Cycling workouts are a great way to develop cardiovascular health. It is also suitable for fitness levels of all kinds. There are cycling workouts for beginners, as well as cycling workouts for the intermediate and advanced individuals. For those that bike outdoors, cycling workouts also afford you the benefits of seeing nice views and vistas while you travel along your chosen bike paths. Outdoor cycling workouts can be exhilarating and fun as you can do this in groups while enjoying all the benefits of biking in an open-air environment. If this is not for you, stationary cycling workouts are also all the rage in gyms across the country.
Cycling training workouts are a particularly good choice for aerobic exercise that can be grueling, but is low impact on the joints. Compared to running, you have much less stress on your leg joints and hips since you are not pounding the pavement with your weight. Beside this, you also give your quadriceps a great workout. Let’s take a look at some cycling workouts both outdoor and indoor that you could give a try.
Outdoor Cycling Workouts
The key to achieving a good workout, as with any kind of aerobic routine is to adopt intervals. Push hard, go easy, push hard, and go easy. That’s basically the routine. Let’s see how we adopt that to cycling outdoors. The key is also to find a nice route, or if not a nice track where you can cycle unhampered. When on public roads always remember to obey traffic rules and stay only in the bike lane. Follow all traffic signs and make clear use of universal hand signals. Also adopt a defensive attitude, anticipating any surprise moves from motorists so you are not caught off-guard. Having all these precautions top-of-mind, let’s get started.
Use the first 5 to 10 minutes of your cycling to warm-up. Go into low gear and just pedal at a moderate pace until you break a sweat. Make sure you do not tire your legs. Warm-ups have been shown to prevent injuries by flexing your natural range of motion and improving muscle suppleness. You also get to prime your entire body with fresh oxygen.
Compute your maximum heart rate by deducting your age from 220. Now cycle at 80 to 85% of that figure for around 10 minutes, and then go at a slower pace for around 5 minutes to recover. Repeat this cycle, but each time going for more intensity, targeting a maximum of 90 to 95 % of your maximum heart rate. Always allow yourself a 5 to 7 minute recovery time of a slowed down pace. Repeat for around 5 to 7 intervals.
Try to incorporate uphill terrains to build the strength of your quadriceps. Find hills that will require around a minute to a minute-and-a-half to climb. As you descend use low pedal gears. Sit at first when you climb your first incline, sit halfway for your second, and stand for your third ascent. This will progressively challenge your legs.
Indoor Cycling Workouts
Do this routine to develop leg speed for those quick explosive sprints on the bike.
o Perform four 60 second fast-pedal intervals: Use a light gear and as fast a pace as possible. Make your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) low. Recover for 120 seconds between efforts.
o Pedal 5 minutes in a leisurely pace.
o Perform 10 – 12 intervals of 30 seconds pushing/30 seconds recovering. The “pushing” parts are 95 percent effort (RPE 9 to 9.5) at as fast a pedal pace as possible. Stand or sit as you feel it is needed. For the “recover” parts, spin easily.
o Do up to 20 of these
o Simulate climbing uphill by raising the front wheel of the bike
o Pedal for 10 minutes at a rate you can do for 60 minutes. Every two minutes, stand and go all out for around 10 – 15 pedal strokes.
o Go easy for around10 minutes at the rate you can maintain for about an hour.
o Repeat this 3 – 5 times
The Right Equipment
First of all, get a decent bike. Depending on your budget, there are lots of models to choose from. First determine the kind of outdoor biking you will be doing, as there are different types of models built for different terrains.
Road bike: Obviously these are bikes meant for the pavement. If you don’t plan on any off road kinds of treks, choose this model. Price range is anywhere from $700 to $10,000.
Mountain bike: While this is obviously meant for off road use and punishment, there is nothing to stop you from using a mountain bike on pavement. Mountain bikes are also very durable choices, which can take a variety of terrain. They may not be a fast as road bikes, but they are extremely rugged. Price range for these bikes is from $200 to $3,000.
Hybrid bike: This combines the best of both worlds, and allows riders to ride sitting up straight, rather than leaning forward. Price range for a decent hybrid bike is from $300 to $2,000.
Buy a decent helmet and ask the help of a sports store representative on the clothing options you have.
Choose clothes that absorb moisture well since you will be sweating a whole lot. Get athletic gear that has good breathability. Regular athletic rubber shoes will hold up fine. There really is no need to get special cycling shoes. Bring lots of water so you get to hydrate before, during, and after the spinning sessions. Also take a couple of towels with you. A nice investment would also be a good heart monitor so you see your progress. Also try to arrive early so you get to sign-up and reserve a bike.
If cycling workouts is your pick for cardiovascular and aerobic health, you have made a good choice. Make sure you read-up some more and ask questions about it from cycling enthusiasts so you get to be a more informed cyclist.