Step up your cycling: how to keep your bike game strong
But it’s not just cycling that will reap all the benefits of your extra training; you’ll also achieve a lean physique, as a growing set of muscles replaces fat.
Here’s our three step guide to stepping up your cycling game:
Concentrating on your core, glutes and hamstrings will help improve the power behind the pedals. A stronger body will not only make you less injury-prone, but will also stop fatigue in its tracks, especially on those tricky hill climbs.
- Planks: Get into a press-up position on the floor. Make sure you bend your elbows 90 degrees, with your weight on your forearms. Ensure your core is engaged, by sucking your belly button to your spine. Hold this position for 60 seconds, keeping your body in a straight line, from your ankles to your shoulders.
- Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms straight out ahead of you. Lower your body as far as it can comfortably go, bending your knees (without them going over your toes) and pushing your hips back. Rise slowly, and repeat 20 times.
- One leg press ups: Get into a normal press up position and lift one leg off the ground. Perform as normal on one leg 20 times before switching legs and repeating.
- Tricep dips: Start with your hands shoulder-width apart on a sturdy bench or chair. Extend your legs in front of you and hold your bodyweight off the bench or chair. Straighten your arms (with a slight bend in your elbow) and slowly lower until your elbows reach a 90 degree angle, keeping your back close to the bench. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly return to your starting position. Perform 20 reps, 2 or 3 times.
Want to practice indoors before you head out? Climb aboard a bike at the gym for a workout that runs through a mixture of fast-paced, light efforts and steep climbs, with plenty of resistance. This form of interval workout will challenge your body and prevent boredom - the time will fly by.
Aim for a 30 minute workout, starting with a five minute warm up. Then spend 20 minutes alternating between the two levels (light and fast/steep and heavy), before finishing with a four minute cool down.
Don’t forget to fill your iPod with upbeat tunes to keep you pumped and in rhythm.
Boost your performance even further with a nutrient-rich diet which is tailor-made for cycling.
Before you hit the road, it’s best to fuel your body with carbohydrates - both the evening before and during breakfast (at least two hours before you cycle).
For your evening meal, how about a fish and mediterranean vegetable pasta? Low in GI, the dish will provide a slow release of energy. Then, in the morning, opt for a hearty bowl of porridge topped with fresh berries.
Post-cycle, you need to ensure you consume 20g of protein an hour to aid recovery, as well as a good dose of carbs to boost your energy. Nothing beats a plate of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on granary toast.