Cross Training for Cyclists


Sarah Barber
Team TFC (B)
Iowa, USA
FTP: 255W (3.73 W/Kg)

I started bike racing back in 2012, at the age of 52. After spending a lot of hours in the saddle, I began to find out that, over the years, cyclists can suffer from bad posture and limited flexibility due to the time spent in a “constrained” position. So , to improve my overall strength, power, mobility, and flexibility, I started doing Crossfit about five years ago, and currently do a year-round program of around three hours per week.

I use a Personal Trainer, who has been really good at developing routines that target the potential deficiencies that come from bike training/racing. He also happens to be an excellent Massage Therapist, so both my workouts and recovery are covered!

The winter months in Iowa can be pretty bad when it comes to biking out on the road, both for snowfall and freezing temperatures…although “freezing” may be an understatement. On January 28th 2019, the night temperature in Cedar Rapids reached -34C (yes, minus).

So, to combat the winter blues, I do an extra-long weekend Crossfit session from January to March, where I particularly focus on leg strength and power. The majority of the exercises are contained in the excellent book “Maximum Overload for Cyclists”, by Jacques DeVore and Roy M. Wallack (available on Amazon).

The following is a list of the exercises in my workout, in the order of execution, with links to a description of the exercises. This does not include the warmup portion of the workout, which typically takes about thirty minutes.







In terms of improvement, and Personal Records (PRs) over time, the following images depict the reps (repetitions) and weights achieved for each exercise. Although I forgot to take photos of my workout board in January, the two images show my performance differences between February 10th and March 17th.


  • DL = Deadlift, KB = Kettlebell, DB = Dumbbell
  • Wt x 2 = Weight in EACH hand
  • For Weighted Walking Lunges, Set #1 is done taking 8 steps before short rest (5-8 secs) and turnaround. Sets # 2 & 3 are done with 6 steps. Weight increases after the first set. WORK is duration of each set, REST is recovery time between sets.

My desired outcome, from the training, was to boost overall capacity…increase power/endurance at a lower heart rate.
The following graphs/tables show the performance improvements I saw on the “Alpe du Zwift” climb. The first graph/table is from February 2nd, the second graph/table from March 15th (six weeks apart).
You can see that my power output is now more consistent over time (less fade), and at a lower heart rate.

Mission Accomplished !


February 2nd 2019

Training Peaks Elevation, Power and Heart Rate

March 15th 2019

Training Peaks Elevation, Power and Heart Rate

February 2nd 2019
March 15th 2019

Leave a Reply