has anyone made observations the effects of unicycling on running coordination? I myself (Former active athlete) have the impression that I hit my center of gravity way better than during my active running carreer. It feels as if I use less energy for joggng at the same speed compared to last year, before I took up riding on one wheel.
Probably an additional unicycling training would make top track and field athletes better still. What do you think?
more muscle strength, especially in the core and inner/outer leg muscles (e.g. IT band). Many sports are limited to a few different movements (e.g. cycling) but unicycling requires all kinds of twisting and side-to-side muscle pressure/coordination thus using a large range of different muscles.
Actually, I personally would think the contrbution of the second factor of muscle training and large range of muscles is probably more significant. There aren’t many sports I can think of that train such a variety of muscles for strength and sudden unexpected super-high output (e.g. losing/regaining balance fore/aft and side-to-side). Although I have always been active and in a vaiety of sports, I feel for example that I am particularly good at handling UPDs on uneven rough rooty and rocky terrain also partly because of the stability gained from unicycling.
I agree that unicycling (especially muni) is probably a very good cross-training choice for many sports (running, skiing, volleyball, etc.). While I don’t think unicycling increases my vertical jump any it does seem to contribute to stability in volleyball. Likewise for skiing/snowboarding (although my calves don’t seem to get as much work in unicycling as they are about the only muscle that get sore from skiing/snowboarding – but the massive thigh-burning I used to get skiing seems to have disapated with unicycling).
I run regularly about 20 miles a week, and just started unicycling 5 months ago(2 months “falling” and 3 months riding ;o). Here are my issues:
1.) During the learning stages it “killed” my running with injuries: pulls, strains,…etc.
2.) Then “after learning” and riding the unicycle, but not efficiently. You know the “power stomping/balancing stage”. It felt like I was doing 100 meter sprints, and so I was developing a lot of strength. In fact, I thought “I need to do more 1/4 mile sprints and hill climbs”…if I want to keep on unicycling. Nah…of course…later…I learned to lean back and be more efficient. Extra power/muscles not needed for unicycling.
3.) The constant battle between “should I go for a ride? or should I do a proper 1 hr or 2 run?..” You can’t do both unless you have a lot of time and energy. Now, riding my unicycle has become more like a casual bike ride. No longer a real workout. Running is a workout, and riding my uni is now joy riding. Unless, you ride 2x as long as your run. I’ve always believed that 1 hr of running = 2 hrs on bicycle and now same for unicycle.
Now, I just got a new mtn uni…and I’m eager to hit the trails…maybe this can be more cardio challenging? Stand bye for more
I’ve recently got my inlines out again (and also been using quads and ice skating). Whilst I was fairly proficient before I’ve been surprised how quick my progress is (and I’ve also surprised a few others). It seems it can’t do any harm in terms of crossover skills and general balance for that - I’m now feeling I should put in some proper XC ski training again as that’s so much about good balance I might even actually be faster despite being much less fit than when I last raced.
I wish I could comment on running - learning to unicycle has pretty much coincided with my wind down from running, and for a while I’ve been barely able to run at all and tending to avoid to so that I can still do other stuff rather than being injured.
My winter sport is ice speed skating. I’m not sure how much cross effects exist between both.
What i’m pretty sure about is that unicycling helped me in two points while learning to speed skate:
General core strength - to be able to hold the typical bent over body body position for long time (I usually skate 30-36 km at once)
To learn the technique of gliding on the outer edge. (speed skates have no hollow grind but flat grind an thus have zero grip when standing right vertical on the ice). When I was first standing on speed skate blades I was not able to do even three or four steps without slipping away (although I could skate on freestyle blades pretty well at that moment). The learning curve with trying to achieve one step more every attempt reminded me of my first attempts on the unicycle. The experience of having learned to unicycle (and training kids every week) helped me to learn this technique that feels almost as complex as riding a unicycle
Ditto to the cross training between unicycling and roller blading. Last spring I would alternate between unicycling one day and rollerblading the next. My goal was to get better at muni; it worked out well, and I got great results.
I don’t know if it helps running. I’m one of those people that never run unless there’s an emergency, but I would guess diversity and cross training is good for lots of different athletic goals.
My advice is just to try it and see what happens. What do you have to lose? At worst, you’ll have a lot of fun unicycling!