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  1. #1
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    Best cross training for cycling (No Running)

    I travel a lot for business. Can't bring my bike with me

    I'm looking for opinions on the best cross training exercises for cycling that can be done in a gym.

    I have stairclimbed, stationary biked, walked and done leg weights. Unfortuneately, 25 years of long distance running, and 2 knee operations make running not an option.

    Any opinions/experiences would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Phredd

  2. #2
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    Biking in a hotel gym might be the best you'll do, but what a bore.

    How about swimming?

  3. #3
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    1) You may want to post this on the "Training & Nutrition" forum, if you didn't already;

    2) All of the things you are already doing (or have done) are good. Could you also travel with inline skates? Much easier on the knees and a great cardio workout. Plus, you get the abductors in there much better than cycling does.

    3) Anything you do to build leg strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and your core strength (abdominals and back muscles) will make you a better cyclist. I don't mean to sound either simplistic or condescending here. It's just true

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    erg - the rowing machine http://www.concept2.com/05/default.asp

    May not be available in all gyms...but a great workout if they have it. Make sure you use the proper technique, because that really works your legs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I 2nd the rowing option above, will give you super aerobic workout with upper and lower body.. I too use the eliptical trainers, they are a cross of stair stepper and and power walking motion without the impact of running.. Most hotels now have the elipticals as compared to only a few having rowing machines..

  6. #6
    Go fast, turn left... Essy's Avatar
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    I second the inline skates option - I actually cycle for my skating, and it's a great cross workout. Also, if lugging around skates in not an option, some gyms have slideboards you can use - basically sheets of waxed plastic that you "skate" across using little booties over your shoes. It's very tough - best done in intervals. You can also pick one up for not too much money...I've had friends make them out of old kitchen countertops

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    "Great One" 53-11_alltheway's Avatar
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    I'd vote for the stair steeper hands down.

  8. #8
    Whateverthehell Chucklehead's Avatar
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    der weinerschnitzel
    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo daVinci

  9. #9
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    What type of traveling? What about a folder or a Ritchey Breakaway? Just trying to get you more itme on a bike.
    The views expressed by this poster do not reflect the views of BikeForums.net.

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    All-

    Thanks for the great ideas. Actually, I've tried the elliptical trainer...good cardio workout, but it just felt really, I don't know, WEIRD.

    I really like the rowing machine idea. Some of the gyms I frequent on the road have them, so I'll give it a try. The boredom factor will be the same as other machines, but at least it's different.

    I can't take a folding bike with me...but the inline skates sound like a GREAT idea. I'll just have to wear full body armor until I get the coordination down

    Still on the subject of travel, does anyone know a good web site or other source to find bike rentals around the country? (Around the world for that matter)

    Thanks, and keep the suggestions coming.

    Phredd

  11. #11
    Senior Member RocketsRedglare's Avatar
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    I'm still an competetive rower. I can tell you that outside of cross country skiing (which is a great form of cross training in the winter) there is nothing like rowing.

    If you live near a rowing club http://www.row2k.com/links/links.cfm?cat=3) learn to row. Most club dues are less than 300 dollars per year, which gives you complete access to club equipment and the club house. If you are a member of an established club, and are visiting a city with a club, there are usually courtesies extended where you can use that club's ergometers, or even better you may get invited for a row.

    The adult members of our club are rough split equally between those that rowed in college or on national teams and those that started rowing in their 30 's 40's and 50's. As far as preconcieved notions about elitism, I don't know of one club in this country that could be called a snobatorium. (but rowing does attract more than a fair share of eccentrics. I probably met more crazies on the rowing circuit than I did in art school.)

    The concept 2 (usually called an erg) is a great machine and you can get a full workout in under 45 minutes. It does get kind of boring, and is almost impossible to watch TV (thank God for the ipod). Most rowers have love-hate relationships with the concept2. Its not in uncommon to her a rower say "ergs don't float".

    Roller blades are also good and very portable. Swimming is fine, but if you are jumping in the pool for the first time, and are even in reasonably good shape, don't expect to be able to do a lot of laps. You will work out muscles yu never knew you had.

  12. #12
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    Rowing is an EXCELLENT upper body workout that puts little stress on knees - I have rowed on and off for years on the style rowers, and find that it draws energy from me like almost nothing else (maybe second to cross-country skiing). The other ideal low-impact workout is swimming, of course.

  13. #13
    Senior Member RocketsRedglare's Avatar
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    Actually rowing is more about legs strength than upperbody strength, and that is why it would be excellent way to cross train.

    There are quite a few elite-level athletes that are competetive in Cycling/Rowing/Speed Skating together. All three sports essentially use the same muscle groups. Some have even competed in the winter olympics as skaters and then in the summer games as rowers or cyclists.

  14. #14
    You're just a fat kid Moistfly's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I agree that rowing is *more* about the legs than it is about the upperbody ... Unless I've just been using horrible form all these years I've found the bulk of my motion is created using the muscles in my back to pull to my body and slightly upwards toward my chest

    In any event that, combined with swimming would be my recommendation

  15. #15
    Senior Member RocketsRedglare's Avatar
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    You've been using horrible form. We call it health-club rowing. It's really a good way to throw your back out.

    I've started to swim after my rides. It was very frustrating at first. I consider myself in relatively good shape, yet I couldn't even do 6 laps in a 25meter pool. I'm up to 20 now. I guess its something you have to just keep plugging away at. I'll that I am not swimming with the most efficient form, either.

