Our RideINSIDE classes are designed using the same training principles that coaches use to build workouts that improve performance for cycling and triathlon disciplines! There’s a lot that goes into the RideINSIDE program. But what you get out of the class is still largely up to you! Following the cues and working at the prescribed effort is just part of the equation. Up your game by following these 6 tips!
Improve Your Core Strength!
Cycling is all about having a strong and stable core. A weak core means you need to spend extra energy that could be driving the pedals around on stabilizing your body on the bike. Once a day in the morning, before bed, or at lunch (whenever you have 10-15 minutes of free time) do a short core workout. It doesn’t have to be much! Try a plank challenge! Do a one minute plank everyday for a week. Build on that week-to-week until you’re up to four minutes! Incorporate 2-3 set of crunches, with 15-30 reps per set. Or pop by Yogatown on Fridays for their Core Jam yoga!
Your instructors love looking around the room and seeing all those epic pain faces! It’s how they know you’re working hard! But those pain faces aren’t doing anything to help you turn the pedals. Try to keep your face, shoulders, arms and neck relaxed. In cycling we call it souplesse —the ability to make a hard effort look effortless. All that tensing up is just wasted energy. Make sure you’re not shrugging your shoulders into your neck, that your arms have a slight bend at the elbows, and that your face is relaxed. You can trick your brain into thinking an effort is easier just by trying to give the impression that it is! Fake it ’til you make it!
Pay Attention to Your Form and Body Position
Keep your head up! When we’re working hard we like to look down between our legs. That’s not helping you turn the pedals! Keep your gaze out in front of you. A good general rule is to look out on to the floor 5-6 feet from the front of the bike. Keeping your head, neck, and spine in line not only reduces the chance for stiffness and soreness but it keeps your windpipe open and inline for better breathing.
Take a minute to pay attention to what’s going on with your legs and feet. Are your knees tracking way out? You might need to move your saddle up a little! Are your toes pointed down or are your heels well below your toes at the bottom of the pedal stroke? The former means your saddle might be too high, the latter, too low! What’s happening inside your shoes? Does it feel like your feet are rolling out or in? Is one foot floating inside the shoe? These are all things you want to avoid. A good even pressure on the ball of your foot is key!
Improve your Pedal Stroke and Cadence
Some of our classes incorporate cadence drills to improve technique and pedal stroke but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on it on your own during class! We always recommend a minimum cadence of 90rpm. This alleviates stress on your knees and joints when working at higher wattages. It’s also more efficient! Take a minute to pay attention to your pedal stroke. Are you trying to pedal in perfect circles? Or are you stomping on the pedal?
On the downstroke try to pretend you’re scraping gum off your shoe and avoid pulling up on the pedals. Your foot should never leave the sole of your shoe or feel like it’s floating or pulling on the upper part of your shoe. But you should NOT be stomping either! Think of your pedal stroke like you’re pushing down from 1 O’clock and around to 7-8 O’clock. Let your foot ride the wave from 8 through 12.
Practice Getting Out of the Saddle
Some of our bikes are fixed, meaning you can’t stop pedaling and just coast as you would on your ten speed. These bikes make it easier to stand (and when you’re standing on a fixed, you really get a sense for what we mean when we say ride the wave).
Every now and then jump on a freewheel bike so you can practice freewheel out-of-saddle work. The important part about being out of the saddle is balance. You don’t want your butt way back over the seat nor do you want to be out over your handlebars. Think of the bottom bracket (the pivot point where the pedal arms attach) as your centre of gravity. Stay over top of that with a little bit of weight on the handlebars for balance. Keep elbows tucked and bent slightly. Turning up the resistance also helps you stand on the freewheel bikes but try to avoid adding so much that you’re pedalling through mud!
Stretching and Recovery
You’ll probably find that most of our instructors don’t do post-ride stretching. The primary reason is because there just isn’t enough time to really do a useful and meaningful stretch after a workout. Cycling isn’t a heavy muscular high impact effort like running so there’s not as much tightening and retraction of muscles. It’s best to spend 10-15 minutes (maybe during your core workout!) per day doing some good proper stretching and rolling.
At the end of class, during your cool down, you can aid in recovery by spinning easy but with a higher than normal cadence. This will help prevent seizing and keep your legs feeling loose.
It’s always a good idea to eat after a ride! Even if weight loss is your goal, proper recovery so you don’t feel sluggish throughout the day is important!
Enjoy the Ride!