How Your Cycle Commute Can Really Crush It
So we all know that biking to work is great workout all by itself. But what if you want to turn that workout up a notch? Do you have to add more hours on the bike to get really fit? Do you have to hang on to that gym membership after all? Heck no.
Our friends at Total Women’s Cycling have put together an awesome workout plan that can be worked right into your bike commute (don’t be put off, dudes—you can do it too). Hey, if you’ve got to go to work every day, you might as well be crushing it at the same time, right? Take a look at the list below if you want to really go after those buns of steel.
(And if you’d rather keep your ride to work at a relaxed pace, we’re all for that, too. In fact, you’ll probably find us meandering down the bike lane, sipping a smoothie from our handlebar cupholders.)
(Remember, no matter how intense your bike commute is, you can earn cash and prizes for it! Learn about Georgia Commute Options rewards here!)
1. Burn Fat
Why it’s good: Low intensity exercise is perfect for burning fat, and therefore ideal for weight loss. It also doesn’t involve working so hard that you end up sweaty and out of breath.
What to do: Aim to ride at a steady speed and intensity for your entire journey, using your gears at traffic lights to maintain the level of effort. You are looking to be a little bit out of breath, but still able to hold a conversation.
2. Interval training
Why it’s good: This is great for increasing your fat burning zone so you use your energy stores more efficiently, and it will give you a good workout.
What to do: Increase your exertion and ride hard for 2 minutes at about 80% of your maximum heart rate; just below flat out. Then return to your normal speed and gearing for 3 minutes. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your commute where possible.
3. High-cadence spins
Why it’s good: Cycling with a higher cadence (which is essentially how fast your legs spin the pedals) is much more efficient than pushing hard gears with a low cadence, particularly when climbing. It can be hard to get used to though so training your legs into it is a very useful activity.
What to do: Drop down to an easier gear, and spin your legs as fast as you can for 2 or 3 minutes, then return to your comfortable gear for 8 minutes. Aim to do this several times during the journey. It’s surprisingly hard the first few times!
Why it’s good: This will help improve your explosive power, giving you a better turbo boost when you need it for breakaways or overtaking. You can try this when you are moving away from traffic lights if the way is clear, or on long obstacle-free road sections.
What to do: Increase your cadence and gearing so you accelerate as fast as you can, and keep it up for 1 minute. Then return to your regular comfortable speed. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your journey where possible.
5. Strength training
Why it’s good: Get your legs ready for those hard uphills by improving your strength and building those shapely thigh and calf muscles. This will also give you power for pushing over obstacles on MTB trails.
What to do: After warming up, shift your gearing three places higher, so you have to push harder to move the pedals. Keep riding on this harder gear for 2 minutes, then switch back down to an easier gear for 3 minutes. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your commute where possible.
6. Distance and Endurance Training
Why it’s good: If you are training for an event or race, you need to get used to doing long rides. It will also give you the opportunity to work out what you need to fuel your ride and how to pace yourself.
What do to: Try and add an extra hour to your ride home. You may need to take a longer detour to fit this in; pick a nice quiet or picturesque route, and enjoy the ride.
7. Rest Day
Why it’s good: You’ll give your muscles a gentle stretch through riding, but won’t make them work hard.
What to do: Just ride your whole route at an easy, relaxed pace.