Taking your bike indoors
For many cyclists, one of the best bits about cycling is being in the great outdoors but, at this time of year, wet, icy and snowy conditions often make this a difficult and often unsafe activity. Which is why transferring your cycling to the gym during the winter months is a good idea.
Of course, you are highly unlikely to do a two-three hour long ride in the gym. This would be both mind-numbingly dull and probably annoy other users if it is a busy period but, there are ways that you can get a great, and exhausting cycle workout in the gym, in a much shorter time frame.
Get ready for summer
Doing a regular high intensity workout on the exercise bike or in a spin class is a great way to raise fitness levels, release hormones and get yourself ready for some serious summer cycling. By increasing resistance, you can mirror hill climbs and by pushing yourself in speed sessions, you can get your legs ready to really pump out some miles once the fine weather returns.
Pyramid training is one of the most effective ways of getting a really good work out on a bike without taking hours to do so.
Here is just one exercise bike session that is guaranteed to make your legs and lungs burn and give your cardio vascular system a thorough work-out. Judge your own resistance level – it needs to be high enough to make your work hard but light enough that you can actually get the legs going at a good speed. (120rpm for short sprints, more than 100rpm for longer intervals).
Warm-up with steady cycle for 10 minutes.
6 x 15 second flat out sprints with 1 minute recovery cycle between each rep.
6 x 30 second flat out sprints with 1 minute recovery cycle between each rep.
6 x 60 seconds (100rpm or higher) with 1 minute recovery cycle between each rep.
4 x 90 seconds (100rpm) with 2 minute recovery between each rep.
2 x two minutes (100rpm) with 2 minute recovery between each rep.
1 x 3 minutes (100rpm)
10 minute steady cycle to warm down.
The whole set takes just over an hour and should be followed by some light stretching, particularly in the lower back and hips as these areas will have taken quite a battering.
The biggest challenge in these pyramid sessions, is to keep motivated to really do all out time trial efforts. It’s easy to back off slightly and not go as fast as you can. At times when you feel like flagging, think of the benefits that a pyramid training session will bring:
- You can judge your efforts to ensure that you always work to your full intensity, knowing that you have a break.
- Pyramid training really encourages you to work to your limits, thereby pushing your ability to train through pain to new levels.
- Pyramid training overloads the muscles and cardiovascular system. This means these systems have to adapt to cope with the workload and so you get fitter as a result.