Top 10 Cycling Training Tips
Top 10 Cycling Training Tips
Want to learn how to improve your cycling performance? Here are some cycling training tips to help you get the most out of your course.
Circuit training requires a lot of dedication, but there are other factors that can affect your performance and progress. Here are 10 top tips, including advice on gear and equipment, nutrition, hydration and training, to help you get the most out of your cycling training.
1 Set up your bike correctly
Trying to ride a bike that isn’t set up properly is like taking two steps forward and one step back. Everyone’s legs, arms and torso are different lengths, so going to a professional bike shop – where you can adjust the position of your saddle, stem and handlebars so the bike fits your body effectively – is A very worthwhile exercise. A thorough cycling fitness training can also help you improve your performance and ensure maximum efficiency.
2 Reduce the burden on
For commuting or any kind of bike touring, you may need to be able to carry enough load. The easy way to carry any load on your bike is…on the bike, not on you! If you’re carrying very light stuff, a small backpack will do, but otherwise it’s wise to invest in some panniers, handlebar bags or seat bags. There are some great bike-specific carry systems on the market that will make your journey easier.
3 The right kit makes a difference
A small investment in a few pieces of professional bike kit will be very useful. The minimum items are:
Absolutely must. Lightweight and well-ventilated, modern bicycle helmets can save your life in an accident. Cyclists are likely to be injured in any type of spill – so protecting your head should be your top priority. Why take the risk?
Fitted cycling shorts that are seamless and frictionless won’t necessarily increase your riding pleasure, but they will prevent soreness from repeated friction and should be a key item in your cycling wardrobe.
A set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit, tire levers, a spare inner tube and a pump or inflator will keep you going on the road. All you need to know is how to change a tire and fix a puncture, and you’re set.
Not for posing! Sunglasses are actually great for cyclists; they keep dirt, dust, flies and other debris out of your eyes, and if you choose a pair with interchangeable lenses, they can be used in low light conditions Improve your vision and eliminate glare and reflections.
4 Clipless pedals
Clipless pedals, you can “lock” your pedals with cleats attached to your shoes, which have a big impact on your pedaling efficiency as they allow you to pull up and push down. If you haven’t tried them before, start with toe clips that are easier to get used to, then try clipless shoes – after a while, you’ll wonder how you did it without them!
5 Avoid “Bunker”!
Lack of energy, or “going crazy” as it is often called, can reduce your ability to keep going! Cycling increases your energy needs, so keep your energy levels up by eating small, frequent meals and snacks on the go. On the bike, carb drinks can keep you energized—or you can try some bars or gels that are easy to eat in the saddle.
6 Hydrate properly while cycling
Regardless of the weather, your fluid needs will increase significantly while riding. The loss from exhalation and sweating reduces your blood volume, causing your heart to have to work harder. When you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so try to drink water or sports energy drinks sparingly and frequently throughout your ride. You can check the color of your urine to monitor your hydration between training sessions: a light straw color means you’re well hydrated, while a darker color means you need to drink more water.
7 Long ride
The foundation of all your cycling training should be your long rides. Ideally, do a long ride every week or two. Long rides will build up your stamina and allow you to use fuel more efficiently. “Long” means anything longer than your daily ride – so it’s recommended that you choose an hour or more, depending on your fitness and goals. Long rides are also a great opportunity to explore new areas and visit new destinations.
8 Try cycling intervals
To balance your long rides, try some fast-paced rides. Sessions can vary indefinitely, but basically you want to ride faster for a short period of time, say 10 minutes, followed by a recovery period, and then repeat a few faster efforts. Always do a good warm-up and cool down before and after training.
9 Build up your strength
Specific strength training will strengthen your riding ability, especially your legs, back and arms. The following exercises are key exercises to focus on, but should always be included in a fully balanced plan:
Leg Workouts: Gym exercises, such as leg presses and weighted squats, or lunges and bodyweight squats, are ideal for strengthening your legs.
