For many avid cyclists, speed and stamina isn’t just about winning races — they're essential components of the joy and challenge that cycling offers. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist looking to improve your performance or a beginner embarking on your bicycling journey, the right workouts can help boost your speed and stamina.
At 2XU, we're committed to providing top-quality cycling gear and empowering you with the knowledge to help you reach your goals.
Understanding the Basics: Cycling Terminology
Before we delve into the specific workouts, it's essential to familiarize ourselves with some key cycling terminology.
Your Vo2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake, measures the maximum volume of oxygen you can utilize during intense exercise. The higher your Vo2 max, the better your body can deliver oxygen to your muscles, thereby improving your cycling performance.
Next is FTP, or Functional Threshold Power, which refers to the highest power output you can sustain for an hour without fatiguing. By knowing your FTP, you can train more effectively, pushing your limits without overextending yourself. Your heart rate, too, is a crucial parameter to track during cycling workouts as it can provide insights into your exertion levels and recovery.
Lastly, the lactate threshold is the exercise intensity at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in your blood faster than your body can remove it. Training to increase your lactate threshold can help improve your endurance performance.
Understanding these metrics is like unlocking a cheat code for your training plan — it gives you the insights you need to train smarter, not just harder.
Cycling Workouts for Beginners
If you're a beginner, the world of cycling can be daunting. But remember, every expert cyclist started with those initial uncertain pedal strokes.
It's crucial not to rush into high-intensity workouts right away. Instead, start slowly with easy spinning exercises and low-resistance workouts on stationary bikes.
Indoor cycling workouts are a fantastic starting point. Platforms like Peloton and Zwift offer guided sessions that can help you build your base fitness level in a structured manner. They often include warm-up and cool-down sessions, ensuring your body gets used to the rhythm of a complete cycling workout.
If you prefer personalized guidance, consider hiring a personal trainer or joining a cycling class. These training sessions can provide the tailored guidance you need to kickstart your cycling journey confidently.
What Is the Importance of Warm-ups and Cool-downs?
Never underestimate the power of a good warm-up and cool-down — they are integral parts of any successful cyclist's training plan.
The Warm Up
Warming up preps your body for the workout ahead, gradually raising your heart rate and loosening your muscles. This is an excellent time for easy spinning on your exercise bike. A typical warm-up should last around 10 to 15 minutes, gradually increasing in intensity.
The Cool Down
On the other hand, cooling down allows your heart rate to return to its normal pace and helps to flush out the lactic acid accumulated in your muscles during the workout. It aids in reducing muscle soreness and hastening recovery. A cool-down can include easy pedaling and stretching exercises lasting 10 to 15 minutes.
Interval Training and HIIT Workouts
Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity effort and lower-intensity or rest periods. This can take many forms in cycling training, including speed intervals, where you cycle at maximum speed for short durations, and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts, which consist of short, max-effort bursts of exercise, followed by short rest periods.
One popular HIIT workout in the cycling world is Tabata, which consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. These workouts help improve your Vo2 max, increase your lactate threshold, and promote cardiovascular health.
Steady-State and Threshold Power Workouts
Steady-state workouts, also known as sweet spot workouts, involve maintaining a steady pace at a moderate level of intensity. These workouts can help improve your FTP, enhance your cycling endurance, and are a great way to train for long-distance cycling events or time trials.
Threshold power workouts, on the other hand, focus on working just below or at your FTP, increasing your body's ability to sustain higher power levels for longer durations. They're beneficial for improving your overall cycling performance.
Strength Training for Cyclists
Strength training can significantly benefit cyclists, improving power output, pedaling efficiency, and overall cycling performance. Exercises focusing on your core, legs, and upper body can help enhance your stability and power on the bike.
Popular strength training exercises for cyclists include squats, lunges, planks, and deadlifts. You might also consider exercises like box jumps or kettlebell swings for power development.
And remember, even on your strength training days, your 2XU compression tights can help support performance and aid recovery.
What Are Compression Tights?
Compression tights have emerged as an essential gear for athletes across various sports, including cycling. But what exactly are they, and how can they support your speed and stamina on the bike?
Compression tights are a type of athletic wear that applies graduated pressure on different parts of your legs. This pressure can maintain healthy blood flow, supporting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.
Healthy blood flow can lead to several benefits for cyclists. It can support performance by maintaining muscle oxygenation, reduce muscle vibrations that often lead to fatigue, and support fast recovery post-ride by assisting in flushing out lactic acid.
At 2XU, we offer a range of compression tights designed with the needs of cyclists in mind.
Light Speed Compression Shorts
Developed with a detailed understanding of the impact cycling has on the legs, our Light Speed Compression Shorts are specifically designed to reduce muscle movement and soothe fatigue.
