Whether it is the warm, exciting atmosphere of a spin class; the high energy pump of the exercise bike in the gym; the turbo trainer in the front room or the freedom of the open road, there is no doubt that cycling is a popular fitness activity.
For some people, cycling is an necessity, a means to get to college or work; for others it is a passion that leads them to ride for hours at the weekends; for many it is an activity that makes up one part of their weekly fitness regime.
An important part of a fitness routine
Whatever your relationship with the bicycle, there is no doubting its importance as a piece of fitness apparatus. Whether you are going for a two-hour ride, cycling at a constant cadence, or a 45-minute spin class, you will be burning calories, improving your muscular fitness, working the core and releasing endorphins.
With the long summer evenings and sunny days still a way off, many people’s cycling experiences at the moment will be curtailed or limited, but that is no reason not to be getting yourself ready for some serious summer cycling with a little work in the gym or at home on the turbo trainer.
Pyramid training for fast results
Pyramid training is one of the most effective ways of getting a really good work out on a bike without taking hours to do so.
Here is just one exercise bike session that is guaranteed to make your legs and lungs burn and give your cardio vascular system a thorough work-out. Judge your own resistance level – it needs to be high enough to make your work hard but light enough that you can actually get the legs going at a good speed. (120rpm for short sprints, more than 100rpm for longer intervals).
Warm-up with steady cycle for 10 minutes.
6 x 15 second flat out sprints with 1 minute recovery cycle between each rep.
6 x 30 second flat out sprints with 1 minute recovery cycle between each rep.
6 x 60 seconds (100rpm or higher) with 1 minute recovery cycle between each rep.
4 x 90 seconds (100rpm) with 2 minute recovery between each rep.
2 x two minutes (100rpm) with 2 minute recovery between each rep.
1 x 3 minutes (100rpm)
10 minute steady cycle to warm down.
The whole set takes just over an hour and should be followed by some light stretching, particularly in the lower back and hips.
The biggest challenge in these pyramid sessions, is to keep the motivation to really do all out time trial efforts. It’s easy to back off slightly and not go as fast as you can. At times when you feel like flagging, think of the benefits that a pyramid training session will bring:
- You can judge your efforts to ensure that you always work to your full intensity, knowing that you have a break.
- Pyramid training really encourages you to work to your limits, thereby pushing your ability to train through pain to new levels.
- Pyramid training overloads the muscles and cardiovascular system. This means these systems have to adapt to cope with the workload and so you get fitter as a result.