  16. #16
    You're just a fat kid Moistfly's Avatar
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    Well .. I'm not trying to be contrary but can you explain what proper form is? This technique shown in this link is approximate to the form I use and haven't had any back problems yet ...

    http://www.concept2.co.uk/training/t...ue.php?stage=6

    What should I do different than that?

  17. #17
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phredd
    I travel a lot for business. Can't bring my bike with me

    I'm looking for opinions on the best cross training exercises for cycling that can be done in a gym.

    I have stairclimbed, stationary biked, walked and done leg weights. Unfortuneately, 25 years of long distance running, and 2 knee operations make running not an option.

    Any opinions/experiences would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Phredd

    I would say swimming, If there is swimming. DOnt use the bikes at the gym, unless its really good, because you will kill your knees on one of the ones with the seat that just goes up and down...
    ----------------------------------------------------------

  18. #18
    Senior Member RocketsRedglare's Avatar
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    The link shows good form. But you really need someone experienced in the sport to spot you (and most health club trainers do not know proper technique). There are also very suble motions ( such as lowering you hands at the end of the drive, and turning into the recovery)

    Heres a link that shows muscles used as well as good form. http://www.concept2.com/05/rower/musclesused.asp

    If you can find a 2 large mirrors (one in front of you, one on the side) it does help, But be warned, perfecting the rowing stroke is like perfecting a golf swing - once you have it mastered, you die.

    Its very easy to make mistakes and not know it. The most common would be "shooting your tail" were you upper body stays forward, and your butt moves out, then you body starts its drive. This is probably the reason you think it is an upperbody workout.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moistfly
    Well .. I'm not trying to be contrary but can you explain what proper form is? This technique shown in this link is approximate to the form I use and haven't had any back problems yet ...

    http://www.concept2.co.uk/training/t...ue.php?stage=6

    What should I do different than that?
    Just to confirm...rowing is certainly mostly a leg workout and I think it takes someone with experience to show you how to do it properly. It is not hard to learn and really should take only a few sessions to get comfortable, and when you do you will feel it in your legs.

  20. #20
    Senior Member fholt's Avatar
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    I have been swimming 3x week for about 1.5 years - and cycling only about 3 months. I like that the activities are complimentary - so even if my legs are dead tired I can still swim - and allow them some motion, but not working my pedaling muscles. Swimming gets the upper body well, and of course cycling is for the legs. I have one of those exercise balls - but haven't gotten really handy at using it.

    I've usually swim a mile (36 laps in a 25 yd pool) - and have worked the cycling (so far just on weekends) up to last weekend's record of a 53 mile ride at 17.8 avg. Yesterday's swim was my first sub 30 minute mile.

    So - the combination works well for me. I am thinking about adding the inline skating, my skates are crap, but I guess they're adequate.
    Last edited by fholt; 03-30-05 at 06:37 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member GreyGoat's Avatar
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    cross country skiing, or roller-skiing, or even in-line skating with poles added.. rowing is great, but it's still only 2 dimentional... cross country skiing will get you hills, if you want them..

  22. #22
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Wow, from RocketsRedglare's description of how difficult it is to do rowing properly, sounds like that's probably not a good option to consider (not to mention few hotel gyms actually have rowing machines).

    I'd second swimming (when it's available), for several reasons:
    - a large number of even mediocre hotels have pools
    - in the morning when hotel gyms are busiest, there's usually no one in the pool
    - it can be an excellent near total-body workout
    - it's not hard to learn to do properly
    - you don't need to do a huge amount to get a good workout

    Good luck! I am in a similar boat (bad knees, so no running, and a fair amount of business travel), always looking for something more interesting than the complete boredom of the stationary bike.

  23. #23
    Senior Member fholt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother
    I'd second swimming (when it's available), for several reasons:
    - a large number of even mediocre hotels have pools
    - in the morning when hotel gyms are busiest, there's usually no one in the pool
    - it can be an excellent near total-body workout
    - it's not hard to learn to do properly
    - you don't need to do a huge amount to get a good workout
    I've been frustrated with my attempts at hotel pools, too small for laps almost universally. However, the yellow pages or asking at your Hotel around has found me a community pool or local "Y" in most places I go, and they're great about having guests. Some are even "first visit free" - which they're happy to provide even if they know you're not a local and won't be joining. Do grab extra towels at your hotel though - they're not provided at the Y.
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  24. #24
    Go fast, turn left... Essy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phredd
    I can't take a folding bike with me...but the inline skates sound like a GREAT idea. I'll just have to wear full body armor until I get the coordination down
    Well, I dunno about full body armor, but I highly recommend practicing stopping A LOT! I actually use 5 wheeled speed skates when I go out that don't have brakes so I have to T stop or bleed off speed using other techniques (occasionally using the "run onto the grass" technique). But, regular roller blades with brakes don't take very long to get the hang of.

    It's my experience that you will notice hills where you hadn't previously though. I, for example, had not realized how hilly New York City was. That was not my proudest skating day...

  25. #25
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    Yeah-

    I've done a lot of swimming at hotels. Excellent workout, but can sometimes be inconvenient...and I have a hard time keeping it up when I'm home!

    Agree with what you say about the stationary bikes.

    I really am going to try more rowing and maybe the in line skates.

    Phredd

    PS-Rush does Rock!

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