Does football affect my cycling fitness/performance?

Im Bald Ok
Im Bald Ok Posts: 146
edited February 2011 in Road beginners
Kind of in the title...does playing football twice a week effect my cycling performance/fitness?
I'm using different muscles and heart rate zones (i would imagine) compared to cycling, so surely it must have some effect?
If i stopped playing football would my cycling improve?


  • crazy88
    crazy88 Posts: 560
    I have wondered this myself as I also play footbal weekly. I tell myself it improves my cycling as my general fitness improves. However, when I get injured at footy my cycling definitely suffers :D
    Out with the old, in with the new here.
  • hubcap
    hubcap Posts: 163
    I was playing twice a week but last summer I cut down football to once a fortnight and spent that extra time on the bike, I did notice a slight improvement in my cycling.

    So I guess if you are asking will playing football impact your cycling, then the answer is probably not so long as you don't get yourself injured, but if you stop football and replace it with more cycling then I'm sure your cycling will improve.
  • navrig
    navrig Posts: 1,352
    Not qualified but would imagine that the variety of sports/movement/zones would aid overall fitness and cycling performance but probably not as much as stopping football altogether and spending the equivalent time on cycling focused training (bike or gymn).
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    I play 5 a side in the winter, and play on Saturday mornings all year. Won a couple of Saturday afternoon races last summer after playing in the morning. Dont think the football hinders TBH.

    Maybe a bit of core strength from the football has provided a base for my blistering sprint. :)
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    I found that I'm way more likely to get injured playing football and as crazy88 says will hinder cycling overall. When I slightly tore a quad tendon it took me the best part of six weeks to get back to realising I didn't do horrendous damage.

    I only play now if I have to or really want to, the old muscles aren't what they used to be!
  • injuries aside, playing football twice a week will not affect your cycling abilities in the slightest... what are you professional or something.

    using different muscles is a daily routine, you not sacrificing a cycling destiny just by playing a few hours of football
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  • deffler
    deffler Posts: 829
    my theory is that football isnt bad for your cycling but vice-versa, cycling is bad for your football.

    when cycling your muscles are only stretching to a certain point whereas playing football requires more stretch in your leg muscles to sprint etc. This could make you more prone to muscle, hamstring injuries whilst playing football
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  • Playing 5 a side football is very intense and involves a lot of stop / start sprinting, this is going to boost your fitness levels which can only help your cycling in my eyes.
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  • Bar Shaker
    Bar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    Most running involves your foot landing with a straight leg so it's more hamstring than quads. Jumping will be the same muscles.

    Rolling around on the pitch screaming "REF" will have no effect at all.

    Overall, it shouldn't affect your cycling.

    Actually getting injured may well affect you.
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  • redvision
    redvision Posts: 2,958
    i used to play at semi pro level then in the summer of 2007 as part of my summer fitness program i did some cycling. fell in love with cycling. found myself doing quite a bit and felt great. problems started when the football season started again. i thought i could mix the two, despite the physio advising me against it. first injury was the thigh - i couldnt sprint, was far too tight. lots of stretching sorted that though.

    next issue was hamstrings. felt like the hamstrings were torn but they had infact adapted for cycling and had shortened.

    as a result of my determination/stupidity to carry on with both sports, the next (and biggest problem) started a year later in summer 08 - my back. i have had constant back problems ever since, and was forced to give up football this season after specialist advice.

    i think part of my problem was overloading and then trying to merge the two too quickly. after what i have been through i would personally advise against merging the two. pick one and stick to it. however, if you are determined to do both make sure you stretch properly and keep your muscles balanced. if you dont you may well end up with the type of injury problems i faced.
  • mattshrops
    mattshrops Posts: 1,134
    it depends on what you want to achieve, if you want to be the best you possibly can on the bike and youre playing football instead of cycling then it stands to reason you wont hit your optimum cycling levels-training being very specific. but it will make you fitter overall and if you like it.....?
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  • Thanks for all your input guys.

    Redvision i appreciate your advice as you've had experience with it. I can feel my hamstrings tightening up so i'll keep an eye on that and make sure i stretch properly. I enjoy cycling a lot more so giving up football entirely at the end of the season is probably what will happen.

    Thanks again.
  • milese
    milese Posts: 1,233
    I play 5 a side once a week.

    If I spent that hour cycling instead of playing then yes, I'd be a better cyclist.

    But overall heath, happiness and the chance to have a laugh with my mates is more than worth it.

    Ultimately football is running with a bit more impact, stretching and twisting, and triatheletes get on ok.

    If you not hyper committed to improving your cycling for something specific, then do whatever you enjoy.