It’s no secret that cycling is really good for you. In our war against ill health, getting on your bike is one of the best ways to get some cardio into your daily routine. Perhaps you use your bike to cycle to work, or maybe you’re a keen mountain biker and trekker. Whatever the scenario, cycling is the ultimate cardiovascular activity. The truly great thing about it is that it is suitable for all fitness levels too, due to it putting less pressure on bones and joints than running does. But what do you do when you’ve been cycling for months and want to go up to the next level? Switch up your routine of course!
Taking on a new terrain
Unless your local area is full of potholes, road cycling is pretty straightforward. You may have a designated cycle lane or you may cycle on the pavement if it is wide enough. All in all, you know what to expect – flat, even ground, and maybe the odd speed bump. Even though this is easy, after you’ve been cycling for a while you may be feeling ready to take on a new challenge. Consider going for a cycle on ground that is completely different to what you are used to. Riding on uneven ground such as dirt tracks or grass generally means you need to be in a lower gear in order to navigate your way over the terrain. You will be completely less RPMS, but the reps you are doing will be more powerful than if you were in a higher gear. Just be aware of cycling in remote places or in harsh natural environments. When choosing bicycle insurance, choose a plan that will cover off-road cycling.
Forget a heavy weights session straight after your bike ride. You can actually get a good amount of strength training in when you’re on the bike – saving you time and money in the gym afterwards! Cycling out of the saddle is a great way to build strength in your quads, glutes and abs. You may have watched sports events on the television where the cyclists spend most of their time stood up, out of the saddle. This doesn’t mean to say that you have to follow suit, but try and move out the saddle for at least a proportion of your ride. Riding stood up can also relieve pressure from your lower back, which can have a tendency to seize up when bent over the bike for long periods of time.
The term ‘interval training’ may bring up painful images of HIIT gym classes or a nasty spin class. But, there ARE ways you can fall in love with interval training – especially if losing weight is your priority. Make sure you warm up first before you try again kind of interval training. Fifteen minutes of easy to intermediate cycling should do it. Then, in a medium gear, push hard for forty seconds, then rest for twenty. If you really want to increase the burn, do your forty seconds on an incline. It will be painful, but both your physique and fitness will improve drastically.