The days are short, the nights long, and “Baby, it’s cold outside!” The holidays are over, the treats are gone (well, maybe not GONE gone), and here we are in January with three months until the kickoff of our cycling season. If you’re feeling like you just want to hibernate and all that holiday cheer has landed on your butt, will you be ready to ride the roads at the start of the season? To keep your cycling muscles strong, what’s a Venus sister to do?
Winter sports (we live in Colorado, right?) or a few extra trips to the gym may burn off the fruitcake by April. An article from I Love Bicycling lists four of the best strength training exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home: planks, lunges, burpees, and crunches. Surprisingly, cycling does little to strengthen the core, yet a strong core will help you control your bike and prevent back pain from riding. Planks and crunches will strengthen core muscles, while lunges focus on the leg muscles. Burpees use all the muscles, so get ready to feel the burn! Squats are another great strength builder for your cycling muscles.
If you belong to a gym, add weights to your training routine. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy! Women especially reap the bone-sparing benefits of resistance training. For cardio, spinning in class or on a trainer in your home may not be as satisfying as being on a ride with your Venus sisters, but it will help your saddle parts stay cycle-ready.
This is also a good time to add yoga to your exercise routine as well — to open tight hips and stretch cycling muscles that haven’t been in use for a while. YouTube is replete with how-to videos on yoga for cyclists.
Of course, nothing replaces the miles of smiles while riding with friends, so if we’re lucky enough to get a stretch of good riding weather in the weeks to come, organize a ride and post it on the VBC Facebook page. (And be sure to check the page for off-season rides others have posted).
Some gals cycle to stay in shape. Others stay in shape to cycle. No matter what you do to stay fit in the off season, just keep moving!