Being an avid cyclist in this lockdown period may be quite tough! However, it is not all that cloudy. If you do have access to a spin bicycle, or if you can hook your bicycle to a turbo trainer, you have the opportunity to engage in the same workouts you would do on a regular day, albeit indoors. Finding the right concoction of workouts may pose a challenge to many cyclists due to the lack of competitions. So take it upon yourself to block all that negativity and focus on improving the weaker areas of your cycling routine. Here are some tips that will help you craft the ideal cycle training at home.
Understanding your limits
The first tip in making the right indoor cycling training program is to understand the state of your body. In other words, you have to gauge how fit you are. This may be a difficult task to many amateur cyclists. However, the simplest method is by calculating your Functional Threshold Power (FTP).
FTP, simply put, is the maximum amount of power (calculated in Watts) you can put on the bicycle for a period of time. An FTP test normally includes a rigorous warm-up followed by the maximum effort. This can be done in the confines of your home with your smart turbo trainer linked to cycling based apps like Zwift. Once the test has been done, you have a clear idea of your cycling fitness to create your custom indoor cycling training workouts.
Once you have understood your fitness levels, it is now time to create your fitness goals. By using your FTP as your base, you will understand what areas you would need to work on. There are two important elements to consider First, improving leg strength. Second, improving endurance and technique
Strength training for cyclists at home can be quite tricky to implement since these types of workouts generally require steep gradients only available in hilly courses. All that can be taken care of with your smart turbo trainer. If you do have a smart turbo trainer synced to your personal cycling training account, you can access special hilly courses. Although you ride the hills virtually, the smart trainer would automatically increase its resistance to mimic the gradients of those virtual hills.
If you only have access to a mechanical trainer, you still can do leg strengthening workouts by manually increasing the resistance of the roller, or by selecting difficult gearing ratios on the bicycle. Just make sure you do not overdo it.
Endurance and Technique
The next step is endurance. Indoor cycling workouts that are specific to building endurance is relatively easier to plan out, since this is what most cycling workouts are based on anyways. With the lockdown in place, you now have the opportunity to improve on your pedal strokes maintain efficient energy output.
If you are using a smart trainer, an app like Zwift can easily assist you with finding the right HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training. Cycling without a smart trainer? Fret not, a mechanical trainer would do; as long as you have timed rides with varying efforts along the way. This can be based on your FTP, heart rate, or even your perceived effort. Just make sure that your HIIT cycling training is in line with your leg strengthening workouts to avoid injury.
Balancing Main Elements
Once you have understood your fitness levels and goals, it is all about balancing the workout elements so that you can improve on your FTP and become a better cyclist overall. Depending on your goals, plan out your leg strength workouts and high-intensity training. Cycling workouts that incorporate both of these elements are guaranteed to bring results. If you fail to do so, you will experience sore muscles, muscle injury, ligament pulls, and many more strenuous injuries.
Therefore, it is imperative that you incorporate rest and recovery during your workouts as well. Proper rest and recovery will aid the body to perform at the optimum level and prevent long term injuries. Long slow indoor rides on the trainer, coupled with some exercises, are great to flush out the excess lactic acid and help the recovery of muscles. If possible, make sure to incorporate your pair of SPRYNGs advanced muscle recovery tool too! SPRYNG aids in faster recovery due to the stimulation of the calf muscle pump using active compression.
Do not worry if lockdown is making things hard, as every cyclist in the world is going through the same experience. Take this lockdown in good spirit! Take it as an opportunity for you to reset and work on the weaker points of your cycling routine. So, get your bicycle hooked on that trainer, keep calm, and do not stop pedelling!