Forget The Gym To Be An Elite Triathlete or Stronger Cyclist

These are Four Crucial Tips that apply whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, whether you are a top triathlete or a new Cyclist contemplating some testing sportives. We have learned our training methods through many hours and days riding with some of the world’s top riders. Here is a brief summary of the points that we feel really matter. Keep a regular eye on for a wide range of other training and nutrition tips and subscribe for regular updates.

It’s important to keep your own training and eating diary too, for every day’s activity and calorie consumption. You can consider these four new tips as golden rules – and if you try to just break ONLY one rule per week, then you WILL become a fitter cyclist. Just one rule though. If some rules seem very simple for you, that’s fine – just keep a mental note of the rules that you think work for you.

1. Forget sweating with others at the gym

Seriously, unless you want to emulate Sir Chris Hoy, there is hardly any need to build bulk with weight training. And any other form of light gym work or cross training soon become very boring, irrelevant for your attempt at Elite Cycling Fitness, or downright harmful – if you fail to adequately warm up and stretch your muscles correctly. It can be even worse, if you go to the Gym infrequently, that’s less than twice a week. There really is only one substitute for extra kilometres out on your bike – that’s time spent on your home bike trainer, or spinning. Otherwise a good course of yoga is recommended, to allow you to develop your stretching and relaxation abilities. But what about improving road sprinting power? There are many other road-based options for training to sprint well, so look out for our advice on Sprint Interval Training and our profiles of the world’s Top Road Sprinters.

2. Keep high pedalling revolutions with a cadence on low gears

This is so important for your long-term endurance. But also on every training ride. Low gears and high cadence will mean you fatigue more slowly and can dance up hills out of the saddle, even at the end of a two or three hour ride. This should be on ratios of around 42 x 15 or 43 x 16 for flat tempo riding.

3. Save the big chain ring for competition and interval sprint training

We never recommend much training in big gear ratios. It can quickly cause knee problems and muscle strain. You should always be able to retain a high cadence and feel a supple “suplesse” pedaling action, while training. Then, when you are racing, and need to keep that cadence, but on higher gears, your legs will be ready and more prepared. The exception is interval training – a great 40 minutes of cardio intervals, sprinting (on quite roads with no side entrances) for trees, 250-350m ahead, in a gear of 53 x 14 or 52 x 15, will build the speed that you would need for shorter criterium racing. Do this about every two minutes with easy soft-pedaling in between. Use sharp corners, to get your legs used to the pain of jumping hard from dropping to a low speed. This is one of several forms of training we will share with you, to make you a much stronger road sprinter..

4. Take ALL your body’s signals VERY Seriously

As a serious cyclist you are pushing your body. Regularly you are pushing your heart and lungs and legs into areas of fatigue that normally improve your fitness, but sometimes cause levels of strain or fatigue that you should heed and respect. Overtrain and your body will pay you back. Don’t stretch and warm up properly before interval training and you can easily pull a muscle. Check your waking, morning pulse and recognise when it is higher than average. Then make that day a rest day. Respond to aching knees or strains by immediately checking your riding position with an experienced coach; plus remember to check the alignment of your pedal cleats and riding shoes. If you regularly suffer chronic lower back pain, learn the relevant yoga stretches, for before and after your rides. In training, spend more time riding out of the saddle and lower your gears. But see your doctor, chiropractor and sports physiotherapist * and deal with the causes rather than the symptoms.

Also try to get at least thirty minutes of massage therapy, when your muscles are sore, to improve blood flow to the sore muscle tissue and release micro-adhesions associated with muscle repair. This can be a painful technique to reduce soreness. But no pain no gain applies here too! Ask your senior teammates or doctor to recommend a good sports physiotherapist. Make sure you get at least eight to 10 hours of sleep to help with muscle recovery. Muscles that have been adequately repaired will not be sore. The body repairs itself best at night and important hormones are triggered, to signal repair to muscle tissue. Failing to get eight to 10 hours will decrease the hormonal response and recovery will be slower. This means the muscle tissue will be sore for much longer.

For cycle racing training and cycling fitness coaching and to train and feel fit like an Elite Bike Rider, when doing bike riding exercise, check out Elite Cycling Fitness Training For Endurance Get Training Tips, Health Advice, Nutrition, Triathlon Training Plans, Endurance Training Programmes and Weight Loss information for keen cyclists even if you want information on cycling for beginners.

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