How Cycling Strength Training Helps Swimmers

To break the monotony of a workout routine, athletes might want to try a different discipline, such as cycling strength training, as opposed to running or swimming. For the swimmer, cycling strength training presents a variety of benefits. The lower body is an integral part of swimming, which means that cycling is particularly effective for developing the large muscles groups in the legs. Cycling strength training is an ideal training tool that can help swimmers increase their stamina and performance in the water. There are three types of cycling strength training that can be implemented to help swimmers take their skills to a new level.

Interval Training

Swimmers, runners and cyclists all have one thing in common: they use interval training to build strength and endurance. Interval training is beneficial in all of these sports and the body does not differentiate between disciplines. The body recognizes when it is called upon to produce high levels of energy and sustain that energy for a period of time. It does not matter what mechanism is used to elicit a response from the body. For example, running on hills and cycling on a hill are both effective means of developing a higher degree of strength and endurance. This means that cycling strength training is an effective means for swimmers too.  Interval training for cyclists can be done over different distances and different resistance levels. An appropriate ration of working time to resting time is 1:3. For example, if you sprint on a cycle at top speed for one full minute, you should rest and recover for three full minutes. To build more muscle and emphasize strength training while cycling, use added resistance and do hill climbs. 

Weight Training

Leg strength plays such an important role in cycling that cycling strength training places special emphasis on key muscle groups.  These muscles include the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. In addition to traditional presses on machines, cyclists will often employ dumbbells to intensify lunge and squat exercises. For cycling strength training, it is important to maintain a moderate amount of weight against a high number of repetitions. These types of cycling strength training exercises are transferable to swimming and will increase strength in the lower body significantly. 

Endurance Training

Swimming requires a great deal of cardiovascular capacity and endurance. Likewise, cycling places a great deal of importance on endurance and this is transferable between the two sports. Performing sprint exercises on a bike allows you to develop a greater aerobic capacity, thus increasing your ability to exert an intense effort more frequently. The more efficiently a body uses oxygen while swimming, the higher capacity the swimmer will have for speed and endurance. As a sport, cycling also allows the swimmer to focus on breathing efficiently, thus increasing and maximizing energy.  

Alternating between interval, weight and endurance training will leave you with a well rounded workout and enhance your overall results. Cycling exercises are an excellent alternative for a lower-body workout that will leave swimmers stronger and with an improved cardiovascular capacity. 


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