Why should a cyclist do CrossFit?


There can be nothing better than hitting the roads for a long ride. A few hours in the saddle makes for a great workout and can also be a great social depending on the type of ride.

It is, however, one dimensional. Generally, it’s about distance. Covering more distance or decreasing the time it takes to cover a distance. We can class it as an endurance sport for the most part.

I’m assuming you’re not an elite rider looking to complete the Tour (even they should do some form of CrossFit training) and your goal is to stay fit and healthy (TDF riders aren’t healthy) and maybe throw in a few races each year.



There is literally a tonne of reasons any endurance athlete should do CrossFit, but I’m going to focus on these five:

  1. Strength Training – Cranking up the gears and grinding at a low cadence is NOT really strength training. The best way to prevent aging is to lift weights. We need to Squat, Deadlift, and Press (yes upper body is important) as a bare minimum to be stronger, make sure our joints go through full ranges of motion and keep our bones dense.
  2. Improve Imbalances – Everybody has left to right discrepancies. These could be due to your structure or because you do your day to day activities with the same arm or leg. Imbalances can lead to overuse and pain. Using unilateral movements as we do in CrossFit can help to reduce those imbalances.
  3. Injury Prevention – At a cadence of 90 over a 3-hour ride, your body will be doing the same movement approx 16,000 times. Eventually, this repetitive motion will take its toll on joints, and connective tissue.
  4. Improve Mobility – The typical riding position isn’t great for a good posture and the movement is very limited. It’s important to maintain our mobility through lots of different ranges. The movements done in CrossFit will help this
  5. Improve your riding – All of the above will help you to become stronger, fitter and more resilient. This will only help you on the bike!



This will be dependant on the level of cyclist you are. If you’re racing then you need to spend time on the bike. However, there is always an offseason. This would be a perfect time to hit 3 days a week of CrossFit, instead of burying yourself in the basement on the trainer. I can guarantee spending the winter doing CrossFit would benefit your cycling more than time on the trainer. If nothing else you’ll be even more excited to get back on the bike come spring.

As the race season becomes more intense, then for sure you should reduce the amount of CrossFit but I would always recommend a couple of times a week to stay strong and healthy.

For the recreational riders, 3 times a week would be awesome throughout the year. If you like to workout 5-6 times a week then breaking each ride up with a session in the gym will give you all the above benefits and still allow you to enjoy the bike.

We have a few cyclists/endurance athletes recently joined us a Defy Functional Fitness and I’m very excited to see how they progress and confirm my belief when it comes to next season.

Michelle and I are CrossFitters but we can easily jump on a bike and ride 100km at a decent speed. A few months of more focused cycling training and we could improve our cycling a lot. That’s because CrossFit has given us a huge base of strength and conditioning that we can apply to any sport.

I challenge you to change it up this winter and reap the rewards come riding season.

Thanks for reading



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