After a tough season or training and/or racing, your mind and body no doubt need some down time to recharge and recover. But, don’t view the off-season as a license to lie on the couch and pack on the pounds. Many cyclists fall victim to losing motivation and hard-earned fitness during the off-season. But, you can make great gains on the bike, if you effectively plan out your off-season. Plodding through the off-season without a definite plan and goals will not only cause you to lose some of your hard earned fitness, but you’ll also miss out on the chance to really focus on improving your weaknesses on the bike. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your off-season and get you to the start of next season next season stronger and fitter.
Resistance Training – Conventional wisdom used to dictate that weight training offered no real benefits for cyclists. After all, why would a cyclist want to add bodyweight? Targeted weight training exercises can actually improve overall body and core strength and by extension increase the power you can apply to the pedals. Also, a stronger core will help fight off the lower back and upper body muscle fatigue on those long days in the saddle. Work through a total body and core specific routine consisting of high reps (15 to 20) and lower weights. You’ll see measurable gains in strength and muscular endurance—and those gains will lead to better cycling performance next spring. If you’ve never incorporated weight training into your fitness routine, or are unsure of what types of exercises offer the most benefits to cyclists, consult a personal trainer, or check out Cyclo-Core. Cyclo-Core Training and Nutrition has helped over 70,000 everyday cyclist ride stronger, leaner and faster.
Cross Train – Cross Training gives you the opportunity try new activities and work muscle groups that are often underutilized or ignored in cycling. Running, swimming, the elliptical trainer, inline skating, cyclocross and cross country skiing all offer great cross training options for cyclists.
Improve Aerobic Capacity – Even in the off-season, the cyclist needs to spend some time on the bike. Getting out on the bike or taking indoor cycling classes fosters muscle memory and maintains your aerobic capacity. Focus on longer rides at a lower intensity. These types of workouts give you the aerobic foundation on which you will build out your more specialized fitness next season. Leave your heart rate monitor and power meter at home. Ride by feel and your watch. Bad weather will no doubt keep you inside some days so invest in an indoor bike trainer or join a local gym that offers indoor cycling classes.