Body Movement Tips for Smooth Bike Ride
A skilled cyclist is one who is focused and has strong control over his both mind and body. Just as a golfer swings his club with ease, and a soccer player kicks the ball with great power; so should the rider be when riding on his or her bike.
In order to establish a good connection with his or her bike, the rider must take care of his body. This involves having a good posture, warming up and cooling down, and engaging in training sessions. By keeping these things in mind and incorporating them into your daily routine, you will eventually improve your biking skills.
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How to Move Your Body on a Bike
Good posture is crucial to ride smoothly. When a person has poor posture, sooner or later this would cause pain in his or her neck, back, and other parts of the body. When a person feels pain, he or she is more likely to get tired easily or even get injured.
Consider the posture of cyclists who participate in races. Their backs are arched forward while their heads are tilted downward, a position that greatly increases their speed. On the other hand, when a rider is on a rough terrain, the head needs to raised up while the back is sitting up straight.
In other words, the kind of posture you assume will depend on the kind of ride you are on. In any case, your posture must be aligned with the bicycle seat and the handlebars. The size of the bike must also be "tailor-fit" to your body; otherwise, you will only end up damaging your posture.
When your body has good posture, it is more relaxed and able to handle different kinds of road surfaces. You will be confident in riding rough terrains as well as smooth surfaces. By practicing good posture, you can also face a bumpy ride and an unpredictable trail with great ease and comfort.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Aside from having a good posture, it is also important for you to warm up before riding, as well as to cool down afterwards. Warming up should take you about 10 minutes. Once you start pedaling, begin slowly, select a cadence that you are comfortable with, and take your time before going fast.
Cooling down is also essential; you can do this by taking a slow ride for about five minutes before coming to a full stop. Breathe deeply and take your time as your body relaxes into a slower pace. Remember that cooling your body down is just as important as getting it warmed up.
Get in Shape Through Training Programs
If you are truly serious about getting in shape in order to improve your cycling, then you should consider engaging in a training program that suits your needs.
There are different kinds of training, but the four major types are speed training, revolutions training, stop-start training, and "full tilt" training. Speed training involves riding with a low cadence, at around 80 to 90 rpm. When you do this regularly, your aerobic capacity will greatly improve.
For better results, try to carry out this kind of training with as little interruptions as possible, so you can concentrate. Meanwhile, when you engage in revolutions training, begin with a low resistance and light gears on a flat surface.
You can begin with a cadence of about 90 to a hundred rpm, gradually raising it to about 120 rpm. Do this constantly and watch your pedaling efficiency get better and better.
As the term suggests, stop-start training is a combination of fast and slow pedaling. First of all, use a gear that would enable you to reach a cadence of about 100 rpm or more and then alternate three-minute quick bursts with three minutes of cooling down.
Regular stop-start training can eventually help to improve the efficiency of your body. Full-tilt training is specifically designed to help increase your rate of acceleration.
It begins with moderate speed using a moderate gear, and then a fast sprint while standing up. The sprints should last for about 12 seconds only, and then alternate with about five minutes of cooling down before sprinting again.
If you are a beginner, you should limit your training to about two and a half hours only per week. Slowly, you can increase this to about four hours a week within two months. Choose workouts with moderate intensity and focus on your aerobic fitness.
If you are an intermediate cyclist, you can gradually increase your training to about five and a half hours per week. At this point, you should be able to maintain a faster speed when you ride.
Eventually, your body should be able to train for about six and a half hours per week and with greater intensity levels. After two months of training, take note of how well you have improved since the beginning. Check your running time and write down any changes, and see if you need to modify your training sessions.
To check if you have improved, try recording the time it takes for you to ride a three-mile route. For male cyclists, those who take 12 minutes or more to finish are considered as beginners.
Intermediate cyclists, on the other hand, are able to finish in eight to 10 minutes, while the sport cyclists are capable of finishing the route in less than eight minutes.
For female cyclists, those who take 14 minutes or more are considered as beginners. Meanwhile, intermediate cyclists are capable of finishing in 10 to 12 minutes, whereas sport cyclists can finish the route in less than 10 minutes.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of your gender or age, always remember that the key to truly improving your biking skills is to build your “core.” This includes exercising your arms and legs, as well as focusing on your back and even your stomach. In doing so, your breathing will improve, your body will relax, and your body can perform with greater efficiency.