Imagine speeding away from the lights, taking on 'the big hill' and getting to the top without stopping or just getting to where you are going and feeling fresher.
We can all get cycling, it's not difficult, most people never forget how to ride a bike from being a child. Getting back onto a bike after some absence can be daunting though and one of the many things we get told here in the shop is that customers don't feel fit enough to tackle the hills in Sheffield. This can be helped by getting the right bike but also a few exercises can make a big difference to your riding, not only your endurance and strength but also your balance on the bike.
Joe C is our resident fitness expert with a BTEC ND in Sport he knows his stuff. He has put together here a series of exercises that everyone can do in the comfort of their home or down the local park. The whole routine should between 20 and 30 minutes. But do as much as you can, anything you do can make a big difference to your riding ability and confidence on the bike.
LETS GET STARTED!
This is a beginner's guide to getting bike fit and comfortable cycling to and from work. No matter what your level of fitness is this can help you tone your core, build strength in your legs and increase your cardiovascular stamina.
Every day bodyweight exercises for you to do with minimum space and equipment:
Your legs give you the power on your ride and these short exercises will help to increase strength and power allowing you to ride longer and quicker up them there hills.
If you're new to these sorts of exercises take care at first, you don't have to exhaust yourself and make sure you keep good form for as many reps as possible. The number of reps is dependent upon your level of fitness so use these only as guide initially.
1. Squats, a classic exercise to increase strength in the glutes and quads. Go as low as you can but make sure your legs don't go lower than level with the ground . Do this for 30 secs max effort 3 sets
2. Squat jumps, this improves power in your legs and really helps with getting up the hills and off from the lights. These can be quite intense, so take your time and make sure the expensive crockery isn't close by, floors can vibrate a lot with this one so may be best to do it outside. Feel like a child again jumping on your parents bed. Try to do 10-15 reps 4 sets
3. Lunges, one for the sowrdsmen and women in Sheffield, this really helps with balance and core stability while increasing leg strength. If you feel balance could be an issue put your arms out to the sides. Do 10-15 reps 4 sets
4. Side lunges, similar to the lune just to the side. Don't over stretch as groin injuries can be painful. Do 10-15 reps 4 sets
Total time 5mins*
The core helps you balance on a bike and shouldn't be neglected. Improving core strength allows you to maneouvre better and direct power into the pedals more efficiently so it's important to train this area.
5. The Plank, it can take a little bit of time to perfect this one and yet you're not moving. Keep your back as straight as possible and hold yours abs in for as long as possible. 30secs will help improve your core strength (perform these in-between sets of crunches).
6. Side plank, well this one doesn't take to much imagination but don't let your hips drop and swap sides , 30 secs each side (perform these in-between sets of crunches)
7. Reverse plank, its the plank again only backwards, this one can be easier but also can be done wrong too easily so watch your bum dropping, 1min or as long as you can hold comfortably.
8. Leg raise plank, the hardest we save for last, doing the reverse plank lift one leg up, hold for as long as comfortable then swap legs (good form essential)
9. Followed by a round of bicycle crunches 30 reps 3 sets
Total time 5mins*
Your lungs are your power supply and the more air you can process the longer you'll be able to ride for so improving your cardiovascular by doing other types of exercise can help.
10. 3min gentle jog warm up
11. 25m sprints - 6reps
12. Star jumps - 100reps
13. 2min medium pace jog/2min brisk walk (repeat for 12mins)
14. 4min fast jog
15. 2min cool down walk
Total time 20mins*
If you really want to improve your power or endurance then this routine should be done 3 times a week aiming to build strength and conditioning to your Legs and Lungs. Once progress is noticed it can be done everyday before or after work or on your dinner hour. Typically this routine shouldn't take longer than 30mins.
To keep these fresh you can play around with circuit training and weights. Introduce"supersets" as an extra test and why not train with a partner for confidence and motivation?
Let's see you on those roads clocking up the miles and smashing the Sheffield hills.
*If super sets are done this can cut down on time needed to complete routine. Super sets incorporate one exercise following another directly after. Only advised when you feel some gains have been made and you are comfortable to do so.