Grand County, get ready to ride like the wind |

Grand County, get ready to ride like the wind

One of the best ways to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors during the spring, summer and fall months is to hop on your bike and go for a ride. Before you do however, make certain to prepare your body for the demands of outdoor cycling. Not only do you need to develop your cardiovascular endurance, you also need to develop your muscular strength, endurance and flexibility.

Therefore, integrate the following exercises, as well as those included in next week’s column, into your exercise program and then get out there and ride like the wind.

Cardiovascular Endurance/Principle of Specificity

– All forms of cardiovascular endurance exercise will enhance your cycling experience by improving stamina. However, the principle of specificity states that if you expect to be good at an activity, you must perform that specific activity frequently.

Therefore, one of the best ways to train for cycling is to cycle.

– Begin attending a group indoor cycling class or working on a trainer with your own bike two to three days a week for 12-16 weeks prior to beginning outdoor rides.

Gradually, as the weather permits and your fitness level improves, add an easy-terrain outdoor ride or two eventually building up to longer and more intense rides by incorporating steeper hills, hill sprints and flat road accelerations.

– Always warm-up on the bike for at least five to 10 minutes bringing the heart rate to the base of the target heart rate zone gradually increasing the intensity as the ride progresses. Remember, the longer the ride, the longer the warm-up.

– Before getting off of the bike, cool down by lowering the intensity and once you get off the bike, perform stretches for all major muscle groups of the body.

Stationary Dumbbell Squats (works the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, and the core)

– Standing with the legs more than shoulder-distance apart, rotate the shoulders back and down, lift the rib cage off of the waist, pull the navel toward the spine and maintain soft knees.

– Shoulders, hips, knees and toes should all be pointed straight ahead.

– Hold a dumbbell in your hands from one end suspending it in front and center of the body with the arms fully extended and elbows soft.

– Hinging from the hip joint, lower the body to a 90 degree angle at the knee joint (i.e. back of thighs no lower than parallel to the floor).

– Then, drive your body upward through your heels, clenching the buttocks until you are standing straight up. The concept is to sit down in a chair and then stand up.

– Avoid dropping the chest toward the floor or the thighs. Look straight ahead keeping your abdominals and core muscles contracted throughout.

– Inhale as you lower the body and exhale as you lift.

– Perform this exercise two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, slow two counts down and up, two to three days per week.

– Choose a dumbbell that challenges your lower body and core but never compromises your lower back or knees. If you are new to exercise, perform this exercise without a dumbbell initially until you can master it easily. Then, add a light dumbbell and work your way up to heavier dumbbells as your strength improves.

Next week, more exercises to help you prepare for outdoor cycling.

” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address:

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