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Does XC skiing replace being on the bike?(6 posts)

Does XC skiing replace being on the bike?bimini
Feb 2, 2004 7:08 AM
Winter is finally keeping me off the bike. Snow on the roads and high temperatures of -5 F last week (not including wind chill) are keeping me off the bike.

This weekend I spent no time on the bike but spent 2 hours each day on my XC skis (classic style, not skate). I have discovered some "wonderful" new unused muscles in my legs but was wondering if my biking muscles are still getting a workout equal to being on the bike for 2 hours. My intensity level is lower on the skis than on the bike (about a level 3) but I am curious if I am getting a workout equal to a level 3 on the bike, and if I can do the skiing to replace the time on the bike until the weather cooperates.
re: Does XC skiing replace being on the bike?rollo tommassi
Feb 2, 2004 8:50 AM
Well, I think that there is no substitute for being on the bike, much in the same way being on a bike is no substitute for XC ski? It doesn't equate to base miles, but it is aerobic conditioning, and three hours at a lower intensity can't be bad for you.

I'm not sure that HR levels between the two sports correlate - that is to say that the zones are different for lactate per ml. Janssens' book is a good way to study the differences and charts as he specialises in the two sports.

But, all that said, getting out on the skis is better than not on the bike at all, and is a pleasant way to add variety to training (ie, get away from the indoor trainer!)
My first time on the XC's this year was New Years DayScot_Gore
Feb 2, 2004 10:12 AM
I had the same thought. Hey, my legs are ready for this I've been riding all summer.

I felt it for a week on the inside of my legs right at the crotch. Apprently muscles the bike doesn't use.

It's not the same, but I think it's pretty close.

Have fun
Sort of for me...Steve-O
Feb 2, 2004 10:17 AM
Weather has been pretty crappy here in Chicago so I've been XC skiing and did a little snowshoeing this weekend. The muscle groups for both sports are very different but my average heart rate is very similar. XC skiing seems to work my gluteus maximus (Butt) in ways that I've never experienced with my bike...
re: Does XC skiing replace being on the bike?TWD
Feb 2, 2004 12:13 PM
In my experience, I've found skate skiing uses the cycling muscles better than classic skiing does. Both are excellent for a cardio fitness though.

One thing I found with skate skiing, however, is that I have a real hard time keeping the intensity low, especially in the hills, and I can't recall any of the trails I have been on being flat. Admittedly, my technique ins't that good, so I have to make up for it by brute force. No such thing as a "recovery ski" for me.

The one season where I tried to really focus on xc skiing (5 to 6 days a week) and do a bit of XC ski racing, left me burnt out going into spring and and led to a lousy season on the bike. Peaking for two sports was a bit much for me.

I've found that it's easier to keep the intensity lower on the classic technique. Like the other posters said, it won't be as good as on the bike time, but way better than sitting on the couch. Skate skiing works your cycling muscles better, but you need to watch the intensity if you can.
re: Does XC skiing replace being on the bike?Geardaddy
Feb 3, 2004 8:16 AM
Elite level Mountain Biker/X-C Skier Carl Swensen has no complaints! :)

I live in a land of ice and snow, so I have some experience here. To me May thru October is bike season, December thru March is X-C ski season, and November and April are transition (i.e. running) seasons.

In recent years (I'm 39) I've had increasing issues with overuse injuries from riding the bike. Besides the fact that I simply love to X-C ski, I've also found it heals what has been ailing me. It is a tremendous high aerobic intensity, low impact, total body activity. By January all my aches and pains are gone.

I would agree that skate/freestyle is probably better tuned to bike specific muscles. But, it is certainly no replacement. It's greatest benefit will be in strengthening your upper body and even your lower back. Personally, I think it will allow you to more easily stay aerobically fit, simply because you'll find it easier to put time in skiing than you would in riding a trainer (ugh!).

I would suggest to ski ski ski until February or March. Then start in on the ramp up to the bike. Your body will thank you.