This week 6th -12th June marks Bike Week in the UK, so to celebrate 6x Olympic Champion and PureGym Ambassador Sir Chris Hoy has put together his top five fitness and nutrition tips for cyclists of all levels, who are looking to improve their performance.
Cycling alone is a great workout, but for anyone getting more serious about their biking, the right exercise and nutrition regimes can take your cycling to a whole new level, helping with both the speeds and distances you’ll be able to go on two wheels.
And who better to take it from than an Olympic champion? Sir Chris Hoy’s tips cover everything from how to tailor your workouts depending on what kind of riding you enjoy, to just how important mobility exercises are for any cyclist.
1. Tailor your strength workouts
“A strength and conditioning programme can improve your cycling strength and endurance, while also helping to protect against injuries. To get the most from strength workouts, you need to make sure your programme is tailored to your specific needs:
- Track sprinters, BMXers and downhill mountain bikers should focus on building explosive power and maximum strength. Try incorporating plyometrics and HIIT exercises.
- Road riders and time triallists should focus on strength endurance. Make sure to lift lower weights, with higher reps.
- Mountain bikers, BMXers or even cycle crossers should place a greater focus on upper body work. Make sure to work your chest, back, and shoulders 2-3x a week”.
2. Strengthen your core
“Having a strong core provides a solid foundation to produce power from. You could have the leg strength to press 100kg but without a strong core, you do not have the base to put this power to use on the bike!
A strong core will also improve your balance and stability, both of which can make you a more successful cyclist.
While compound movements can work the core, make sure to also do specific exercises to target all your core muscles (not just the abs).
Include a mix of core exercises which create movement (like leg raises and sit-ups), and anti-core exercises (like hollow holds and pallof presses) which train the core to resist movement and stabilise the spine”.
3. Don’t neglect mobility work
“Both cycling and strength training can lead to tight muscles over time. Mobility work will help to stretch and lengthen your muscles, which prevents injury and increases your range of movement.
Doing dynamic stretches before your workouts release tension and tightness in your muscles and warms them up, so they’re ready to perform, while static stretching after workouts can help with recovery and prevent your muscles from stiffening up. Foam rollers can be a great tool to relieve muscle tightness and improve flexibility too”.
4. Do maximum intensity training drills
“You can improve your ability to produce torque and power on the bike by doing maximum acceleration efforts from stationary. Use the gradient of the road or gear size to increase the resistance and make these drills even more effective”.
5. Fuel up
“For optimum performance, you need to make sure you’re properly fuelling your body. Eating carbohydrates 90 minutes before a ride will help to stock up your glycogen stores, which provides fast release energy while you’re on the move. After a ride, make sure you refuel as quickly as possible and drink plenty of water and electrolytes.
For longer rides, you should bring food and water to keep yourself going. Energy gels and sports drinks are an easy way to get carbs on the move, or you can keep energy bars in an easily accessible pocket and regularly take bites.
You should also pay attention to your nutrition on days you’re not cycling. Getting a good mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats will mean your body has the resources to recover from your workouts and in turn – build muscle, endurance, and strength”.
If you hadn’t previously considered the difference the likes of strength training and HIIT classes could have on your cycling and fancy joining a gym, find your nearest PureGym here.
And to help cyclists work on their strength and conditioning, PureGym are also offering £0 joining fees during Bike Week. Anyone interested need simply use the code ZEROJF when signing up to their nearest gym.