Basic Bike Training


Upper Body Exercises

Trunk Exercises

Leg Exercises

General Workout

Biking Fitness: Cross Training and Strengthening

When setting up a sport-specific training program, remember the principle of specificity: if you want to improve at a particular activity, you need to train at that activity. So if you want to become a better biker, you need to bike. Sounds like common sense, but there are many people who do anything BUT the activity. Yet on the other hand, you can improve your biking performance by cross-training in other areas.

Weight training helps strengthen your body for the abuse that occurs in biking, whether falling off your bike, taking big drops, or just hammering down on the trail. Weight training thickens your tendons, and toughens the tendon's attachment to bone. This is important for injury prevention.

Specific exercises, such as knee curls for the hamstrings and biceps femorus, knee extension for the quadriceps, and push-offs for the gastrocnemius, have a direct carryover to bike climbing and sprinting.

To get good results from weight training you need to do it at least 3 times a week. Often, there isn't time to work out. So you think, if you work twice as hard, you can make up for those missed sessions. Unfortunately, your body only changes with consistent stimulation. That means, a great day at the gym will be beneficial only if it's followed by two months of the same. Then you'll see a difference. After working as a strength coach and personal trainer for years, I can tell you this is the biggest hurdle: being patient while waiting for gains and sticking to a program. If you'll do that, you'll have success.

Secondary Sports

Participating in other non-bike activities is great, too. Other sports can keep your mind fresh, so you're less likely to get biking burnout. And by participating in another sport such as basketball, tennis, or gymnastics, you "round out" your body's ability. Let me explain: When biking on the flat, all of your body's effort is oriented in a front-to-back direction. Your side-to-side muscles aren't getting trained. When you hit that root and are thrown sideways to the ground, your crosstraining in gymnastics will pay off as you roll to a stop amidst the dead leaves and horse biscuits.

Crosstraining also helps you focus. Whether playing basketball with the boys or a competitive match of tennis with the neighbor, you gain coordination and flexibility. Your body learns to respond to the stresses of fatigue, heat, and taunting (well, in our games, at least). Games that require quick reaction teach your brain and body to react to the new situations that pop up on the trail.

Putting it Together

Let's talk about programs. One of the most important things is balance. Maybe you know a guy at the gym who has a a huge chest and arms, and is always working on them, but his legs would look right at home on a twelve-year old girl? He doesn't understand that all the muscles in our body have opposites -- muscles that do the opposite thing. If you don't train these opposing muscles equally hard, you'll not only look funny, but you won't function correctly and will be risking injury and health problems. So when you work out, include exercises that strengthen the opposite group. Examples: bench press vs. seated row; pull-ups vs. military press; arm curl vs. triceps press-down. Maintain balance.

Without getting too long-winded: It's important to have variety as well as intensity. Variety is the spice of life. It's important to mix up your routine. But don't think you need to do a new program every week. Typically it's good to maintain a program for 3 to 8 weeks, while you vary the weight, number of repetitions, and the order of the exercises.

Click Here for Page 3: Upper Body Strengthening


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