The best cycling vacations start long before you hand over your boarding pass and commit to seat 17A for a number of hours. While we can nearly guarantee a successful vacation without any pre-trip training, we can guarantee a much better experience if you do just a little bit of prep. You will find that an extra dose of confidence and strength while riding your bike will help you enjoy the ride that much more.
Including being able to comfortably ride between 10 and 35 miles per day for several consecutive days, you should also include a strength-training program. Reinforcing your body’s support system for the primary bike-riding muscles will make for a better bike ride. Because you’re going to be doing it again tomorrow!
Strive to spend at least one hour cycling varied terrain a couple times (or more!) each week. At least once a week, fit in a ride that is 30 to 40 miles. Additionally, try to fit in an hour-long workout three times a week. Mix up your workout so you and your muscles don’t get bored.
Your bike rides and workouts will go hand-in-hand in developing a better body to handle the new demands you have committed to. And we promise, your vacation enjoyment and your resting metabolism will both be on the upswing!
Follow these exercises to get fit and ready to ride before your cycling vacation! Where will your bike take you?
UPPER BODY Exercises to increase strength in your back, chest, shoulders
BACK lat-pull-downs, pull ups seated rows, one-arm rows, reverse
CHEST: chest press with dumbbells or barbell, pushups on the floor or againist a wall
SHOULDERS: overhead press, frontal and lateral raises
ARMS: bicep curls, triceps exercises and dips
LOWER BODY Exercises to increase strength in your gluteus muscle group
(butt muscles), quadriceps, hamstrings and calves
lunges, squats, step-ups, wall sits (work up to a minute; set a goal of two minutes), bridge (with one foot or both on the floor or on a ball), deadlifts and calf raises (consider stairs for calves)
Be mindful of your knees when doing any of the gluteus-strengthening exercises in which your knee is bent. Knees should be stacked above your ankle, not above or in front of your toes. If necessary, hold on to something until you’re strong enough to perform bent-knee exercises without assistance.
ENDURANCE Exercises to increase your ability to maintain pace and power through high-demand situations
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING — helps build and maintain endurance, balance and strength
STAIR CLIMBING — find a building that has easy access to a stairwell or master the step climber cardio machine at the gym
SWIMMING — low-impact exercise that helps build and maintain respiratory and core strength
SPIN CLASSES — maintains cycling performance and endurance, burns calories and builds up leg strength
HIITS (high-intensity interval training) — short bursts of intense exercise boosts metabolism, increases strength and endurance
CORE Exercises to increase mid-body strength
BACK crunches, planks (work up to 30 seconds; set a goal of one minute), back extensions and hip lifts (with a ball or on a bench)
There is an abundance of information about the importance of stretching, but the most important take-away is that stretching can help prevent injury. If you have consistently sore muscles that reduce the range of motion, you may be setting yourself up for a pulled or torn muscle when forced to handle the big push of a day of cycling. Head off this pain by doing some easy, isolated muscle-group stretches for ten minutes a day. Stretch while you wait for your coffee to brew, while you brush your teeth or during all of the commercial breaks in tonight’s sitcom. Better yet, take a yoga or Pilates class to learn even more!
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