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Made for cyclists of all skill levels

NYU Langone Training Plan

GET READY, GET SET… GET CYCLING!

But first, let’s talk through some key pre-ride prep that’ll get your body and mind to roll.

Warm-Up and Cool-Down

With a proper warm-up and cool-down routine, you can engage the muscles that power your ride and help prevent injury. Board-certified exercise physiologist and Sports Health expert at NYU Langone, Heather Milton, explains and demonstrates essential exercises you can easily practice at home to keep your on-bike time running smoothly.

 

Step 1: Slowly build mileage. 

 

The old saying” slow and steady wins the race” is a safe and conservative way to gradually increase your fitness routine, which will keep you from hitting the wall during competition, whether you’ve got plans to take on a century or a 40-mile ride through the five boroughs (hint, hint).

 

If you’re planning to clip in for the fun-filled tour through NYC’s five boroughs this August, it’s a good idea to start training now. Training will help your body prepare well, so you can enjoy the ride and work out any kinks in your gears before the event. The chart below demonstrates an excellent progression to follow while you’re ramping up your routine. Let’s say you currently average three 30-minute rides to and from work each week. You can start with a fourth ride on the weekend dedicated to progressing the mileage. Then add some stretching and cross-training to avoid tightness caused by extra time in that seated position.

 

M T W Th F S Su
30 min 30 min 30 min 60 min
30 min 30 min 30 min 90 min
30 min 30 min 30 min 120 min

 

If you’re starting your routine with less total time per week than you’d like, don’t stress! It’s okay if you don’t build up to 40 miles on a training ride. In fact, it’s better to progress slowly and get 20-30 miles rather than jumping the gun and trying for 40 right away.

Step 2: Balance your body. 

Getting your body ride-ready isn’t just something you do while you’re pedaling! You can do all kinds of exercises off your bike to help keep you fit and ready for the hills, bridges, and miles in the saddle.  While cycling, the body tends to hold a similar position over an extended time, so some muscles remain in a shortened and tight position while others are lengthened or weakened. Over time, imbalanced muscles can contribute to compensation patterns and overuse injuries.

 

To keep everything balanced and working to its full ability, or even increase that ability, add some mobility drills to the beginning of your workout to ensure you are getting a good warm-up and getting the range of motion your body needs to move at its best. Check out our recommendations in the gallery below.

 

Walking Lunge

Glute Bridge

Cat + Cow

Foam Rolling

Try 10 repetitions of the following before each workout!

Walking Lunge:

  • Start with feet together. 
  • Step one foot out far in front of you, and bend the back knee down towards the floor as you raise the arms up to the ceiling. 
  • Push off the back leg and swing the back in up and in front of you. 
  • Repeat with the other leg. This is one repetition.

Cat + Cow:

  • Get on your hands and knees with wrists under your shoulders and knees in line with hips.
  • Arch your low back as shown in the left image.
  • Then round your back as shown in right image.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Glute Bridge:

 

  • Begin lying on your back, belly button pulled in towards spine and feet flat, heels pulled in towards hips. 
  • Exhale and squeeze the gluteal (butt muscles) to lift the hips just until the thighs, hips, and shoulders are all in one straight line.
  • Hold for a count of 3 seconds.
  • Progress to single leg bridges when this becomes too easy.

Foam Rolling:

 

As the name suggests, this technique involves rolling the muscles of the thigh, back of leg, hips, and lower leg over a hard foam roller. 

  • Begin at the start of a muscle rather than the belly (i.e. for the hamstring, start just above the knee or just under the buttocks, rather than in the middle of the back of your leg).
  • Roll slowly over the muscle from beginning to end, but not over the knee joint.
  • Remember to breathe!

Step 3: Cross-train.

It may seem counterintuitive, but stepping out of the clips can actually help you perform better while you’re in ’em. We recommend also working in some resistance training 2-3 days per week. Resistance training will help improve that power during the power phase of the pedal stroke. This requires strength of the core, gluteal muscles, quads, and calves. Resistance training is a great way to build muscular efficiency and strength to help you conquer those climbs.

 

Below are some examples of exercises that have a nice carryover to cycling performance. Start with just 1-2 sets per exercise; if you have less experience with resistance training, then build as you get stronger.

 

Single-Leg Squat with Trunk Rotation

Bird Dog

Step-ups

Prone Superman with Shoulder External Rotation

Lateral Band Walks

Plank with Hip Extension

Single Leg Squat with Trunk Rotation:

 

  • Stand on one leg. 
  • Engage the lower abdominals and keep your pelvis level.
  • While maintaining a level pelvis, perform a shallow squat. 
  • Slightly rotate your shoulders toward your stance side at the same time you perform the squat.
  • Return to the start position.
  • Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.

Step-Ups:

 

  • Start with your right foot on a step 4-6 inches high.
  • Hold dumbbells at shoulder height.
  • As you step up on the right leg, drive the left knee up and press the weight up to the sky.
  • Next, rotate your body 90 degrees to the left. To step down. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.

Lateral Band Walks:

  • Begin by tying a resistance band around your thighs. 
  • Perform a mini-squat, keeping your knees in line with your second toe. 
  • Hold the mini squat position as you step out to the right side with your right foot.
  • Be sure to keep your toes facing forward, and push to the right side with your heel, not the toe. 
  • Bring your left foot to meet the right, this is one repetition.
  • Do 10 repetitions.
  • Advanced version: Make the band tighter and put it around your ankles.

Bird Dog:

  • Start on your hands and knees, placing your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  • Draw your belly button up towards your spine and extend your opposite arm and leg out as pictured.
  • Return to the start position.
  • Repeat, but this time with the alternate leg and arm.
  • This is considered one repetition. Repeat 10 times.

Prone Superman with Shoulder External Rotation:

  • Lay on your stomach with your shoulders and elbows at 90-degree angles and your thumbs pointing up towards the ceiling.
  • Keeping your pelvis and legs on the ground, lift your chest off the ground while maintaining your arms aligned with your trunk.
  • Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Plank with Hip Extension:

  • Start in a plank position with your shoulders directly over the elbows and hands, draw your belly button in towards your spine, and maintain a flat back. 
  • Continue checking each cue listed in the above bullet (like shifting eyes from mirror to rearview mirror and back while driving).
  • Lift one leg slowly while you maintain abdominal contraction. Repeat on each leg 5 times.

The Sports Health experts at NYU Langone offer state-of-the-art diagnostics for athletes, including Health & Fitness evaluations, Cycle evaluations, VO2 + Lactate analysis, and Nutrition consultations. As our official partner, they are offering all participants exclusive concierge access to their multidisciplinary team. Whether you want to improve your performance for race day, have a nagging orthopedic injury, or need an annual checkup. Fill out an appointment request form below, and one of their experts will be in touch to create a customized plan just for you!

Developed by Heather Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, Exercise Physiologist Supervisor and Sports Health expert at NYU Langone.

Want to speak with a Sports Health Expert? As Bike New York’s official healthcare partner, NYU Langone has exclusive concierge service for our members.