Summer is right around the corner and the road bikes for sale signs popping up everywhere will have any keen cyclist excited to get back on two wheels. But after a long Winter of little riding, you might notice that your fitness isn’t quite what it used to be.
When our time is precious, we want the time we do spend working out to give us the maximum results possible, and while cycling for long periods means slowly and gradually plodding towards a steady upshot in stamina over the course of months, here are three exercises that will help you get back to your peak level of fitness as quickly as possible.
Having been traditionally neglected as an exercise for cyclists, weight training is actually a brilliant exercise for cyclists looking to raise their stamina.
The two most fundamental exercises for building leg muscles for cycling are also two of the simplest – lunges and squats.
In order to achieve rapid progress, you should try to go as heavy as possible with the weights you use, and do as many reps as possible before you achieve ‘failure’. Keep in mind that you should only carry out weight training workouts 2 or 3 times a week, as muscles need at least 48 hours to recover fully.
Interval training, or Tabata is a hugely time efficient was to build up your fitness, with studies suggesting that just 20 minutes HIIT gives you the equivalent benefit of 2 hours of steady riding.
Named after its creator, exercise scientist Izumi Tabata, Tabata intervals are perhaps the most brutal. They involve sprinting for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of coasting. Repeat 6-8 times for a dramatic boost in your ability to sustain speed.
Vital in increasing threshold pace, attack intervals demand that you ride as hard as possible for 3 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of recovery at an easy pace. Repeat twice for a total of 3 sets.
As the name suggests, you need to ride hard in a medium to large gear for 40 seconds, followed by a 20 second recovery. Repeat these steps a total of ten times; making a single set. Complete 4 sets with a 5 minute rest between each set for increased muscular endurance.
Post-activation potentiation (P.A.P) is the brainchild of legendary sports training expert Tudor Bompa, and involves combining both heavy weight training and interval training.
Bompa discovered that the stimulation of the central nervous system and the preparation of connective tissues associated with heavy weight training was a valid way to prepare for interval training.
Combining 40 minutes of heavy weight training with 20 minutes of interval training allows you to achieve an even greater overload, resulting in rapid improvements.