Friday, September 14, 2012

3 Ways to Improve Your Cycling While Away From the Bike

Obviously, the best way to get better on the bike is to ride your bike under a training plan. However, the reality is that many of us spend more time in an airplane seat than on the bike seat. So, when you are on the road, what sort of exercise can you do that will also benefit you when you actually get on the road?

Here are three ways, even on a limited time schedule, to improve your cycling while traveling. A good workout session of 30 to 40 minutes, either in the weight room or your hotel room is a good start.
  • Strength training - It is important during the season that you pay attention to overall muscle maintenance. Two sets of 10 to 15 reps will make a difference for you.
    • Lower body lunges (and if you want to ratchet it up a little make these what I knew in high school were called mountain climbers).
    • Push ups
    • Chairs - I cannot think of what this exercise is called. What you do is place your back flat against a wall and then begin bending your knees until your knees are bent 90 degrees (like a chair). Keep you back flat against the wall and do this until fatigue. Take a three to five minute break and repeat. I would recommend doing no more than three or four of these since your quads will feel it in the morning!
  • One or two core exercises - Your core muscles provide the key link between your upper and lower body. Your core muscles also provide a solid base of support to ensure an efficient delivery of power to the pedals. Two exercises that I recommend are planks and crunches. Focus on control and form.
  • Flexibility - The muscles that cyclists typically need to stretch out are hamstrings, the lower back, calves, achilles, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors, shoulders and neck.
In doing these exercises, you will find yourself riding stronger and reduce training-related injuries. Let me know if you have questions. Comments, thoughts, feedback is always welcome!

Also, I will be at Interbike next week. It is the largest cycling-industry event in North America. If you are going to be there, let me know. I'd love to meet up with you!

- Mark

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