Cyclists rely much more on their equipment than runners or swimmers. However, in a sense, cycling is the most free and versatile exercise.
It allows to move outdoors, fast, on a machine that not only transports but the cyclist himself is the engine; You can cover great distances and varied terrain as well as a car and it is possible to enjoy this combination between body and machine in various circumstances, for example, take a bike ride alone or in a group, go to work, relax when the Day or competing in races.
If you are an experienced rider, you will probably know some of the benefits offered by this sport. Bicycling not only tones and strengthens the legs and shoulders, but also helps stretch the lower back, preparing it to swim and run.
Cycling is ideal for injured runners as it exercises the muscles of the legs, but the effort to do is much less. As for the development of aerobic capacity, cycling can be as effective as races.
In recent years, the introduction of “mountain bikes” – also known as off-road bikes (MTBs) – has broadened the enjoyment of cycling by allowing cyclists to cross paths and slopes that once were inaccessible. As these bikes allow for better maneuverability and a more upright position than race or ride bikes, many cyclists have adopted mountain bikes to ride in the city.
Choosing a bicycle is as important as adapting it to one’s own dimensions. In a study conducted by the US Olympic Training Center, race cyclists increased their cardiovascular efficiency by 8% to 14% by simply adapting their bikes properly, an effect equivalent to losing 5 kilos of body weight.
Exercises to practice cycling
The first step to becoming comfortable on a bicycle is to properly adjust; The second is to learn to handle it safely. In elect, the cyclists that are trained for an Olympic competition are so relaxed that they can rub without falling when they are in the middle of a platoon that moves at 40 kilometers per hour. The purpose of this domain is not only to avoid falls, but also to feel comfortable to conserve energy for forward propulsion. The riding techniques that appear on the following pages are designed so that the torso movements are minimized and the legs can do the work.
As the bicycle is such an efficient machine, it is possible to take a walk without ever reaching the desired heart rate. If the cardiovascular system is already in good shape thanks to other aerobic activity, you should familiarize yourself with the bike by walking a relatively flat terrain of 20 to 30 minutes three times a week for at least two weeks. Start each ride by pedaling first to 55 or 60 revolutions per minute to warm up; After 10 minutes, increase the cadence to 70 or 80 rpm and switch to a low or medium gear, which will raise the heart rate until reaching the desired range. Perhaps the most common mistake made by novice cyclists is to pedal in a too high gear, which will not only cause rapid fatigue but overload the knees. Use this initial period to concentrate on riding many revolutions per minute in low gear to improve handling skills.
Over the next two to four weeks, add a fourth day of cycling a week and go up some modest slopes twice a week. Try to do three tours for 45 to 60 minutes; At weekends you have to make at least one longer and relatively easy of about 30 to 45 kilometers. After 4 or 5 weeks, the technique should have improved greatly, and the cadence should be uniformly 75-90 rpm.
With this physical preparation as a base, in the third month of training you should have reached the point where you can ride for 45 to 65 kilometers at a time and increase the weekly distance by 8% or 10%. Add variety to the cycling program by climbing steeper slopes or with interval training. The goal should be to increase the heart rate by up to 80% of the peak during 3 to 5 minutes, followed by rest periods in which you can easily pedal in low gear for 5 minutes. Repeat this sequence three or four times. Vary the extent and intensity of the pedaling intervals, depending on how one sits, but do not exaggerate them; In general, experienced cyclists are limited to practicing interval training twice a week. Mountain biking also provides an ideal opportunity to perform intense pedaling intervals, since to cross rugged trails requires more effort than riding on asphalt.
After three months of increasing overall endurance, you will be prepared to train for specific events, with different demands. Riding for 100 kilometers involves increasing weekly training to at least 225 kilometers and being able to ride for two periods of 5 or 6 weights on successive days. For bicycle tourism it will be useful to spend at least two days a week to climb hills and also prepare the trunk to handle a bicycle loaded with equipment that can weigh between 15 and 20 kilos. Whatever your bike goals are, learning bicycle riding techniques and physical training exercises in this chapter will be helpful.