Arm exercises: Biceps curls and triceps presses will strengthen your arms and maintain balance.
Back exercises: Dumbbell rows and lat pulldowns will focus on upper to mid-back strength, while back extensions will train the lower back.
10 Become flexible
A common problem encountered by cyclists is poor chest flexibility. The rounded shoulders position you use on the bike can lead to overstretching of the upper back muscles and tight chest, so try to spend a few minutes stretching after each ride. Include the chest each time, and ideally you should stretch your legs as well.
Other circuit training options
Sometimes the weather is bad, or it’s dark, or maybe you just don’t like outdoor bike training. However, there is no need to let your training slip, as there are several options:
The real thing is never as good – but as an alternative, a stationary exercise bike can still give you a good workout. Most have various programs to simulate hill climbing or interval training, which is a good option if you can’t hit the trails.
Bike or turbo trainer
An ingenious device that attaches to the rear wheel of your own bike, allowing you to train at home. Your bike is supported by a stand and the trainer has variable resistance.
Also for home use, the rollers don’t support you, so there’s an extra balance challenge during your training sessions – just like you’re outdoors.
A dynamic, group-based stationary bike spin workout that is often challenging but enjoyable and provides excellent training. Doing 60 minutes of training once a week is sure to improve your cycling fitness.
Fight the Plateau
It’s easy to get stuck in a training rut, especially when you’re spinning along the same routes time and time again. Be wary of spending too much time at that pace right between easy and challenging. Of course, if you’re building up endurance, this is exactly where you want to be. However, once you hit a certain level of fitness you will not advance beyond it, nor will you give your body adequate time to recover. This is what we call a training plateau. On your easy days, take it really easy. Then, on your hard days you will have a some gas in the tank to really challenge yourself.
Don’t Skip Rest Days
You can come to crave the rush of feel-good endorphins that the brain releases during exercise, especially cycling. But, when you’re training on a consistent basis, you actually put stress on your body and breakdown your muscles. Over time, and through combination of training and rest (periodization), your muscles are repaired to be stronger than before. This is when you begin to feel more fit and you can produce more power for longer on your bike. Although taking rest days may feel like taking a step backwards, you will do more harm than good if you don’t.
Train Your Brain
There are some major differences between pros and recreational riders, but it’s not all in the legs. Part of what separates us from the pros is mental toughness. A lot of us are guilty of allowing negative self talk to take over our minds as we ride. We acknowledge the pain or when the going gets tough, but it’s moving past it that takes some practice. The first step is taking control of this inner monologue and using it to your advantage. Implant some ‘power thoughts’ that help you focus long enough to drown out the negativity.
It’s true that the only way to get better at cycling is to spend more time on the bike, but cross training is a tool that many pros use to better their riding. Focusing entirely on one thing, like endurance, isn’t healthy. Cycling needs to be accompanied by other activities to keep the muscles and joints balanced. Weight training, strength exercises, running, and swimming are great ways to improve your bone density and the strength of connective tissues. Regular stretching or yoga is also necessary to keep the body balanced with a healthy range of motion.
Fuel your body properly
Eating right can be difficult at the best of times. Add regular exercise to the mix and it can be a balancing act that consistently replaces calories while ensuring you’re eating the right things. Nutrition is a sea of do’s and don’ts, and not everyone agrees on what these are. As cyclists, we need a balanced diet to feel our best while cycling. The easiest way to do this is to stick to whole, real foods rather than processed foods. For more information on cyclist nutrition, check out “Nutrition for Cyclists: The Basics.”
OK, that sounds obvious, but there are some easy ways to fix this. One of the most common times of the day to binge eat is at night. If you go to bed feeling full, then it’s a sign that you’re eating too much. Conversely, if you’re just a little hungry when you sleep (not greedy, just a little hungry), it can help you keep your weight off.
If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.