Nov 18, 2013

Rethink Your Off-Season

Cycling strategy to bring better results in the spring

Winter season can throw a wrench into the best laid plans when it comes to maintaining a high level of fitness and readiness. Typically, the peak reached near the end of the active season fades through the colder months, then comes a rush to get back in form when the days get longer. While some seasonality in conditioning can bring variety and be a good thing, too much of a dip can make reconditioning difficult.

It's wise to look for ways to keep a good fitness regimen going. Taking a few weeks away from single-focus training to work at an approach that looks at overall wellness can rejuvenate mind and body. Burnout, either physically or mentally, sets riders back much more than taking a few weeks at a lower level will do when you get back on the bike hardcore. The right approach is all about finding the best balance for you. Try these ideas to help keep your off-season productive, with an emphasis on cycling sports.

Make the Most of the Dip

Increased upper body strength will help your overall efficiency and increase endurance.

Instead of just trying to find ways to maintain the routines from the height of the season, look into how your overall performance can be enhanced through variations in the methods you are using. Concentrating on strength exercises to build muscle all over your body can yield returns when the focus returns to being on the bike. Adding general strength training to spinning and cycling as much as time allows can benefit your performance down the line. Increased upper body strength will help your overall efficiency and increase endurance.

Remember to balance workout methods to include well-rounded approaches to building muscle. Doing lots of push ups, for example, needs to be planned together with a pulling exercise to help with posture and fight against potential injury.Core workout routines off-bike can include medicine ball rolls, squats, flexibility enhancers, and jumping exercises. Swimming is an excellent core workout that can add to your overall fitness level and be a nice change of pace.

Shifting in and Out of the Off Season

Taking your workout from the day-to-day push of your season through the off period and emerging strong on the other side is the goal. Start your off-season with a few days of rest and relaxation. Give yourself a break then begin a regimen focused on your entire wellness as a way of life. Riding a fixie is a good choice for your cycling portions. Locked into one gear and using your own body for braking is a great way to emphasize smooth pedaling techniques.

Segment your training in three phases - the first month of the off-season, it's fine to keep a more relaxed pace. Pick things up after that, and go over your nutrition routines to make sure you are eating the right foods. You should have taken your calorie intake down while pacing yourself slower. Now it's time to start adding energy foods back. As the next season draws nearer, spend more time on the bike and be less focused on core exercises, but don't drop them entirely. Get yourself, and your bike, tuned up for what's to come.

Core training in the gym, combined with nice rides in your target aerobic zone and solid nutrition keep your body ready for the quicker pace and harder workouts when the season draws near. Taking breaks helps keep you mentally sharp and helps you refocus when it's time to. One of the keys to a successful riding season is how you handle the break. Balancing down time with strength training and pedal work can see you emerge from the off-season in fine form and ready to go.