GET AWESOME IN AUTUMN
These conditioning plans have been designed to prepare you for strength training over the winter months. For most of us, depending on your discipline, autumn is the perfect time to address any niggles, aches and pains from the summer season, start looking ahead to the next year's goals, then get back into training. They have both been designed to correct any imbalances, build core strength and condition your joints and muscles. The exercises have been chosen specifically for cyclists, either to prevent typical cycling injuries, or improve cycling performance. These functional exercises will also improve your long term health off the bike. Technique is all important with these workouts in order to prevent short or long term injuries. It is strongly suggested that you seek advice from a fitness professional if you are unsure of any of the exercises. Why not join one of the live Zoom workouts, where your instructor can watch your technique and provide personal directions! If you have access to a gym simply screenshot the planned workout so it's easy to access. Check out this blog post on setting up a basic home gym that takes up minimum space.
What plan is suitable for me?
Conditioning Plan A is for intermediate and advanced athletes that have some experience of weight training, are reasonably fit and are preparing for strength training over winter after taking a break at the end of the summer season. It consists of one HIIT session and one strength conditioning session a week. Repeat the four weeks two or even three times, reducing the repetitions and increasing the resistance, until you feel you are ready for maximum strength work.
Conditioning Plan B is for cyclists that are new to strength & conditioning training, returning from an injury or haven’t trained off the bike for a year of more. It consists of two HIIT sessions a week. Workouts can be performed using body weight alone, with the option to add resistance as you get stronger. Repeat the four weeks twice, or even three times, if you feel you need to before moving onto Conditioning Plan A.
Before all sessions it’s important to do a progressive 10 to 15 minute warm up, building the heart rate and preparing the body for the workout ahead. This can be on the bike (light, zone 1-2), a light jog, skipping, a plyometrics routine (example below) or on a rowing machine. Always incorporate some dynamic stretches, such as swinging and rotating your arms, legs, ankles, hips, neck, etc, to mobilise the joints and muscles, spending a little longer on areas that feel tight or stiff.
Example plyometrics warm up with joint mobilisation:
Walk to light jog, rolling shoulders forwards, then backwards; pick up to a jog, arm swings forwards, the backwards; jog with heel tap, alternate sides (hand to heel); glute kicks (heels to bottom); narrow squats; box step (plyometric); burpees; jumping jacks; hip rotations; leg swings forwards and back, then lateral
FASTER | FITTER | HEALTHIER | HAPPIER
CONDITIONING PLAN A
These sessions are for cyclists that have some experience of weight training, are reasonably fit and and want to prepare for strength training over winter. The workouts also build your core stability and improve general fitness, improving your full body conditioning and evening out any imbalances. For this plan you will need resistance equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells or resistance bands. A small collection of each of different types and weights will provide you with lots of versatility. Check out this blog post giving advice on building a basic home gym. Each session takes 40 to 60 minutes, including warm up and cool down. Don’t rush the exercises. You will gain more benefit and strength from being deliberate and controlled in your movements. I recommend doing two sessions a week for four weeks around your on the bike training. In the fourth week the sessions are shorter. Align this week with the rest week in your training programme. They also offer an alternative if you are short of time. Repeat the four week plan until you feel ready to move onto the strength training plan.
Good technique is key
It’s easy for us to all assume that they way we’ve always done something is the right way. You may have been taught incorrectly or picked up bad habits from others. I always recommend getting advice or having your technique checked by a qualified professional.
To monitor your progress it's a good idea to note the number of reps completed and weight used for each exercise if you can. Over the four weeks try to increase the difficulty of each exercise, either the number of reps (without sacrificing technique), range of movement, weight or height of step.
CONDITIONING PLAN B
Over these four weeks your body will be gently introduced (or reintroduced) to strength & conditioning training, and get you in good condition, ready for increased intensity in the future, with minimal risk of injury. These exercises will also help even out any imbalances and improve trunk stability. Each session takes around 40 to 60 minutes, including warm up and cool down.
At first don’t rush the exercises. If you are a complete beginner focus on technique and repeat the four week plan a second time, introducing a little more difficulty. You will gain more benefit and strength from being deliberate and controlled in your movements, then build speed as you become more proficient.
Some exercises can be done with or without weights. As you increase in strength introduce dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands or you can use alternatives found around the house, such as food tins or bottles of water. Only add weights when you’re comfortable with the movements and technique, and keep it light. so that you do not lose form and risk injury.
Over the four weeks try to increase the difficulty of each exercise, either the number of reps, range of movement, weight or height of step.
Always finish each workout with some stretching. Focus on your hips, hip flexors, big leg muscles, back, neck and shoulders.