Is Peloton Good For CrossFit? (Explained)


Peloton offers thousands of on-demand workouts that can be used for your cross-training routine. However, is a peloton good for Crossfit?

As a whole, the peloton is good for CrossFit because it has several high-intensity interval training classes that improve strength, endurance, and body composition. It also has flexibility programs that help with range of motion and reduces injury risk.

Keep reading to learn how to combine CrossFit and peloton, what are the benefits of both, and if you should choose, which one is better.

Does Peloton Helps with CrossFit?

There are several ways how peloton can help with CrossFit training, including better recovery and lower injury risk. Crossfit training consists of multiple strength and conditioning exercises that are done for time or maximum repetition.

This type of high-intensity training significantly increases the heart rate (80-90% or more) which improves the maximum volume of oxygen consumption (VO2 max) (Smith 2013). However, it also produces high blood lactate levels.

And to maximize training adaptations (benefits from exercise) you also need a regular low-intensity session in between to enhance blood lactate removal. Otherwise, the body gets sore faster and it takes longer to recover.

Studies have shown that adding low-impact aerobic exercise as an active recovery session significantly improves the performance and anaerobic lactate threshold, comparing to passive recovery (Wiewelhove et al. 2018).

This means adding peloton rides as your low-intensity long-distance cardio help to maximize the benefits of the hard CrossFit training.

Is CrossFit Good for Cyclists?

Overall, CrossFit is good for cyclists because it helps to work on the components of fitness that aren’t addressed in cycling like training with resistance, power training, functional strength, core training, and mobility.

What I like about doing strength and conditioning workouts to complement peloton training is they help to work on the areas that the peloton doesn’t cover. You can use strength classes on the peloton app, however, you cannot train at a submaximal intensity or lift 1 rep max.

Are Peloton strength workouts effective? As a whole, the peloton strength workouts are effective, especially for the calorie expenditure because they use full-body exercises and keep minimum rest within 20 to 45 minutes session. They also include different types of training like supersets, circuit training, or plyometrics.

Another benefit of adding peloton to your CrossFit routine is safety. Doing less CrossFit and more peloton not only helps to recover better, but also reduces the risk of injury.

When you train at the maximum intensity for as long as you can (or as fast as you can), the form and technique are likely to be compromised. Basically, it’s hard to be mindful about keeping the correct form when you’re out of breath for a long time.

And according to a study done on 386 individuals (Hak et al. 2013), the overall injury rate for the CrossFit training was 19.4%.

To put that into the perspective, more injuries occur in CrossFit than in professional soccer or rugby (Weisenthal et al. 2014).

Keep that in mind.

How To Use Peloton for CrossFit

To use a peloton for CrossFit you can combine those two workouts, you can use a peloton as an assessment tool to monitor the progress, or you can use some of the peloton strength and cardio sessions to mimic the CrossFit workout.

Does peloton offer CrossFit workouts? As a whole, the peloton doesn’t offer CrossFit workouts because it only has several classes that can be safely done at home without supervision. However, it does strength and cardio HIIT sessions that improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

Doing CrossFit requires a good level of expertise because of the type of exercises (Olympic lifts, gymnastics). Without coaching it is difficult for beginners to get into grips with some of the complex movements that are part of this method.

On the other hand, riding a bike isn’t complicated. Plus, the peloton has a range of on-demand resistance classes.

This means you can use the Peloton app to schedule your own cross-training workout plan that combines muscle resistance and cardio.

Here are the three ways to use peloton to improve your CrossFit performance.

#1 Combine wokrouts together

Adding more low-impact rides to your CrossFit helps recover faster, down-regulate and even reduce stress levels. Doing constant HIIT workouts increases cortisol levels.

Acute cortisol is necessary for the right training adaptations, but the chronic elevation of cortisol can lead to fatigue, sleep problems, and weight gain (Hill et al. 2008).

I notice when I only do HIIT in the first few weeks my body feels amazing. However, after a couple of months, my performance goes down, I feel more tired than usual, I tend to eat more, and I lose training motivation because everything hurts.

On the other hand, low-intensity exercise lowers the cortisol level, helps to kick start parasympathetic response, and down-regulates stress levels (Wahl et al. 2010).

Keep in mind that high cortisol is also omnipresent in our day-to-day life. For people who have already a lot of stress going on, the goal is to reduce the stress, not to add more.

#2 Use peloton as an assessment tool

Apart from getting a good cardio workout at the comfort of your home, you can also use a peloton bike to monitor your performance thanks to the built-in power meter.

This tool allows you to measure your power output and calculates the results into user-friendly metrics that indicate your intensity.

This way you have immediate feedback about your performance from every ride. You can also do an FTP test regularly that helps to establish your current fitness level.

I think this is a game-changer because it provides a clear and scientific indicator of your progress. If we go one step further, you can also track your rest time, nutrition, and other metrics.

Using a training log together with a meal journal helps to narrow your attention to small details that you may have missed otherwise. You may start to see how does sleep, type of food, or even hydration directly influence your results and make informed decisions based on the results.

