Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Key Training Tips for Cyclists

Cycling is an odd sport, training wise. It’s so energy efficient that the activity itself has little aerobic benefit – so in order to train for it, it becomes necessary to add a large cross training element to the mix.

Respect the core 

The core muscles are the abdominals, laterals, lower back muscles and trapezius. Taken together, these muscle groups hold the whole body together (hence the name “core”). If they are not strong enough, the power held in your leg and arm muscles can never be properly delivered. Sit ups, oblique sit ups and core yoga postures are all excellent ways to increase core strength and unlock leg power.

Get your spine in the right line 

The spine is the central line from which all the major muscles in the body radiate. Cyclists often throw the line of their spin off by having too strong a back and not enough grunt in their abdominal muscles. It’s important to keep the stomach strong enough to counteract the fierce pull of the lower back muscles, which can be extremely developed in cyclists. Simple abdominal strengthening exercises include crunches and leg lifts.

Get into the gym 

Cycling effectively at speed requires large muscles in the shoulders, triceps and quads. Actual cycling will only develop the leg muscles – for the shoulders and triceps, it is necessary to add some extra oomph in the shape of the gym. Shoulder presses, axe man raises and overhead rope and pulley pulls all beef up the key muscles for good cycling in the full range of positions. It is recommended that you also add chest and bicep work into your routine, to counteract the development of the back and tricep muscles.

Test your power

It’s extremely common for cyclists to have more power in one side of their body than the other. You can assess where your power sits by doing some simple exercises. Try hip raises to see whether you hip flexors are working properly – in many cyclists these muscles can be compromise, which ultimately leads to imbalances in the way you ride. Full leg raises can counteract a problem with weak hips: or you can diagnose your weakest hip and work only on that side to bring it back in line with the stronger one.

Sprint training 

Sprint training helps the cyclist make the best use of the explosive power in his or her legs and torso. Ride as hard as you can for as long as you can, then slow all the way down to a creep until you have your breath back. Then do it all again until you have nothing left to give. Be aware that sprint training on a UK road can be quite dangerous, particularly in the dusk or just after dark. If you do get into an accident, and you believe that it was not your fault, you can always contact for the information you need to make a claim.

About the author:

The Author is a fitness expert and a keen cyclist. His personal blog page is visited by more than half a million unique hits every day, and his training tips have been published in some of the most respected fitness magazines and home pages in the UK. He lives in London.

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