Just when you think you're tough enough


Why Track cyclist Shane Perkins is using CrossFit to train for the Olympics

Did CrossFit hone Shane Perkins's muscles into winning his 4th National Keirin title in Australia? Image from Twitter
Did CrossFit hone Shane Perkins’s muscles into winning his 4th National Keirin title in Australia? Image from Twitter

Shane Perkins recently won his 4th National Keirin title for Track Cycling at the Cycling Australia Track National Championships on a thrilling day of racing. Question is, did CrossFit hone Shane Perkins’s muscles into winning his 4th National Keirin title in Australia?

“That’s definitely one of the most satisfying wins I’ve had in my career,” said the 29-year-old Perkins, admitting this was one of the best performances of his career.

With Perkins gunning for a second Olympic Games birth with selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Perkins hopes he has done enough to impress the selectors.

“We’re all fighting for Rio,” he remarked. “We all know we’ve got to go out there and prove to the coaches and the staff that we’ve earned the right to be there. Jacob (Schmid) and Pete (Lewis) are in great form so for me it was great to get a win. It shows I can still do it.

Image from video
Image from video

Having come from the world of cycling, why would Perkins be associated with CrossFit lingo like WOD, AMRAP, Fran and EMOM? If you think it sounds a little strange, it is. Perhaps just as strange as the cycling subculture.

But there’s no doubt about it: CrossFit is polarising. It has its own culture and the people who do it can be fanatical about it. If you don’t know anything about it, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s one of the strangest ‘sports’ on earth.

So why is track sprint cyclist and Olympic hopeful Shane Perkins using CrossFit for his build up to Rio?

After not renewing with the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), Perkins has had to find his own structure and training routine. After his wife Kristine Bayley (former professional sprint cyclist) began CrossFit, he was intrigued when he saw how much she enjoyed it.

“When I had the chance to have a little time off [from cycling] I thought I’d jump in and do some classes with her. That’s when the bug of CrossFit started for me. I couldn’t get away from it,” Perkins told CyclingTips.

Image from video
Image from video

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that aims to develop a broad base of fitness. High intensity, varied workouts with a focus on functional movements is the goal, rather than highly specific exercises like cyclists are accustomed to. It involves a combination of Olympic lifts, basic gymnastics, high intensity cardio. It’s done in groups and includes both an individual element, and sometimes an element of competition with your peers.

When asked what he likes so much about CrossFit, Shane said:

“The biggest difference for me is the community. Everyone pushes you, sometimes people jump in and train with you. It makes it that much more fun.

Image from video
Image from video

“There’s no one set path with CrossFit. There’s so many different elements to it. One of those things is the gymnastics – I’ve never experienced any of that in my whole life. It’s something I’ve never done before so it’s really refreshing to me to be able to do it, because I’ve been riding for such a long time it’s inevitable that things at some point are going to go a bit stale.

“There’s lots of lactic training in the gym, which I’ve never really done before. Most of the stuff I’ve done is more of the power lifting and heavy lifting sort of stuff. It’s opened up a whole new avenue for me. It makes the bike riding the easy part.

“The CrossFit for me has become an integral part because I’ve seen what it can do for my training. I kind of feel like my eyes were closed a little bit”.

Source:CyclingTips and Cycling Australia.