These shorts feature a powerful compression wrap and protect key leg muscles to help soothe soreness and discomfort. The graduated fit maintains healthy circulation for muscle performance and recovery. Flexible and breathable, the Light Speed Compression Shorts allow unrestricted movement while you push the limits of your speed and stamina limits.
Force Compression Tights
The Force Compression Tights utilize Muscle Containment Stamping (MCS) technology to support key muscle groups during high-intensity training. By minimizing muscle movement, they help support your performance. Plus, the healthy blood flow they support aids in recovery.
With their flexible, breathable design and sweat-wicking properties, these tights are perfect for both indoor and outdoor workouts.
Refresh Recovery Compression Tights
After an intense cycling workout, recovery is crucial. That's where our Refresh Recovery Compression Tights come in. Designed with extra firm graduated compression, these tights stabilize muscles and support blood flow for fast recovery.
Whether after a strenuous HIIT session, a long-distance ride, or a challenging cyclocross race, slipping into the Refresh Recovery Compression Tights can make a difference. They soothe discomfort and swelling, helping refresh your legs for your next cycling session.
Remember, the right gear is just as important as the right workout in your cycling journey. With 2XU compression tights, not only can you make the most of your training sessions, but you can also ensure your recovery is on point.
Indoor cycling workouts have taken the fitness world by storm thanks to their versatility, convenience, and high efficiency. Whether you're a beginner, looking to improve your fitness level, or an experienced cyclist training for a race, there's an indoor cycling workout for everyone.
Indoor workouts can be tailored according to your training plan, allowing you to focus on specific aspects of your cycling, such as speed, stamina, or strength. The following workouts can be done on a stationary bike, a Peloton, or any other indoor cycling equipment.
This is perfect for beginners or those days you want a less strenuous workout. Easy spinning involves pedaling at a low resistance, allowing you to focus on your pedal stroke and technique. It's also great as a warm-up exercise or a cool-down session.
An interval session can be a high-intensity workout that alternates between periods of hard work and recovery. For example, after a warm-up, you could pedal hard for two minutes, then take it easy for three minutes, repeating this cycle several times. The intensity of the hard periods and the length of the recovery time can be varied according to your fitness level.
A steady-state ride is a moderate-intensity workout that involves maintaining a constant pace for a prolonged period. It's a great way to build endurance and improve your ability to maintain a consistent speed.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
As touched on previously, HIIT involves short, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. A typical HIIT session on an exercise bike might involve 30 seconds of all-out effort followed by 30 seconds of easy pedaling. This is repeated multiple times.
Joining a cycling class can be a fun and motivating way to work out. Classes typically involve a mix of different types of cycling workouts, often set to a motivating playlist.
And the best part? Many platforms offer online classes you can join from the comfort of your own home.
Group Rides and Outdoor Cycling
While indoor workouts are great, nothing can replace the thrill of outdoor cycling. Group rides can provide a sense of community and can make long-distance rides more enjoyable. Riding in a group can also teach you valuable skills like drafting and pacing.
Platforms like Zwift and USA Cycling offer virtual group rides, providing a blend of indoor and outdoor experiences. But as restrictions ease and safety allows, stepping out for a group ride can offer invaluable on-road experience. Always remember that the right gear can make all the difference, whether indoor or outdoor.
So, put on your favorite 2XU cycling gear and conquer the road or the virtual world, as you prefer!
The Importance of Recovery in Cycling Training
Recovery is an essential part of any training plan. Without adequate recovery, your body cannot repair and build stronger muscles, leading to a plateau in progress or even injury.
Ensure you include rest days in your training plan. This might involve a day of complete rest or an active recovery day, such as an easy spinning session. Your favorite Recovery Compression Gear can support recovery by maintaining healthy blood flow and soothing muscle soreness.
Fueling Your Cycling Workouts
Nutrition is a crucial part of your cycling training. Eating a balanced diet ensures your body has the necessary fuel for your workouts and the nutrients needed for recovery.
- Before a workout, consume a meal or snack high in carbohydrates to provide energy.
- After a workout, eat carbs and protein to replenish energy stores and support muscle recovery.
Staying hydrated before, during, and after your workouts is also important.
Conclusion: Cycling to Your Heart's Content
Cycling workouts can greatly improve your speed and stamina, and you'll never get bored with the variety of options available. Whether on a stationary bike, a Peloton, or taking it to the streets, cycling is an excellent way to boost your cardiovascular fitness, tone your muscles, and enhance your overall endurance.
As always, before embarking on a new training plan, it's recommended to consult with a personal trainer or coach to ensure the workouts are suitable for your fitness level and goals.