Hello friends, how’s your winter training going? Did you keep moving despite the cold weather?
…mmhh maybe not all of you I’m afraid.
Today I want to tell you something about winter training and how to maintain a good shape throughout the colder months of the year. As winter kicks in with pouring rain, freezing winds, slippery roads and short daylight the average cyclist is tempted to join the Canadian black bears in their lethargy.
Nobody likes to train under the rain especially when it’s cold, so how can we keep our body moving? How can we keep in shape while waiting for spring to arrive?
We asked our PROs and this is what they told us: a good cross training with a mixed routine of strength training and indoor cycling is the key for keeping a good shape throughout winter.
The gym may be a good solution for many reasons: you can train at reasonable temperatures, you can work on muscles group that you don’t really use while cycling, you can improve your strength, you can meet people that don’t necessarily talk about carbon frames and gear ratios all day long.
The PROs suggest an easy gym session that you can follow for a month or so, waiting for the weather to become indulgent:
- Let’s start with a 10’ warm up: you can choose to have a light run on the treadmill or an easy spin on the stationary bike. Just keep it easy, you only need to warm up your muscles and gently rise the heart rate
- Core workout: never forget to engage your core with specific exercises on abs and back muscles. You will improve your pedal stroke, your balance on and off the bike and your general fitness.
- Go on with the leg press: 30 repetitions + 1’ recovery. Repeat this session three times and add a 10’ of agile pedalling (95-100 rpm) on rollers/turbo/cyclette
- Cool down and stretch
When you choose the load of the leg press keep in mind that you should easily go trough all the repetitions feeling some leg pain only in the last two or three repetitions. Each stroke must be very slow and take up to 12-13 seconds, you must never stop the movement: keep the exercise going until the very last repetition.
As you are already in the gym you should take advantage of it and fully exploit the subscription fee, you may think then about engaging some upper-body muscles with TRX machines and free body exercises for a truly complete winter training. Variety, high repetitions and low weight are the key words for a successful and efficient workout.
Trek Segafredo training camp in Spain, 2016
Let’s talk about indoor cycling now. We all know it is boring, sweaty and seems somehow endless. It is also true that leaving your bike alone for a month or more is going to be your biggest regret as you face the first climb in spring.
Let’s point out a short list of tips for a good indoor winter training:
- Keep a good cadence: you don’t need to hit the pedals as Mark Cavendish on the Champs Elysees. You really don’t. Just keep it easy and agile (90-100 rpm), your pedal stroke will get smoother and more efficient.
- Train in a fresh room: we’ve seen too many people spinning legs in a hot room leaving a mess of sweaty spots on the floor. Don’t do that, your health and your wife will thank you.
- Be creative: always find a way to vary your training and it will be easier, more or less. For example you can watch an epic battle between Contador and Froome on Youtube; you can watch a movie; listen to your favourite music or you can buy yourself a new generation turbo trainer that comes with an entertainment system such as Bkool.
- Keep it short: our PROs suggest a 60’ training, not longer. Whether you’re looking for an easy spin or specific interval training, stay focused and concentrate your workout into an hour. Go hard, not long.
For a good winter training you should consider an outdoor ride per week (or more, if possible). Don’t go hard, just enjoy the ride and avoid maximum efforts, you’ll have a lot of time during warmer months to push yourself to the limit. Your goal for the winter is to keep a good general shape and work on little details such as the pedal stroke’ smoothness and core muscles. We’ll start working on heart ratios and Strava’s KOM in the next future.
This kind of training will help you arrive fitter and stronger to your summer granfondos and holidays.
Follow our training tips and improve your cycling performance step by step, you will enjoy a fantastic cycling holiday in Italy!
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