5. Building a Better Bicycling Body
I just did that because it’s a bunch of words that start with B.
Well, I needed some sort of title, lol.
And even though we are talking specifically about cycling uphill, there is information here that is food for thought for helping anyone in their training endeavors.
OK, moving on, gaining some strength in the midsection and upper body will certainly help a cyclist grind those hills better.
A bicyclist isn’t penalized as much as a runner if he gains some muscular bulk and more strength.
A larger muscle has the potential to exhibit more strength than a smaller muscle. So don’t be afraid to pack on a little extra size as a cyclist.
But keep in mind that any supplemental training meant to bolster your sport, and in this case cycling, should complement and not compromise your performance in your sport, recreation or occupation.
As a person’s strength improves, at some point more sport-specific training needs to become the focus of the program and strength training moves into more of a maintenance program, which takes less time and effort.
Strength gains may still be sought, but it’s not the focus.
This leaves more time to train SPP and more time for recovery.
In the last article and video we looked at using hill sprints on a bicycle to develop more strength for climbing hills. I mentioned using about 70-80% effort on these sprints.
As a person gets used to this type of training, they should begin to increase their effort on these sprints or hill-repeats.
The whole purpose of hill-repeats on your bicycle is to develop greater ability to pedal at your lactate threshold.
You’re also developing greater strength to keep your bike under control and not start weaving back and forth so much.
I’ll touch on this in the video in a way that perhaps means nothing, and then again?
You’ll know just what I’m talking about in the video when you get to the section using black-board math.
If you’ve greater strength and strength endurance you can ride the hill a cog or two up from what you used to use and maintain a certain pedal cadence or wattage output.
Beginners should do shorter duration hill climbs, resting adequately between each hill climb. If you’ve only a short hill and can pedal it at a good clip in one shot, that’s fine, ride down, rest and repeat.
Work up to a higher cog or two.
Someone with a longer hill can do the same, only riding one portion and repeating that over and over or they could simply break the long hill climb up into sections, using each section as one repeat or sprint.
As strength and ability improves, longer duration hill climb repeats become the norm.
You also need to measure your effort somehow, either by HR monitor, time frame, cycling cadence or power-meter on your bike. A cycling cadence sensor can be bought pretty inexpensively.
A cheap power-meter for a bicycle costs about $400 and go up to $2k.
However, a cadence sensor can be had for $40. Buying one for about $90 will get you a bicycle monitor that will measure HR, speed, pedaling cadence and mileage with trip meter and timing functions.
Can’t beat that with a stick, lol, or maybe I should say bicycle pump.
If you’re serious about improving hill-climb-ability or dealing with pedaling into head-winds, I’m sure you could find much better ideas and articles out there, lol, from those that are experts in this field.
I’m no expert on cycling and not ashamed to admit that.
I am merely offering up strength and training ideas that come to my mind about hill-climbing on a bicycle from my own perspective.
In the video I’ll share a few other ideas that may or may not help a cyclist gain some more upper-body and midsection strength that could relate more directly to pedaling.
In any sport, recreation or occupation:
1. Stick with the tried and true, what is known to improve performance.
2. Keep an open mind about training.
3. Test out ideas that seem to have some merit, but only one idea at a time, lol.
4. Learn to filter out what doesn’t work and focus on what works best for YOU.
It is only in this way that a person may stumble upon some idea, some method, some exercise movement that fills in a gap or personal issue that makes a big difference in their performance.
One thing can make a difference.
Some people, no matter whether an SME or not, develop a fear of trying new things.
Often it’s really a fear of failure, because when you try something new you’re not going to be very good at it and no doubt are worrying about how it looks to others.
This often happens with coaches and professional trainers. There’s a certain amount of peer-review pressure in any sport or endeavor.
Rock the boat too much and you’ll find you’re on the outside looking in, unless you can show results that are indisputable.
So when it comes to experimenting with exercises and training methods, it can be a dicey dance for some intrepid people especially if they follow crowd-wisdom.
It’s funny, because this was the case with kettlebells when they were reintroduced to the USA by Pavel Tsatsouline back in 1998, in his article entitled: “Vodka, Pickle Juice, Kettlebell Lifting and Other Russian Pastimes” in the pages of Randall J. Strossen’s MILO magazine.
I still have my copy.
It took more than a few years before KBs were found in nearly every gym and became a part of many athletes training and before you could buy them at the local W-mart store.
For another example, look at Steve McLendon of the Pittsburg Steelers, NFL nose tackle. He uses ballet to improve his sports performance:
Now, don’t get me wrong, a person can’t do everything all the time and not everything will help every athlete in a given sport.
But as an individual be willing to learn, make mistakes, adapt and grow. Remember:
Training is about facing challenges and growing from the experience.
As a coach or trainer, experiment with an idea yourself or with one or two athletes in an off part of the season or with a small control group.
Note the results and go from there.
Keep the territory you’ve earned, but be willing to conqueror new territory.
You cannot do that if you always walk the same turf.
Every sport, recreational activity and occupation throughout history has a story of someone who innovated and changed how things are done or how one might prepare for a specific endeavor.
Your video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBpEKErInkQ
Thank you for reading!