Your Twice-A-Week Training Plan

No time? No problem. This turbo-charged plan will keep you fit when life gets crazy busy. – By Selene Yeager


Life happens. And sometimes a whole lotta life happens all at once, leaving you precious little time for that riding and exercising part. The good news is that can hang onto your hard-earned strength and fitness with just a couple hours a week. Research shows that twice a week strength training is effective for muscle development and even just one session a week can boost core strength. On the endurance side, short bursts of extreme intensity improve your V02max, raise your threshold and, yes, improve endurance. Still not convinced? A new medical survey of more than 63,000 adults found that just one to two exercise sessions a week was enough to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and death from all causes. So next time you’re ready to do nothing because you can’t do everything, do this instead.

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This circuit strengthens your primary, secondary and supporting cycling muscles, so nothing gets weak from neglect when you need to cut your workouts short.For the best results, set up your bike on your trainer so you can go straight from the off-the-bike circuit to the on-the-bike intervals. You’ll be done in under an hour.

1. Push Up to Renegade Row

Assume a push up position with your hands holding the handles of two dumbbells so the weights run parallel to your body. Position your feet hip- to shoulder-distance apart (the further apart they are, the easier the move). Perform a push up. Then, keeping your back straight, pull the right dumbbell to your right side, while pressing the left dumbbell into the floor for balance.  Return to the starting position. Repeat, pulling the left dumbbell to your left side. Return to start. Complete the whole sequence for 10 to 12 repetitions.

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2. Air Squat

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width, feet turned out a little. Extend your arms straight in front of you. Squat down until your butt drops below knee level. Quickly extend your legs and jump into the air. Land softly, immediately dropping into another squat. You can incorporate a box if you have access to one, but even without you’ll still be gaining explosive power. Repeat 10 to 12 repetitions.

RELATED: The Best Strength Exercise for Cyclists

3. Hip Hike to Crank Plank

Lie on your right side, with your right elbow under your shoulder, forearm in front for stability, and stack your left foot on your right. Place your left hand behind your head, elbow pointing up. In one motion, lift your hips to create a straight line down your left side. From there, slowly rotate, bringing your left elbow toward the right arm. Rotate back to the plank position. Lower hips and repeat full sequence for 10 to 12 repetitions.

4. Side Step Up, Leg Lift

Stand to the right of a 30 to 45cm box, step or bench. Step up to the side with the right leg, and plant your right foot on the box. Extend your right leg to stand on the box, while simultaneously lifting your left leg out to the side. Keeping the right foot planted, lower back to start. Complete a full set of 10 to 12 repetitions, then switch legs. To make it harder, hold dumbbells in your hands.

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5. Tabata Turbo Charge

Tabatas are the original high intensity interval training workouts. They’re super short, but very demanding. They train every energy system, so you’re ready to go when it’s time to go and are a great way to stay in shape when time is tight.

Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pedal as hard as possible (you’re going for maximum power output) for 20 seconds. Soft pedal for 10 seconds. Repeat 6 to 8 times.

Rest 4 to 5 minutes.

If you are accustomed to interval training repeat for another set—or two if you’re feeling game. If you’re new to intervals, stick to one set.

Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

RELATED: Smart Ways to Make Intervals Easier

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