• Bronwyn Tagg

10 Bike Workout Ideas you HAVE to try!

The running community has grown massively during this pandemic, but so has the number of people getting on their bike as their form of exercise. As a current triathlete, and ex-rugby player myself, I have seen the huge benefits that a bike workout can bring you – even if cycling isn’t your main sport. These benefits include increased fitness, improved leg muscular strength, without forgetting about the huge mental that come with exercising a bit differently and keeping your mind active. So, we’ve put together 10 bike workout ideas to give you ample ideas of the sort of things you could be implementing into your regular training program. These workouts are great for rugby players, hockey players, golfers, football players, cyclists, gym fanatics and runners alike. And the best part…. You don’t need a fancy road bike! In fact, you might actually get more out of a mountain bike for these workouts! If you have an indoor turbo or wattbike, these workouts can also be done on them.

30 – 45-minute workouts

1. Go for a ramble

Yes, this one can actually count as a workout! Getting on your bike and going for a ramble outside can help get the blood flowing round your tired muscles or give some life to your legs that have been sat at your desk all day. This can help clear any lactate out your muscles, as well as give your mind some space to switch off and enjoy the air. Whilst in February it may feel too cold to be outside on the bike, check out our recent blog on how to train in winter, and the benefits of doing so, for some handy tips!

2. 30 second blasts

Like all workouts, this one should start with a nice steady warm up so just spin for 10 minutes. Then sprint for 30 seconds, going all out. If you’re out on the road for this workout, do be cautious of other road users, pedestrians, your surroundings and how the conditions might affect you – stay safe people! You can then recover for 2.5 minutes, spinning nice and easy. If you’re new to bike workouts 6 reps might be enough, then you can progress to 8 or 10 reps once your body gets used to this different type of workout. 12 reps should be the aim, and the start point for more regular cyclists. These 30 second blasts can increase your VO2 max by 3% in just 4 weeks! As usual, a cooldown should be added to the end of your ride. This workout may seem short and sharp, but I wouldn’t advise doing it more than twice a week!

3. 1-minute spins

Increasing your natural cadence can significantly improve the efficiency of your muscles by shifting some of your effect from your easily fatigued leg muscles to your more resilient cardiovascular system. Shorter 30-minute rides are ideal to perfect this efficiency. Ride at your normal comfy cadence for 5 minutes. Then shift into a smaller, easier gear and spin fast – when you do this, keep your body still and pedal stroke smooth. Do this for 1 minute then recover for 3. Repeat this 6-8 times. If you get better at this, increase the time you spin for and decrease your recovery.

4. Fat loss workout

This is a very short workout that could fit onto the end of any other workout, or even used at the end of a strength or cardio workout! Do 20 seconds of flat out pedalling, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this 8-12 times. This workout only lasts 4 minutes but pushes your metabolism into fat-burning overdrive.

45 mins – 1-hour workouts

5. 3-minute pain cave

This is one of my personal favourites! Warm up for 15 minutes. For 3 minutes, bring the intensity up to 9 / 10, then take 3 minutes recovery of easy spinning. Repeat this a total of 3 times. Each effort should feel very hard, and you should only just recover in the 3 minutes of easy spinning. This workout hugely benefits your VO2 max – it aims to raise that limit by forcing you into lung-searing efforts where your body complains… but it’s one the best way of increasing your oxygen capacity. It could be the stopping a runaway player scoring a try and having another 7 points on the scoreboard against you.

6. Hill attacks

There are a couple of ways you could do this, but start with a 10 to 15 minute warm up. Then either:

- Find a hill that takes about 4-5 minutes to climb and do hard up (about 7 / 10 effort) and easy down (just easy spinning). Repeat this 3 – 5 times, or more if the hill is shorter.

- OR, find a 10 – 15 mile route that includes 4 – 6 good hill climbs. Hit these hills hard (about 7 / 10 effort). This one really depends on where you live and the roads available to you, but it’s a much more organic way of approaching this session.

7. Mountain attacks

This workout is similar to the last one, in terms of going fairly hard upwards! The way it differs is the fact that you increase your effort (if you’re on a bike outside) or the steepness of the hill (easier to do if you’re on an exercise bike or turbo). Either way, the graph you product should look something like one below!

8. Climb the pyramid

This is another of my personal favourites. Mentally it’s tough because you increase the effort / time / steepness at regular intervals, but when you’ve done the hardest / longest / steepest interval, it gets easier from then on, but you need to hold your form! If you’re on the open roads, why not try something like this:

30 seconds at 8/10 effort

1 minute at 8/10 effort

2 minutes at 8/10 effort

3 minutes at 8/10 effort

5 minutes at 8/10 effort

3 minutes at 8/10 effort

2 minutes at 8/10 effort

1 minute at 8/10 effort

30 seconds at 8/10 effort

You’ll find the first couple of reps easy work, but then it will become tricky!

More than an hour workouts

9. Find your tempo

This workout is great to help you understand what your tempo level feels like. It should be about 7 or 8 / 10 in terms of effort, and you should be able to hold that for 15 minutes without getting too tired. Take 3 minutes recovery then repeat this for a total of 3 times. Increase the rep time until you can hold this pace for a full hour!

10. Easy aerobic

This workout should be completed in a steady state at a consistent effort. The intensity should be about 6 / 10 but you should find it easy to sustain it. You should feel like you are breathing moderately and breaking a bit of a sweat. Keep this up for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This helps improve your body’s ability to use fat as a fuel store and increase your body’s endurance – essential if you want to be able to play the whole match of your sport!

So, there you go! Go away and try some of these workouts and let us know how you got on. Remember, cycling can be as good for your mind as it can be for your body; it maybe something different to focus on, motivate you and work to strengthen different muscles, ultimately making your whole body more efficient.

Drop us a DM on Instagram, or an email, if you would like help formulating a better training plan for your individual needs. Alternatively, check out our recent blog posts on training plans here.

By Bronwyn

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