RAGBRAI XLII Countdown – July 20-26, 2014
Friends of RAGBRAI

Training blog

RAGBRAI Training: Indoor Training and Weight Training Suggestions



There were some questions in our training blog about how to do indoor training until the weather improves enough to ride outside.  We’ve enjoyed a very mild winter in Iowa and have been able to get outside on  weekends.  But usually, between the ice and snow and the darkness, indoor cycling is something we need to resort to.  Indoor trainers can also be used on rainy days or when you don’t get home from work until after dark.   I will give you some suggestions on how to get the most out of your indoor workouts without driving yourself batty in the process.   I have actually written an ebook on this subject, “Indoor Training For Cyclists”.  I will give you the highlights from this book. 

There are a variety of indoor trainers.  There are spin bikes at gyms where you can do spin classes.  Spin classes are a great way to build cycling fitness.   Usually you can ride these spin bikes on your own when there isn’t a class in session.  You can also get a variety of indoor trainers where your rear wheel mounts on them.  The most common types are wind, magnetic and fluid trainers.  They all have their advantages and disadvantages so check them out at your local bike shop.  When riding an indoor trainer, it is very difficult, especially mentally, so you don’t want to try to do long endurance rides on your trainer.  Instead, pick up the intensity a little and you can get a good workout in an hour or less.

A lot of bike computers run off the front wheel, which is stationary on indoor trainers, so you can’t tell how fast your are riding.  But the good news is all you need is a watch or a clock and ride by feel.  It’s okay just to get on and pedal at whatever pace you wish.  Any riding beats sitting on the couch!  However, if you want to try to increase fitness you should try picking up the pace.   For example, after a warmup, increase your effort until it feels somewhat hard and your breathing increases.  Hold this pace for one minute, then back off to your easy pace for two minutes.  You can repeat this pattern for 30 minutes or so, then ride easily for a few minutes for a cool down.  You can use any combination of intervals that you can dream up.  Part of the benefit of timed intervals is they make the time go by faster.   The important thing is to get your heart rate up, breath hard and work up a sweat. You can also play around with different gears and cadences, and adjust the resistance on your trainer if yours has such an adjustment.

I’ve also received some questions about weight training.  There are a number of reasons you should consider doing some strength training but the most important have to do with building balanced fitness and bone density.  Cycling is great for the muscles from the waist down but doesn’t do much for the arms, shoulders and core.  So, to complement your cycling strength you should do some strength training that incorporates your arms, shoulders and back.  A few exercises such as chest press, pulldowns, overhead presses and rows will do the trick.  Also, don’t forget your core muscles.  These are important for stability while riding and efficient transfer of power from your handlebars down to your pedals.  The other issue is bone density.  There are some reports that cycling leads to lower bone density than other types of exercise.  Unlike running where your legs and spine have to hold you upright, cycling is not a weight-bearing exercise. Your bike holds you up.  So while riding your bike is great for cardiovascular fitness, it doesn’t help your bones.  Strength training can help to do so.  It will also help make your fitness more well rounded.  Aim for one or two strength training sessions per week.  These only have to take 20 to 30 minutes per session.  If you are unsure how to do these exercises properly, seek some help from your local fitness center. This time of year is a great time to get started on some upper body work.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on preparation for your best RAGBRAI yet!

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and Personal Trainer. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team, the Iowa JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Team, the Above & Beyond Cancer RAAM Team, and he coaches individual cyclists.  He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted at coach@cyclesportcoaching.com

3 Responses on “RAGBRAI Training: Indoor Training and Weight Training Suggestions

Still Trying To Ride My Way Lean | My (first) Century

February 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

[...] although I often felt like I was making it up as I went. Today, I read an excellent article on the RAGBRAI Training Blog in which TJ Juskiewicz advises using “any combination of intervals that you can dream [...]

Fitness Trainer Orange County

March 6, 2012 at 3:39 am

Wow, amazing weblog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging glance easy. The full look of your web site is magnificent, as smartly as the content material!

Weight Training Program

July 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Nice article! Great post about By: Still Trying To Ride My Way Lean | My (first) Century! You efforts putting this blog together was worth the while. Well put Still.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Advertisement

Latest Blog Posts

  • Mayor's Annual Ride & Run for Trails is Saturday in Des Moines

    On April 19th, join the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department for the 2014 Mayor’s annual Ride & Run for Trails. In addition to the annual ride, the Parks and ...

  • RAGBRAI XLII Expo Gearing Up With Great Vendors!

    You can find it all at the RAGBRAI Expo, where RAGBRAI begins! Rock Valley Iowa serves as the host for the expo, held from 12:00 noon until 9:00 p.m. on ...

  • Tour de Cure: June 7, 2014 in Clive, IA and June 28, 2014 in Coralville, IA

    Tour de Cure is more than just a cycling event. It’s a life-changing event. A day full of fun and excitement where riders of all levels join forces in the ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: The Secret to Training for RAGBRAI

    by Coach David Ertl I can already see the responses to this title and several will likely involve beer.  But to your dismay I will not be talking about that aspect of ...

  • RAGBRAI Week-long Rider Registration Deadline is April 1

    Your week-long rider registration must be finalized by April 1 (registration, waiver, and payment).  All week-long rider minor waivers must be postmarked by April 1.  Any groups will weeklong riders ...

  • RAGBRAI 2014 Registration FAQ

    The RAGBRAI XLII weeklong rider registration deadline is coming up ( entries due April 1) so we thought answer some of your most commonly asked questions to help make the ...

  • RAGBRAI 2014 Route for Saturday, July 26: Independence to Guttenberg

    Day 7: Independence to Guttenberg And now: The hills. The final day’s 3,000-foot climb is just about twice as high as most of the previous days. So if riders didn’t know ...

  • RAGBRAI 2014 Route for Friday, July 25: Waverly to Independence

    Day 6: Waverly to Independence The route zigzags northeast toward Tripoli (pronounced trih-PO-la, by the way) and then curves past the Sweet Marsh Wildlife Management Area, a refuge for deer, doves and various ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: Training Plan for RAGBRAI 2014 and How to Use it

    One of the most popular posts I write each year is this one – the one that has the training plan in it. Once again I have put together ...

  • RAGBRAI 2014 Route for Thursday, July 24: Mason City to Waverly

    Day 5: Mason City to Waverly Riders can rest their weary bones where older bones have been resting for a long time: at the Fossil and Prairie Park Preserve and Center ...

Latest Videos

  • Spring fever? Here's how to get your bike road ready

  • Tour the RAGBRAI XLII route with a flyover

  • RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz shares tidbits about this year's ride.

  • RAGBRAI announced its third shortest and second flattest route in its history on Saturday. Watch the full announcement party.

  • The overnight towns are announced for 2014

  • RAGBRAI and Bacon Fest are teaming up to create the "Bacoon Ride," a new event coming in June 2014.

  • Take a look back at the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa in 2013.

  • Nana's Delicacies served fried Jell-O, fried Klondike Bars, and Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers just outside of Hedrick.

  • RAGBRAI announced the 2014 logo on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.

  • "Christmas in July" was a hit in Runnells last week during RAGBRAI 2013

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2014 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy