Whatever your level of road cycling, there’s always room for improvement. You may be happy with your recent times, but feel like you can step up to the next level, or you may have just started and are looking for ways to really push to reach your potential.
Either way, there are always various aspects to a training regime to really improve your performance.
Here’s our guide:
Working on your speed
Speed is of course one of the most important ingredients of an improvement to your cycling performance. The first step to doing this is to start on some weight training and plyometric exercises that develop the lower body muscles involved in cycling. Weight training exercise include squats, lunges, step-ups and deadlifts, whilst plyometric include squat jumps, box jumps, cone hops and depth jumps.
If you already do a lot of work in the gym and feel like you need an added
incentive to really boost your sporting performance on the bike, it’s also worthwhile looking into potential supplements such as creatine.
On beginning your workout, it’s vital that you use weights that are appropriate for each exercise. If you’re a little unsure on this speak to a gym instructor where you work out. Advice is vital at this stage as you want to rule out any potential injury risk. With plyometric exercises, begin by only using your body weight. Once your power improves you can add dumbbells to squat jumps and step-ups.
Train with stronger riders
We all push ourselves that little bit harder when training with stronger riders. Try and sit on their wheel as the pace pushes on or to stay with them for as long as possible on uphill climbs. If you ride with stronger riders, it will make you stronger.
Work on your weaknesses
Road cycling is so varied, to be a good rider you need to hone your complete skill set. But too often what do good sprinters do? Sprint, sprint, sprint. This can however, put them at a disadvantage on certain courses. Whilst it certainly pays to work on the areas you are good at, you should never ignore your weaknesses. To really improve your performance, you have to develop your weaker areas. Every cyclist – whatever their level – has the capacity to improve. It’s all about understanding the areas you need to work on. Then put the hours in.
This is a vital ingredient to any form of training regime. If you push yourself hard without any rest you can end up with an injury or burn out very quickly. Ample rest is vital. You may also wish to consider aiding this with supplements such as glucosamine.
Practice speed and jumps
Cycling in road races will always involve large numbers of accelerations. You need to be prepared to deal with this and incorporate it into your training regime, ensuring when it comes to race time you can not only deal with the quick accelerations, you can follow them too. If you do this, you’ll notice a stark improvement in your performance.
Bring a little variety
If all you do is ride a road bike, it can take a heavy toll on your body. This can affect both your performance and motivation levels. To stay fresh and fit, it’s important to keep things varied. Consider other options to fill your training time. If you really have to stay on a bike, try mixing it up with mountain biking or even a spinning class. Incorporate running or circuit training too. Remember it doesn’t just have to be competitive for you to feel the benefit.