Trying something new is both scary and exciting. This is how I felt only a few weeks ago when I hopped on a track bike for the first time. With proper training, I completed my first lap at the Velodrome with success. I currently participate in the Valley Preferred Cycling Center Corporate Challenge; on team Coordinated Health. Our team consists of six experienced and non-experienced riders. What is great about this sport is that you do not have to be an elite athlete to start. If you have a helmet, workout clothes, sneakers, and the willingness to learn, you’re set!
Martin “Marty” Nothstein, owner of the Trexlertown Velodrome and Olympic cyclist gold and silver medalist, is an amazing coach and teacher for both new and experienced cyclists. He is a great role model and truly understands the art of teamwork. I have learned that there are many different types of track cycling. To put it simply, you have ‘endurance’ or ‘sprint’ cycling events. Endurance riders actually spend little time on the track when training and are out on the road developing their aerobic abilities. They can also spend some time in the weight room. They ride at a very high intensity with high neuromuscular efficiency to ride longer and farther distances. Track sprinters are the opposite. They rely on power and speed for their training. They are on the track often and train often in the weight room.
A year-round strength and conditioning program for a cyclist is an essential aspect of training for every level of riding from beginner to elite. Here are some training tips to consider when you’re hopping on that bike for the first time.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
First and foremost, any chance you have to train with your bike on or off the track, do it! You should get as comfortable as you can with your bike so you are able to focus all your energy on technique. When riding on the road (if the track is not available), try to find areas with little to know steep uphill or downhill inclines. The goal is to set your speed to a stable, yet strong, cadence.
2. Functional Training & Conditioning
As a performance coach, it is important to know your medical history and where your body stands in regards to its balance, strength, flexibility, coordination, and aerobic capacity. At one of our Coordinated Health facilities, I would take a new cyclist through a Functional Movement Screening (FMS) to better understand what exercises are necessary for them to train for their cycling event. You will primarily be focusing on strength, endurance, power, & technique. Strength training will not only help improve your overall aerobic and endurance abilities, but it will prevent injury and promote recovery.
3. Sport-Specific Program planning
For acceptable improvements, you should effectively prepare 6-8 weeks before race day depending on your fitness level. Your exercise program will generally consist of a structured sport-specific program mixed with some maintenance exercises. You can be seen training 2-4days in the weight room. In cycling, you will almost always generally perform the following exercises:
- Squats, deadlifts, lunges, plyometrics
- Core exercises such as planks, incline push-ups, and single arm rows.
For more information, please contact Coordinated Health’s Performance Training Department to sign up for a training program specific to you!