Biking Your Best

Now that most of the snow is gone biking season has started. This is a great time to re-focus your exercise program to sport specific biking routines which help improve your bike riding and prevent injuries.

1. Rider type- Depending on what type of rider you are determines specific differences between your training protocols. Downhill (DH) riders are training to perform between 3 and 45 minutes while cross country (XC) rides start at 30 minutes and go to multiple hours. The trickster park riders (PR) typically take more breaks between high intensity spurts of exercise. The townie rider (TR) who may even tow children behind their bike can also benefit from sport specific training which will improve their abilities to ride.

2. Cardio- All of the riding styles require a good cardio base, training at least 30 minutes non-stop twice weekly to improve overall fitness. XC riders can increase this time gradually by staggering rides with one to two long rides weekly as well as shorter rides in between. DH riders should add in sprinting intervals such as standing while pedalling for 30 seconds intermittently when doing your cardio. PR also should include intervals, but decrease them to 3-15 seconds with one to five minutes regular speed between bouts. Stylish TR riders may also find 30 minute cardio bouts twice weekly helps maintain your figure, especially if biking in high heels while wearing a party dress is your thing.

3. Strength training- Your legs create your force so power exercises such as squats and lunges should definitely be a part of any biking program. Make sure your knees are over your toes and you feel no pain when strength training. Your upper body is essential for steering and controlling your way on the trail. Chest and triceps are key muscles to work on, so exercises such as chest press or triceps press-downs are good choices. Biceps curls, upright rows and military press complete the set to balance all your major upper body muscles. Push-ups are also good pre-season practice for the upper body because they work on your abdominals and chest at the same time. DH and PR will want to do fewer repetitions with more rest (6-10 reps, 3-4 sets), while XC and TR should aim for more repetitions (10-15 reps, 2-3 sets) and circuit training to keep their cardio going.

4. Core- Any fitness savvy athlete probably already understands the importance of core (abdominal) exercises. Exercises such as the plank and bicycle kick outs help keep your abs as a powerful tool while enjoying the perks of looking and feeling ripped instead of injured.

5. Injury prevention- When thinking of sport specific training, you also want to look at your riding habits to make sure you are not over training certain muscles. Strength training your less used muscles and opposing postures help stabilise your joints and prevent poor postural habits which lead to injury. Combining preventative exercises such as rotator cuff exercises, back extensions and prone superman’s (on your stomach lifting your opposite arm and leg while keeping your forehead, shoulders and hips down) help keep you walking tall, away from those falls, and performing at your peak no matter what your discipline.

Please remember that you should not exercise through sharp or shooting pain. If you need help, see a fitness professional to assist you in setting up a program to fit your specific needs or injury rehabilitation. To all those drivers out there, make sure you slow down when passing a TR so you do not kick up dust in their hair or surprise them, a smile and wave is always appreciated as it lets the TR know you see them.