Friday, January 18, 2008

Power Packed Workout to Start Your Engines!

As we come out of the off season, many of us may find it hard to get back into the swing of things. Fitting structured workouts back into the routine can prove to be just as much of an effort as the workouts themselves, so Angie Sturtevant, Director of Fitness at CycleOps, offers the following power packed hour:

No Time to Train?
Handle the Time Crunch With On/Off the Bike Circuit Training!

"Whether you are cycling for weight-loss, fitness or performance, cycling alone will not completely develop the muscles used while riding. The key fundamentals to success must go beyond simply tossing on riding miles and needs to incorporate cycling specific strength training into your total training program. Not only is strength training important for performance, but it is essential for health and longevity. But many people simply don't have enough time to squeeze all of the training needs in, due to their multiple, parent, spouse, home manager, pet owner, holiday season, multi-sport athlete, etc.

On & Off The Bike Circuit Training is a time-crunch effective approach to put in the training miles and hammer out the strength building reps in one training session. In general, circuit training is a valuable method to develop all around weight management and fitness, while cyclists can reap the additional rewards by incorporating exercises that evoke a significant positive transfer of strength to pedaling performance.

Circuit training sessions are structured as a series cycling intervals in succession with exercises performed off the bike, in between. The benefit is increasing the amount of motor units that fire during a muscle contraction to boost power, strength and muscular endurance, NOT muscle mass. This will improve neurological pathways in the central nervous system that control muscle use, educating muscles that they are building strength to move a bike…..not move a weight. Additional benefits include increasing metabolic rate & energy expenditure, improve mobility and core stability and reduce body fat. Plus, the variety prevents boredom and creates a fun training session, in a short duration of time.

To ensure appropriate training to meet your goals, the exercises selected should be particular to the movements that simulate cycling. Cycling specific exercises followed by cycling itself strengthens neurons, persuading muscles to take those amps of power and brute strength and use it to pedal the bike. This will ensure that your choices count, as you have developed a system based on specificity and the dynamics of the activity. The training transitions to cycling performance.

The optimal off the bike exercise choices would include the squat, leg press, lunge, step up and plyometric jumps. This training can include weights, cables, tubing, stability balls, machines or just your own body weight. If your goal is to develop power, focus on less weight and quick rate of the movement. For muscular endurance goals, use high repetitions. To develop brute strength, utilize hefty loads, moving the weight at a slow rate. Immediately after performing sets of the exercises get on the bike and perform an interval specific to your cycling target goal of strength, pedaling efficiency, high intensity training, boosting threshold or aerobic conditioning. The body then recognizes and retains muscle memory as to why the strength training is being applied, while achieving overall fitness benefits.


* 5:00 On The Bike Warm Up @ 50-60% Threshold Power @ high cadence.

* Off the Bike 1 Legged* Squats 2 Sets of 10 Reps, progressively increasing weight.

* 6:00 On The Bike Tempo @ 90% Threshold Power @ high cadence. Toss the legs easy for 1:00 prior to Tempo effort and 1:00 prior to getting off the bike.

* Off the Bike 1 Legged* Leg Press 2-3 Sets of 10 Reps progressively increasing weight with each set.

* 6:00 On The Bike Tempo @ 90% Threshold Power @ low cadence. Toss the legs easy for 1:00 prior to Tempo effort and 1:00 prior to getting off the bike.

* Off the Bike Step Ups* 2 Sets of 10 Reps progressively increasing hand-held weights with each set.

* 6:00 On The Bike Tempo @ 90% Threshold Power @ 1:00 high cadence and 1:00 low cadence, repeatedly. Toss the legs easy for 1:00 prior to Tempo effort and 1:00 prior to getting off the bike.

* Off the Bike 2 Sets of 1:00 Plyometric Jumps.

* 3-5 x 4:00 On The Bike Criss Cross Threshold @ 1:00s 70% Threshold Power; 2:00 90% Threshold Power; 1:00 above Threshold Power, repeatedly 3-5 times.

* 5:00 On The Bike Cool Down @ 50-60% Threshold Power @ high cadence.

Total training time to perform both strength and cycling = 60:00.

* Develop muscular balance and simulate cycling movement.

On & Off The Bike Circuit Training is an excellent time-crunch way to get both your strength and cycling training accomplished in the same session. There are numerous combinations you can create and incorporate into your program. This technique will assist in losing weight, reducing body fat, boosting fitness and cycling specific strength & power and instill in the body that the strength training is to transfer to cycling performance."

Angie Sturtevant
Specialists in Sports Performance

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