Soccer is a physically taxing sport that requires a superior level of fitness. Players have to spring, walk, jog, tackle, jump, fight for position, and be on the ball at all times. Aerobic fitness plays a major role and having more speed and power leads you closer to triumph. Theories on how to best train change constantly, and advocating bike riding is not something that you hear often. Most methods involve keeping the feet on the ground and touching the ball, so how does cycling fit in?
The next level
Professional athletes are always on the lookout for ways to squeeze more out of their bodies and ante up training intensity. They are under constant pressure to improve in the areas of strength, speed, agility, and endurance. For the most part, they rely on exercises that simulate action on the field and pedal pushing seems like a far cry from soccer-specific movement patterns and skills.
Still, coaches are reconsidering cycling and seeing it in a new light, as a potent training tool. After all, cycling is a power sport: it develops leg strength and makes athletes able to crank out considerable power. In general, cycling both increases the size of and reinforces slow and fast twitch muscles, suggesting you can go on to build all the muscle fibers in your legs that you can.
Hence, it turns out that bicycle training is one of the most beneficial activities to get in shape. This is a small surprise for those who are aware that regular cardiovascular exercise is an excellent strategy to build stamina for long soccer matches and training sessions. It really works miracles for an average player, who runs or jogs for up to 60 minutes per game.
Setting the wheels in motion
Thus, cycling is a great change of pace, a way to spice up the regular routine. First off, it improves aerobic and anaerobic endurance. When the possession of the ball is lost, soccer players have to quickly recover and track runs and cycling enables them to fatigue less quickly and have more power in reserve. That is why some coaches incorporate indoor cycling or spinning as an intense cardio workout.
Spinning is now an integral part of top club’s preseason soccer conditioning. The advanced training centers of clubs in the league of Chelsea and Real Madrid include spin rooms. Many other clubs invest in top-notch cycling equipment and using a high-grade Shimano Mountain Bike is not an uncommon sight anymore. Regardless of whether you are an amateur or a pro, it is important to possess the best possible tools.
A fast track to success
Then again, experts argue that there is no need to go overboard with cycling, because there are some risks associated with cross-training two sports. Namely, soccer players are not inclined to do that much aerobic work. Going on long bike rides is a training routine that benefits athletes like rowers and distance runners more.
Instead, they harness speed training bursts that last from five to 30 seconds. Each sprint is followed by a longer recovery period. These short, intense periods of cycling are used to develop quickness, boost sprinting ability, and ramp up explosive power. Such a routine, when performed on a regular basis, increases the size of the leg muscles and forges strong quads.
There is another benefit of cycling that is overlooked. It helps players with slight lower-body injuries to get back on track and get the most of their recovery period. Likewise, cycling is popular in the off-season, when rest is paramount. This is due to the fact that it does not put much strain on the joints and lowers the risk of further injury. Besides, it is possible to vary the intensity of the exercise and meet specific fitness needs.
Get the show on the road
Soccer places high athletic demands on the body and to endure all the trials and tribulations, players can utilize cycling to vary their cardiovascular routines. This versatile training improves endurance, cardio fitness, and speed on the pitch, which makes all the difference in terms of performance. What is more, cycling adds explosive power, induces peak professional performance, and empowers you to kick the game into overdrive.