If you're hooked on spin classes or outdoor cycling, you're onto a good thing for your fitness. But to really get the most from your ride, you might want to consider mixing it up to ensure any underused muscle groups are strengthened.
Regular cross training can give you more speed, power and stability while you're on the road and stepping out from the cycle of being on wheels can do you much good. Here are some of the best activities to complement your cycling.
Swimming involves both strength training and cardio activity, and is a low-impact all body workout. It's a good way to stay fit through a cycling injury and can take you through recovery from a recent hard ride as you are supported by water, which means there is zero impact on your body.
It helps cyclists as it aids in the build of a strong core and lengthens hip flexors - both essential in cycling. It also elevates your breathing capacity, in addition to increasing your range of motion.
Here's an example of a beginners' workout and you can repeat sets depending on your endurance level:
- Warm up for 10 mins with easy swimming
- Swim 300m, followed by 20s of recovery
- Swim 200m, followed by 20s of recovery
- Swim 100m, followed by 20s of recovery
- Cool down with 10 mins of easy swimming
It's no surprise that yoga improves your focus, flexibility, endurance and strength. It hones in on the core, which again, is crucial for a ride. Many cyclists also enjoy yoga as it teaches you to control your breathing, an art cyclists should practice to perform better on a bike.
Yoga also relieves tight, aching muscles after rides and stretches the chest area to make sure you don't end up in a stooped position. In addition to that, it helps mobilise joints and strengthen the muscles around them.
Here are some examples to get you started:
- Side plank with your hips off the floor and hold the pose for 6s and then rest for 10s. Repeat this
cycle 5 times.
- Stretch your hamstrings and calves with the downward-facing dog pose, holding the position for
anywhere between 1 and 3 mins. Repeat this cycle 3 times, then rest in child's pose.
- Perform the bridge pose, staying in this position anywhere from 30s to a minute. Release by
exhaling and slowly roll back your spine to the floor. Repeat this set 5 times.
Another form of exercise that builds your cardiovascular fitness, core strength and balance is circuit training. As cycling is a low-impact activity, it doesn't focus much on supporting bone density. So what circuit training does is fill in those gaps and helps you build stronger bones.
To get the full impact of circuit training on your cycling, minimise breaks between workout sets, as it builds endurance. You can also switch up the exercises depending on the muscles you wish to strengthen.
Here's a sample routine:
- Push-ups, 20 repetitions
- Jump squats, 20 repetitions
- Burpees, 20 repetitions
- Walking lunges, 30 repetitions
- Hip crossovers, 20 repetitions