workout but I think it will hugely benefit my fitness levels. Whilst I’m not a competitive cyclist I like staying healthy and enjoy the feeling when you complete a ride and think “yeah, I did that pretty fast”.

Do you ever do any other exercise that complements your cycling?

Image via Jayhem flickr

See also: Yoga for cyclists

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28 Responses to Do you do any other exercise to complement your cycling?

  1. Kevin Campbell's Blog 29/04/2011 at 8:16 am #

    i went swimming the other week, had not been in ages, i was knackered for days, it is defiantly good to go swimming though

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 8:56 am #

      It’s weather like this that makes you think “I fancy a swim!”

  2. Andrew Priest 29/04/2011 at 8:28 am #


    I currently “run” and I am slowly building this up via the MiCoach application from Adidas. We also get into swimming once my frozen shoulder injury fixes itself.

    My nutritionist (sport) is every encouraging of cross training and I have noticed the benefits.

    I also find that the running is a good option when traveling.


  3. Paul 29/04/2011 at 8:40 am #

    I’ve been sport climbing for a while and intend to transition to outdoor climbing now the weather’s improved.

    A flat earlier in the week that I haven’t had a chance to fix yet – I know, I know – has got me running on my daily commute as I was loath to miss out on the workout. I’ve enjoyed it, so I think I’ll be factoring it into my weekly routine.

    A friend’s been trying to encourage me to participate in triathlon, so now I’m running I may just add swimming into the bag and make my friend happy….

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 8:58 am #

      Don’t worry Paul – I’ve had the occasional puncture that takes me that little bit too long to repair too 😉

      Climbing is something I’d like to get into – my local leisure centre has a climbing wall so perhaps it’s time to get started!

  4. Tim 29/04/2011 at 10:31 am #

    I ran last Saturday for the first time I hard and couldn’t believe how much my legs ached after, even though I cycle 15miles a day commute!

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 8:59 am #

      I guess they use a different set of muscles (I know exactly zero about running!) – at least you’ve got the benefit of the Cardio workout from cycling

  5. Louise 29/04/2011 at 10:55 am #

    I have an alotment and due to ill-health am still double digging! However I have found that my legs and arms are stronger so it helps with not too steep hills 😉 I was also supplementing with step and spinning classes before Xmas and they were great.

  6. Meghann 29/04/2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I don’t exercise specifically to complement my cycling (of which I do an average of 3-4 miles commuting and generally getting around town during the week and usually go for a longer ride at the weekends), but I do swim a couple of times a week and also go social dancing regularly because I enjoy them both in their own right. I used to run but had to stop due to recurrent injuries

  7. Ray 29/04/2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Walking and using public transport rather than driving. I go dancing at least once a week as well. I also do Wii fit training for at least half an hour a day focussing on CV and Core. I can’t run as my knees are a bit week and I find swimming boring so don’ty do either of them unless I have to.

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 9:01 am #

      Liking the diversified range of fitness activities Ray – especially the Wii Fit. I recently tried this out at a friends house, good way to make exercise fun!

  8. Steve 29/04/2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I find walking, swimming and indoor climbing are all good exercises in combination with the cycling. The swimming and climbing in particular help with upper body.
    Some people recommend yoga, but so far I haven’t tried that.

  9. Angi 30/04/2011 at 1:17 am #

    I’ve never exercised as such and don’t even see my cycling as exercise (although it probably is)…I am the antithesis of a sporty person. Even running/jogging was a fail.
    Swimming sounds good though…supposed to be low impact on the joints.
    You go for it.
    And yes…they do have some colossal food portions in the US. Crazy and scary.

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 9:03 am #

      With my current belly I’m a bit of an antithesis to sporty too! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  10. Big Mike 30/04/2011 at 7:26 am #

    I prefer weightlifting with the emphasis on freeweights and compound exercises (Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Dips, Overhead Presses, Rows and Chinups). A leisurly ride to the gym serves as my warm-up and a fast ride home beats the treadmill hands down for cardio.

  11. Rick Sutton 30/04/2011 at 8:42 am #

    This is an interesting question. I have been participating in Triathlon for a number of years but I’m now considering focusing on road cycling only. In my experience, the swimming and running may add to overall fitness but do not add much to making you a “better” cyclist. As with most sports, I think you have to concentrate on a primary activity to get better at it. I’m not sure what pro cyclists do but I think its only some gym work with weights and yoga to supplement the training

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 9:05 am #

      From the small amounts I’ve read about pro-cycling I think you are right Rick – the pro’s use Yoga lots and gym work. I bet Chris Hoy jumps in a pool now and then!

  12. Tiva 30/04/2011 at 8:59 am #

    Two hours of Yoga or Pilates are my weekly exercise of choice.
    Commuting by bike gives me my cardio, the pilates gives me core strength improved posture, and yoga gives me toning and endurance.
    Now if only I could stop eating all those cakes… 😉

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 9:05 am #

      I figure cycling allows you a few extra treats 😉

  13. Peter Cowan 30/04/2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I get in about 175 -250k a week cycling, but take two rest days, usually tuesdays and thursdays, when I get instead a 10-15k brisk dog walk. I do an hours core strength training each day to build up and stretch those muscles the cycling doesn’t!

    • Nicki 02/05/2011 at 10:18 pm #

      I’m just a bit worried about the dog on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the weekend?!

  14. Laurie Canham 30/04/2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Since both my knees deteriorated through osteo-arthritis, I’ve been swimming at my local Cally Pool regularly, and going to the gym twice a week, as well as cycling every day. As a result, when I had my right knee replaced 6 weeks ago, my recovery time was greatly shortened. The surgeons and the physiotherapists all said that this was because of all the exercise strengthening the muscles around the knee. A lesson for all us old fogies?

  15. Andrew Ebling 30/04/2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I like rowing sprints at the gym (500m/2min sprints with 1 min rest in between) – good cardio and gets the upper body working out nicely, which you don’t get on a bike.

  16. Richard Cleverly 30/04/2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Kettle Bells (think cannon ball with a handle) once a week. I do turkish get-ups to warm up and to ensure I’m not developing any imbalances (the TGU highlights this like no other exercise, just try it). Then I do swings – incredibly simple but the improvement to the power I can generate on the bike and eliminating lower back issues is unarguable. I’m pretty big so use a 32kg bell and do 120 swings in 3 sets of 1 minute with a 1 minute rest between. See youtube if none of this makes any sense!

    • Andreas 01/05/2011 at 9:16 am #

      Hey Richard – I’ve been reading a lot about Kettle Bells through Tim Ferriss’ 4 hour body book so this is something I’ll be taking on in the very near future

  17. McSteve 04/05/2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Beware of ‘swimmer’s hunger’! For reasons not entirely understood, swimming stimulates the appetite something savage post-swim. The speculation is that it has something to do with body temperature not rising for the duration, unlike most aerobic exercise.

    Good luck with it though, I’m just back from the pool myself!

  18. thereverent 05/05/2011 at 9:43 pm #

    I do triathlons, so plenty of running and swiming as well.
    The swimming helps my legs after the running and cycling.

    I keep meaning to do some yoga as well to improve my flexibility.

  19. iambrianjones 18/09/2011 at 9:06 pm #

    I don’t think cycling, in any of it’s guises, really pushes me physically . After all a bicycle is a machine designed to make it easier, more efficient to propell yourself using your legs.

    Running, smimming, and yoga are what keep me fit. Even if I cycle every day for six months I do not feel nearly as fit as I do when I run hard or swim fast at least three times a week.

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