10 Ways To Stay Fit For Bikeriders
Winter is coming closer and closer, and therefore it can be hard to get the training done if the weather isn’t as nice as it was back in the summertime. However, it is actually rather easy to stay somewhat fit with just 10 different and easy exercises listed below. But they can also be done during the season, because they will make your body more prepared for longer and faster rides.
Most bikeriders have pretty tight calves due to a lack of fitting exercises, which does make squats a bit tricky to do squats the right way. But there is a way to make this easier, and squats is a really great tool to get bigger legmuscles.
But try to elevate the heels about 5 cm above ground. It can be done by placing some plates from the gym (if you are doing it at a gym) at your feet. Books and magazines can also be used if it is done at home. It will allow you to go deeper on the squats with an upright torso (very important to prevent backinjuries with weights on your shoulders). The deeper you can go, the better, but never go so deep that you will get problem to get yourself up again.
Try to keep the feet parallel, and do three sets of 12 repetitions. The weight that should be used, would need to be no bigger or smaller than making the 12th repetition a very hard experience, but still not impossible. If you only can do 11, then there is too much weight being used.
Cycling is not always just legs. A strong core helps with a good posture, and will especially make you stronger when you are out of your saddle, putting some power in the pedals.
Here a simple exercise called “plank” would be enough to do. All you have to do is to lie chest-down on the floor, pushing yourself up to your elbows (kept beneath your shoulders), and tuck your toes under. Try to hold this position for as long as possible, demanding your coremuscles to be activated for a longer period of time. It is actually a harder exercise than it sounds. The best thing about this, is that it can be done everywhere; outdoors, at home, and even under your working desk.
When riding on rough surfaces like cobbles or in the forrest on your mountainbike, the back of your arm does take quite some hits. So keeping your triceps strong is a great way to prevent soreness and fatigue from happening and making your ride a better experience.
To do this, try the tricep dips. Place your hands behind you, and make the fingers pointing forwards on a bench, step, or block. Keep the knees along with the tighs parallel to the ground meanwhile doing this. Then bend the elbows until your bottom almost touches the ground. Then extend the elbows and lift yourself back up again. Do the 12 times, rest for 60 seconds, and do it again.
Lower backache is something several bikeriders experience, due to the position you are more or less stuck in, when riding a bike. Combine that with a trip for 2 hours+ and your back is not having the time of its life. But don’t worry, there is help!
This is due to the back becoming tired. The muscles on your back cannot keep up with the watts your legs throw at them (Remember that the Watts you put in your pedals also goes into your back because of Newton’s 3rd law, Action = Reaction).
To prevent this from happening, I will recommend you to perform so called weighting row movements with kettlebells or dumbbells. Try to stand with your feet a hip-distance between each other. Then bend down until your torso is close to be parallel with the floor. It can be difficult for not-so-bendy people to do this, so just try to get as close as possible if you cant. Just make sure that your back is straight, and the shoulder are pulled back into their sockets. From here, tilt the pelvis slightly forward so that the hips point upwards a little bit. Then hold the weights in either hand and bend the elbows, while the arm is being pulled up until the weights touches your chest. Then extend the arms and repeat this with three sets of 12 repetitions, with 60 seconds of rest in between. The weights should be heavy enough so the last repetition will be pretty hard to perform.
Intervals is everything when it comes to training. You can increase your cardiovascular fitness extremely fast by adding intervals to the training. Just start with basic repetitions of 60 seconds where you are going about 80% of your maximum effort. Then do 60 seconds with around 40% of your maximum effort. This should then be repeated.
It is very efficiently done during spinning on a stationary bike or a hometrainer, at home or the gym. Spinning classes usually have intervals in their training sessions. It can also be added to your normal training, by making hill-sprints, or pushing/sprinting from a certain distance before a citysign.
Professional ironman coach Pat Leahy is stating that at least one trainingsession every week should be a very hard power session. This is preferably done on a stationary bike or on the hometrainer, where you know you can push as hard as possible, without the thought of being 10 km from home when you have pushed yourself to the max.
It can be done in many ways, but try to do 4 to 6 minutes on high resistance. Then take one to two minutes of recovery. Try to repeat this about 4 times, and build it up each week, in order to get stronger.
For riders whom does races, this will help a lot to keep up in the parts where the race is being hectic and everyone seems to go at max. If you can withstand this part of a race, you will be more likely to win a sprint or go into a successful break away.
This was already mentioned at the intervals, but it is a pretty neat and incredibly effective way of training. Find a hill in your area that is both long and hard enough to keep you challenged when sprinting from the bottom to the top. Set yourself a goal to do this a number of times (for example 5), and then do it. When you have done it, just roll down the hill until you hit the bottom and repeat it. This way your pulse should be lowered enough to do it a few more times without maxing the pulse out for 5 minutes in a row. It will make you a much better sprinter on the long run, and it can be added to your everyday training easily.
Just like your calves probably are a bit tight due to the cycling, your hamstrings also get tight if this is the only type of exercise you do, unless you stretch out for 5 minutes after every training, which 99,99% of people reading this article, aren’t doing. A great and easy way to stay flexible is to do a few yoga sessions every week. In warm temperatures it will be better, so your muscles aren’t cold when performing it. Warm muscles prevents injuries and makes the stretching a lot safer.
Resting is just as important as training
Just face it, resting is very important in order to get anything out of your training. Take at least one to two days off every week. When you train, you break down the mitochondria-fibers (aka microfibers) in your muscles. When you body rebuilds them, they become stronger, and you will experience it as increased strength (Isn’t evolution just great?). But the mitochondria’s demand rest in order to be rebuild efficiently and quickly. So if you train too hard, too long, and too much every week, you will not experience any improvements, compared to taking a few days a week off from training. This also helps you to stay positive on the training, instead of going dead due to a trainingsession every single day.
You are what you eat
As well as resting, eating is very important. The mitochondria-fibers will also rebuild a lot faster, if you eat the right stuff. Eat regular meals and healthy snacks, consuming something every 3 to 4 hours, in order to keep an intake of energy flowing all the time. Vegetables, fruit, and meals consisting of proteins, along with slow-release carbohydrates is the ultimate things you can eat.
Written by René