Cycling for general endurance

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Wintermute

Ass | Whiskey | Geopolitics
Apr 24, 2015
5,542
8,745
I was recently gifted a bike and I was thinking of adding it to my routine to build general endurance, VO2 max and leg muscular endurance.

What's the best way to do this?
  • Increasing ride time incrementally?
  • intervals?
  • riding hills?
 

Leigh

Engineer
Moderator
Pro Fighter
Jan 26, 2015
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Heart rate in the right zone (over 130bpm). I cycle regularly (went this morning) and find it quite hard to maintain that HR so I do a load of hills as my workout. Long, steady hills. I notice the difference quite quickly when I do something that requires fitness.

Use resting heart rate as a metric to track improvement.
 

Grateful Dude

TMMAC Addict
May 30, 2016
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Wintermute @peter_weyland there are a million and one training programs out there, I bet you can find one that sounds like a good fit for you.

If you google something like "cycling training plan VO2 max workout" or something like that. It will most likely involve intervals. Riding hills and increasing ride time also help you make gains, but different than doing intervals. They are all useful IMO, and you could likely do mixed workouts. Road cyclists really nerd out on this stuff and there should be a ton of resources online, so you should be able to look around and find something that sounds like a fit for you.

Do you cycle much now? If not, your first several workouts are going to be rough, but your body will start to adjust quickly if you stick with it and you should start to see improvements fairly soon. If you go with 2 or 3 rides a week, you will be blown away in a couple of months at the progress you have made.

Good luck, let us know how much fun that first interval workout is! ;)
 

Wintermute

Ass | Whiskey | Geopolitics
Apr 24, 2015
5,542
8,745
Grateful Dude @Grateful Dude thanks for the response, Dude. I've been just riding like 20 minutes around the neighborhood to get back into cycling. I have done HIIT in the past, but I didn't know if that was the best way to improve cardio. I also got a cycling... stand? Whatever lets you prop the back wheel up and cycle in the garage, so I can not kill myself here when it starts to rain.

Can't wait for my RHR to get down to 20!
 

Grateful Dude

TMMAC Addict
May 30, 2016
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Grateful Dude @Grateful Dude thanks for the response, Dude. I've been just riding like 20 minutes around the neighborhood to get back into cycling. I have done HIIT in the past, but I didn't know if that was the best way to improve cardio. I also got a cycling... stand? Whatever lets you prop the back wheel up and cycle in the garage, so I can not kill myself here when it starts to rain.

Can't wait for my RHR to get down to 20!
Not sure how much you want to invest in this, but there are some really cool resources available. I have a buddy that uses this service:

Trainer Road: Cycling training, Planning, and Analytics

The offer things like:
adaptive training programs - science based coaching to adjust your training program; the right workout every time kind of thing

Planning - Training plans designed to meet your specific goals

Training programs - Base Phase, Build Phase, Specialty Phase, etc.

Analytics

I think they also have their own forums for people to interact or exchange info about training


I think this is about $20/month, or a discounted rate if you buy the whole year. But if you use it, it's actually not too bad. As a comparison, my wife does spin classes once or twice a week, and those cost $20 to attend each class.

This may be deeper than you want to go, or maybe more $ than you care to invest, but I just wanted you to see that there are some incredible resources out there. Road cyclists go deep with this stuff, so others have already worked out all of the kinks and dialed this kind of training in. I only mountain bike, but a couple of my peers use this service, and it definitely kicked them up a notch or two as their fitness improved. Personally, I don't know much about training - I just go ride my bike a lot :). But I know that if I buckled down and started a program like this that I could make some leaps with my fitness.


Good luck, buddy!
 

Grateful Dude

TMMAC Addict
May 30, 2016
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Hey Wintermute @peter_weyland just curious if you have tried any cycling training or workouts yet?

My wife started spin classes a few years ago. It was really tough for her at first as she wasn't ever into that type of workout. She doesn't mountain bike with me, but we do have townie bikes and we go ride around like that together with our son. Those spin classes work though, she has some power now and is definitely more fit for cycling. I remember when I first noticed her improvement - we were on a moderate walking/jogging/biking trail at a park and I was pulling our son in a trailer behind my bike. We got to a decent size hill so I was just slogging along with the trailer, and she got up out of the saddle and just hammered it up the hill haha. Nice.

I tell you what, I also gained some benefit from pulling that trailer all the time. It was good training for my trail riding :)
 

Wintermute

Ass | Whiskey | Geopolitics
Apr 24, 2015
5,542
8,745
Grateful Dude @Grateful Dude Yeah, just started this week, actually- I've been sick. I'm waiting on a meter for the bike to really gauge progress, but the plan is to figure out the right intensity via the meter, and start with 20 minutes at that intensity. Add time until I get to half an hour (probably add a minute or two per workout), then start adding intervals or sprints to the half hour.

It's shocking how fast my legs are burning out, but it feels great when I step off and my legs are basically Jell-o.

I'm going to gauge efficacy by the improvements to my resting heart rate and my endurance during live rounds at the gym.
 

Grateful Dude

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May 30, 2016
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I ride a fixed gear bike about 20-40 miles it has no freewheel hub so you cant coast. not a low learning curve though to learn to ride one and it is harder on your joints.

View: https://youtu.be/PjJCl2Sbg0M
Nice man, fixies are fun. But like you said it has a learning curve. I had an older Surly that was set up as a fixie when I bought it, but I ended up changing it over to a single speed with a freehub because I was using that bike to pull my son in a trailer (which was a lot more friendly for that task).
 

SAJ

Posting Machine
Aug 2, 2015
1,754
2,786
Just my 2 cents l don’t really cycle but when I’m getting ready for competition,2 weeks out I do 3-5 x 1 minute sprints at max pace on the treadmill to increase vo2 max, one of the hardest things I’ve done but it definitely builds the engine and I feel the benefits on the mats almost immediately.

I also do a 9.6 KM run every week. I don’t like running, it’s sucks but running is king for cardio and increasing lung capacity.