By Polona Gosar Rankovic
Cycling base training, the process of using low-intensity rides to strengthen the aerobic system before moving on to harder workouts, is the key to long-term cycling success, both indoors and outdoors.
Base training is an essential part of every successful training program and every healthy lifestyle. Over the last few years high-intensity workouts have become more and more popular. While this is a positive development, you still need to know when to implement high intensity training (HIT) into your plan.
Why an Aerobic Base Will Improve Your Fitness and Performance
With all of the new exercise trends that are always developing in the fitness world, don’t lose sight of the basics. If you only train hard all the time you will never realize your full potential, and it does not matter whether you compete at an elite level or you are just a casual enthusiast attending a few Spinning® classes per week. Understanding the need for cycling base training, and performing the work, allows you reach your goals and stay healthy and fit.
The goal of the fitness industry is to make people healthier, but group exercise can be intimidating, because many programs promote high intensity too soon. Many instructors seem keen on skipping this important phase of training, because they think it is a boring phase where you simply plod through lots of miles. However, this is far from true. Endurance, strength and efficiency must be developed in order for high intensity-training to be effective.
How a Base Improves Your Fitness
Base building is a period where we prepare ourselves physical and mentally for bigger challenges.
Cycling base training works by helping your body to gradually adapt to carefully measured training and it has the following benefits:
- Raises cardiac output (a stronger heart that pumps more blood with one stroke)
- Increases blood flow to working muscles
- Creates higher levels of aerobic enzymes to allow for energy sources to be converted to fuel aerobically
- Improves ability to convert metabolic byproducts more effectively, meaning a slower accumulation of blood and faster lactate turnover
- Increases size and number of mitochondria (where energy sources are converted into fuel aerobically)
- Increases blood volume
- Activates more muscle fibers by producing a higher level of force
A Message for Spinning® Instructors
As an instructor, you always have the ability to choose the right path. It is important to have enough knowledge to be able to understand how the human body works and to be able to explain these key concepts to your students. Making people happier and healthier is the most important goal of this industry.
- Chapple, Thomas. Base Building for Cyclists: A New Foundation for Endurance and Performance. Boulder, CO: VeloPress, 2006
- Friel, Joe. The Cyclist’s Training Bible. Boulder, CO: VeloPress, 2002