To some, cycling is a sport and for others, a great way to get a killer cardio workout in, or just something to do for fun. Regardless of why you are cycling there are always ways to improve your cycling skill set. Whether you cycle every day, once a week, or have never cycled before, by following three simple suggestions, you can increase your efficiency on any type of bicycle.
Step 1: Master the Basics
One of the key elements of cycling is to keep your weight evenly balanced while you are riding a bike or on a stationary exercise bike. Women’s Health Magazine suggests distributing your weight so that 60 percent is on the seat and 40 percent is on the handlebars. This will help eliminate pressure on your joints, meaning you will experience less pain and will be more comfortable cycling in general. You’re also able to move faster in a cycling race because you don’t have any pain troubling you.
Next, learn when it is the correct time to stand up while cycling. If you are training for a race or trying to get a good work out in standing and sitting can maximize the efficiency of your workout. If your training is more cross-country style where you riding hills or if you want an intense workout, remain seated to feel the burn in your legs. Whether you sit or stand during a cycling session depends upon your goals.
Another important aspect in cycling is focusing on keeping your pedaling smooth. Even though you may be switching positions on the bike (from standing to sitting), it is important to keep an even pedal speed.
Lastly, you always should be aware of what your upper body is doing while your lower body is doing most of the work. If you have a weak core paired with poor posture, you can be faced with unnecessary discomfort while riding and discomfort leads to inefficiency.
All of these basic cycling skills are fairly easy to master with consistent training and practice. Learn to be conscious of what your body is doing during your entire ride. By focusing on each skill set, you can easily increase your efficiency on the bike which will lead to overall improvement.
Step 2: Gear Up
If you really want to feel like a top notch cyclist, you have to look the part too! Don’t be afraid to rock an outfit complete with cycling shorts and a shirt. Cycling clothes tend to be more fitted so that they don’t wrinkle or bunch or make you uncomfortable while riding. Cycling clothes are made with a special material that helps control sweat too. Don’t forget the helmet as well!
In addition to clothing, there are other items you can invest in to perfect your skills. Buying indoor cycling equipment or rollers so helps you practice at home if you have your own bike. Then, another thing you can invest in would be a gym membership. If you cannot ride outside, at least you can go to the gym and hop on a stationary bike to still get a workout in. Having access to the correct equipment 24/7 allows you to become a more successful cycler.
Step 3: Take Time to Recover
Eating, sleeping and resting are the top three things you can do to optimize your recovery. This applies to any type of workout regimen too, not just for intense cycling.
Food is a major player in how well your body recovers from a tough race or a tough training session. For those that are top cyclists and training for a big race, it is important to keep a 4 to 1 ratio to carbohydrates and protein. There are also other ‘anti-inflammatory’ foods that can help relieve muscle soreness too. Getting enough sleep will affect how your body recovers as well. Try to get 7 to 8 hours a night; top riders can sleep for 12 hours to successfully recover.
If you want to improve your cycling and overall general health, it is important eat enough of the right types of foods and get enough rest. Rest and general diet is 95 percent of successful recovery. To continue to improve and continue to get stronger or faster with your cycling, taking care of your body needs to be the top priority.