Are you already looking forward to this season’s next bike tour? Or are you planning your first outing on two wheels of the year? To prevent you from exhaustedly standing at the side of the road on your very first ride of the season, we have prepared a 6-week-long training program that will get your legs back into shape in no time.
The winter break was long
It can take a while to get your bike ready for use again. Given the capricious spring weather, you might oftentimes ask yourself whether the time to get your bike out has come or if the weather will get worse again. Once you’ve decided that the time is right to start cycling again, you’re at an advantage if you stayed active during the winter, e.g. by skiing. Winter-induced couch potatoes on the other hand must get their body and their cardio-vascular system used to the unfamiliar stress of exercise. Make sure you don’t underestimate this and prepare thoroughly for your first rides after the winter break, even if you’re already very motivated to get back in the saddle.
Attention: Usually, one’s motivation is higher than one’s ability to pull off a long-distance ride, especially if the weather is great for the first time after the winter break. Pushing yourself too hard can easily lead to injuries.
The first workouts – build your strength back up
Before you head out on your first big tour, you should get your “rusty” muscles moving again. In the three weeks before your first ride, you should start doing this training 2 or 3 times a week at home.
Warm-up: Hip mobilisation, 3-4 repetitions per side; lie down on the floor with your arms stretched out to the side. Move one leg over your body and try to get it to touch the floor on its opposite side.
Exercise 1: Squats, 3×15 repetitions; start in a standing position and bend your knees to go into a squat. Keep your arms crossed in front of your body and make sure your back stays straight.
Exercise 2: Calf-raises, 2×20 repetitions; stand upright, lift your heel and lower it again.
Exercise 3: Burpees, 1×4-8 repetitions; start in a standing position and go into a squat, then into a push-up and back into a standing position. Do a straight jump before starting the exercise again. Pay attention to keeping your movements fluid.
Exercise 4: Bridge, 2×6 repetitions; lie down on your back with your palms on the floor next to your head and your feet touching the floor. Lift your pelvis and push your buttocks upwards while your head remains on the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and lower your pelvis again.
Gentle endurance session at the end: 20min cycle ergometer or 10min rope skipping.
Slowly increase the intensity without overdoing it
Having slowly reactivated your muscles again, you can start doing training sessions outside your home in the next three weeks. At the beginning, it doesn’t matter how you build your stamina back up, valid options include e.g. hiking, running or swimming. The advantage of a diverse training is that you’re not exhausting yourself as quickly as the different types of workouts put a strain on a variety of muscles. Slowly increase the intensity of your workouts and make sure to give yourself time to rest between training sessions. Especially in the first weeks of training, it is common to be highly motivated, so you might need to slow down a bit. It is ideal if you manage to train a little more every week while making time for a more relaxed regeneration phase every 2 to 3 weeks.
- Plan your start into the cycling season 6 weeks before your first big ride
- Be systematic: start by doing strength and stabilisation training followed by moderate endurance training
- Don’t overdo it at the beginning and plan regeneration phases (2 weeks of workouts, 1 week with less training)
- You can also improve your stamina with alternative training
- Especially at the start of the season, training with a pulse watch can be helpful to prevent you from overexerting yourself (you can determine your optimal range for training using a lactate test)
- Include technical training in your first short rides. Pedal at 90 rotations/minute to improve your pedal stroke and save your strength
- Short sprints during your ride improve your strength (3-4x per training for about 30 seconds)
- Don’t forget to get your bike ready and do some much needed maintenance
Exemplary training plan
After having already done 3 weeks of strength and stabilisation training:
Monday: 20min of strength and stabilisation training
Tuesday: 30min of running or swimming for endurance
Wednesday: 20min of strength and stabilisation training and 30-45min relaxed riding with a cadence of 90+ rotations/minute
Friday: 45-60min ride with 3-4 30 second long sprints
Saturday: 20min of strength and stabilisation training
Sunday: 60-120min ride (start with 60min and increase the length of your ride by 15min each week)
Have you already started into the cycling season? 🚴🏻
Let us know in the comments!
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