6 Different Ways You Can Become a Better Indoor Cyclist

Boost your stamina.

You know the old adage that slow and steady wins the race? There’s something to be said for that with indoor cycling. When you build endurance by pedaling steadily against resistance that simulates a flat road, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of being able to sustain an even   pace and a consistent effort for long periods of time. This will provide you with a solid base upon which to build your cycling strength, power, and speed but it’s also valuable in its own right because you’ll be able to ride for a long time and emerge feeling great. 

Strengthen your cycling performance with weight training.

Doing strength-training exercises for your lower body (particularly, your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes) can improve your speed, power output, and cycling efficiency, according to a 2015 study from Lillehammer, Norway. Similarly, a 2011 study from Odense, Denmark, found that combining strength training with endurance training leads to a greater increase in muscle strength and force development than endurance training alone among young, competitive cyclists. So if you’re a stranger to the weight room at your gym, go make friends with the equipment there.

Become a speed demon.

Many people have a comfort cadence, a pace (or range) that feels good to them. It may depend in part on your ratio of fast to slow twitch muscle fibers. But you can take steps to become a faster cyclist by manipulating your resistance and pushing your pace so that you break out of your comfort zone. Try sustaining a pace that’s 10 RPMs faster than what you’re comfortable with for 20 then 30 then 40 seconds at a time, until you can build up to sustaining that quicker pace for three to five minutes. You can also hone your ability to sprint by pushing your pace to 110 RPMs for 15, 20, then 30 seconds at a time. When it comes to speed, practice makes perfect.

Increase your core strength and stability.

While your legs are the primary generators of power and force in indoor cycling, your core, including your abs, lower back, and hips, plays a supporting role. Developing greater strength and stability in your core will help improve your posture when you ride and it can help you ride longer, faster or at a higher resistance. So if you’re not already doing various forms of the plank, V-ups, and bicycle crunches, it’s time to start.  

Sharpen your mental fitness.

It’s no secret that your state of mind can have a powerful effect on your physical performance—for better or worse. To tilt the scale towards the positive end of the spectrum, you’ll want to develop mental vigor, a tenacious, can-do attitude that will help you accomplish your athletic goals. You can do this by performing visualization exercises, using motivating mantras, and supercharging your workout with other mental tips and tricks.

Perfect your pedal strokes.

It’s not enough to make the wheel on the bike go round and round. To improve your power output, endurance, speed, and general cycling efficiency, you’ll want to develop smooth, fluid pedal strokes that have an oval or elliptical motion, rather than mashing or hammering the pedals up and down. The goal is to cultivate a streamlined movement with consistent pressure all the way around the circuit of a given pedal stroke, without any dead spots along the way. You can find out how to do that here.  

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