#3 Use peloton as a cross-training platform

The difference between Crossfit and cross-training is that CrossFit workout involves high-intensity functional movements done as fast as possible or as long as possible. The cross-training method is about mixing up a variety of workouts that you perform within a week.

Is peloton good for cross-training? In general, the peloton is good for cross-training because it offers different classes that can be done throughout the week. The classes range from endurance cardio, strength, high-intensity interval training, full-body Bootcamp, and yoga for flexibility.

If all you do is riding the bike, simply adding some strength or even yoga sessions to your week will transform your peloton training into cross-training.

Does peloton have cross-training programs? As a whole, the peloton does have cross-training programs that aim to improve running (from 5K to marathon training), strength, and flexibility. All programs include a variety of different sessions from multiple class categories.

Not only that.

Many strength and cardio classes on the peloton app mimic the CrossFit workout with their intensity. HIIT and Tabata sessions include exercises done back to back where your heart rate goes up.

Peloton vs CrossFit

Now let’s look at some similarities, as well as differences between peloton and CrossFit.

The difference between the peloton and CrossFit is that peloton allows you to sample several different exercise types like yoga, cardio, strength, and meditation. It also provides the convenience of scheduling your workouts when you want from home.

On the other hand, CrossFit is a group class workout done with Olympic lifts, weight lifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning done in the facility that is depending on a set timetable.

Is peloton better than crossfit? As a whole, the peloton is better than CrossFit, especially for beginners because of the lesser complexity and lower injury rate. Olympic lifts and gymnastic exercises require skills and special attention from coaches. The peloton is much easier to get started and provides similar health benefits.

Studies have shown that indoor cycling is a viable way to improve aerobic capacity, blood pressure, lipid profile, and body composition, and requires minimum supervision (Chavarrias et al. 2019).

But that doesn’t mean CrossFit isn’t effective. This form of training is popular across the globe, even among the military, firefighters, and police staff.

In fact, the CrossFit method has started in military strength and conditioning training facilities and then later spread to the fitness centers (Poston et al. 2016).

So to decide peloton or CrossFit is really a matter of personal preferences, time available, people individual fitness level.

ProsCons
PelotonEasy to get started
No previous experience required
Include beginner-friendly tutorials
Can be done at home
Can be done anytime
Low injury risk
Online community
Doesn’t use sub-maximal weights
Doesn’t have access to a gym equipment
CrossFitProvides better results (advanced only)
Social support and strong community
Combination of multiple sports disciplines
Includes movements like pull-ups, rope climbing, or box jump
Can only be done in the CrossFit gym
Can only be done within the timetable
Requires constant supervision and coaching
Peloton vs CrossFit

As you can see, it all depends on what is your current fitness level and goal. I think the biggest setback for the peloton bike is that it doesn’t have any way to use all of the muscle groups in all planes of motion (pull-up and dip).

Peloton CrossFit Workouts

Now let’s look at some of the best peloton classes that can be used for cross-training and as an alternative to the CrossFit workouts.

#1 Full Body Bootcamp

Peloton full-body Bootcamp is a combination of resistance training and cardio in a unique way. In this session, you alternate 5-7 minutes of cardio on the bike (or tread) followed by 10-15 minutes of full-body circuit training using weights or bodyweight exercises.

Why full-body Bootcamp is like CrossFit? In general, the full-body Bootcamp is similar to CrossFit training because it has minimum rest between the exercises, which significantly increases the heart rate and challenges muscular endurance. It also targets both strength and stamina within one session.

What I like about full-body Bootcamp is it helps to increase metabolic rate in a relatively short amount of time because the classes last between 30 to 45 minutes.

I won’t cover here all the details about peloton Bootcamp workouts. I’ve already covered them in “peloton bootcamp“, which I recommend you read.

#2 HIIT Cardio

Peloton HIIT Cardio is a series of over 260 classes that are similar to P90X, Insanity, or CrossFit. What I like about those sessions is they require little to no equipment, which means they can be done almost anywhere from your peloton app.

Why HIIT Cardio is like CrossFit? As a whole, the peloton HIIT cardio is like CrossFit because it includes typical Crossfit exercises like plyometrics (jumping), calisthenics (bodyweight strength), and metabolic conditioning (burpees) all combined.

This class is short but it can be done as a part of the cross-training workout when you combine it with peloton rides or tread sessions.

You can check out the full list of “best peloton HIIT and tabata classes” here where I explain the benefits of doing high-intensity interval training.

Conclusion

Adding peloton rides to your existing CrossFit workout can be a game-changer, especially if you want to achieve better performance.

It may sound contrary to the common belief, but reducing the intensity and adding more low-impact rides can speed up the recovery and enhance overall performance.

Also, the peloton is a nice tool to add some variety and allows you to sample other forms of training like stretching, pilates, core strength, or even meditation.

Finally, multiple peloton classes offer high-intensity training. This means you don’t need to lift heavy weights to increase your heart rate and benefit from the training adaptations.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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