5 Butt-Kicking Cycling Workouts


Image by: Marc
By Jake Bradshaw

The benefits of cycling are unlike any other workout. Not only does it sculpt your legs, butt and abs, but it has minimal impact, so it’s easy on your joints. Just one hour can burn 800 – 900 calories, plus it’s a great excuse to get out of the gym and enjoy some scenery and sun.

The cycling community is ever growing and due to recent environmental concerns, bicycles are appearing less on the track and more on the streets. According to National Geographic, if every American working within five miles from home bikes every day to their job, we would reduce total household emission by 6%..

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Cycling, though great for your health, isn’t 100% fail proof. Taking your bicycle to busy intersections can be dangerous. In 2011, over 38,000 bike injuries occurred, which is why it’s important to keep your guard up. Stay to roads that have bike lanes and most importantly, never try to be as fast as a car.

#1) 30-Minute Speed

This is a great workout for stamina. It’s a combination of full capacity and recovery, which builds mental strength. First, choose an area in town with a long road or highway, with minimal turns. Another alternative is to choose a popular bike trail and up the level of resistance (RPE) on your handle bar.

  • Set resistance to 5 RPE.
  • Start with a warm up. 10 minutes, neutral effort.
  • 15 seconds of hard peddling (8 RPE), followed by 1 minute cool down (back to 5 RPE).
  • 25 seconds of hard peddling (8 RPE), followed by 1 minute cool down (back to 5 RPE).
  • 35 seconds of hard peddling (8 RPE), followed by 1 minute cool down (down to 3 RPE).
  • 5 minutes neutral effort at 3 RPE
  • 15 seconds of hard peddling, standing up, at 8 RPE, followed by 1 minute cool down (back to 5 RPE).
  • 25 seconds of hard peddling, standing up, at 8 RPE, followed by 1 minute cool down (back to 5 RPE).
  • 35 seconds of hard peddling, standing up, at 8 RPE, followed by 1 minute cool down (down to 3 RPE).
  • 5 minutes of neutral riding at 3 RPE.

#2) 45 Minute Hill Climb

The hill climb is a very popular workout for biking. Incline is the key to building muscles in your legs, butt, and abs. Plus, it has shown to help with metabolism as well. Be careful if you have prior leg injuries however. The stress can pull something out of place if you push yourself too hard. Choose a big enough hill that takes about 1 to 2 minute to ride up hill.

  • 15 minutes, warm up, neutral effort at 5 RPE.
  • Up hill ride, 5 RPE, down hill at 3 RE.
  • Up hill ride, 6 RPE, downhill at 3 RPE.
  • Up hill ride, 7 RPE, downhill at 3 RPE.
  • 5 minute recover, neutral effort at 3 RPE.
  • Up hill ride, 5 RPE while standing, downhill at 3 RPE.
  • Up hill 6 RPE while standing, downhill at 3 RPE.
  • Up hill 7 RPE while standing, downhill at 5 RPE.
  • 10 min ride, medium effort at 5 RPE.
  • 5 minute cool down, neutral effort at 3 RPE.

#3) 20 Minute Sprint

This workout is great to do a couple times a week. Similar to what weight lifting does, it shocks your muscles and needs a day to recover, otherwise the muscles can get strained.

  • Find a decent biking trail, and figure out at time of the day where it is mostly desolate since you are going to be hard peddling most of the time.
  • 3 minute warm up, building up speed and RPM as you go.
  • 5 minute, hard peddling, 5 RPM.
  • 5 minute, hard peddling while standing, 8 RPM.
  • 5 minute, hard peddling sitting back down, 5 RPM.
  • 2 minute cool down at 3 RPM.

#4) Cross City Training

Begin by starting at the opposite side of your town, around 5 – 10 miles away is preferable. Use side streets if you can, and if you want to push yourself even further, highways that have walk ways for tourists or bike paths for cyclists can give you an extra edge.

  • Start moderate, at 5 RPE, 5 minutes (or 1 mile)
  • 1 minute hard peddling, at 8 RPE, 30 second cool down at 5 RPE (Repeat 5x)
  • Finish with a moderate cool down, 5 RPE.
  • Here’s a tip: If you want to double the intensity of your workout, drive your car to the starting location. That way, when you reach the end, you have no choice but to turn back and repeat the same routine.

#5) Cross State Training

This is for experienced cyclists only. Don’t consider this unless you feel you are truly ready for an all day bike workout. First timers should bring a friend with them.

  • Take the AmTrak (or any train) to the nearest major city, around 100 miles away. Let’s say Los Angeles to San Diego, which is about 120 miles.
  • Start early in the morning, 5 – 6 am. The train ride from LA to SD is about 4 hours, which puts you in SD at about 10 am.
  • If you begin right away, and stay moderate, stopping for an hour lunch, a rider can make it back to LA by 10 – 11 pm, full of endorphins and feeling great.

This particular workout should be moderate the whole time, don’t push yourself too hard. Trust me, you’ll get a great workout with amazing scenery, boredom-free. Beginners should ween into this, starting at just once a month. Once you get the hang of it, every other weekend can be a great leap forward.