Features of training professional cyclists

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Features of training professional cyclists
Features of training professional cyclists

Find out what training secrets professional cyclists hide and how they eat while preparing for the competition. The training process of a professional cyclist is hard and monotonous work. Salaries in this sport are far from those earned by footballers or hockey players. The cyclist must literally live cycling. Today we will tell you how professional cyclists train.

How professional cyclists train - features

People on exercise bikes

An average professional cyclist training session lasts 2 to 4 hours. Most of the time is spent on cycling. However, during the week, several hours are devoted to strength training, in which the emphasis is on the muscles of the legs. Cyclists are especially active in the gym during the off-season. The training schedule of a cyclist depends on his specialization.

As a reminder, a cyclist can be a strong sprinter, flexible miner, or all-rounder. Also, the training process is influenced by the upcoming races in which the athlete is going to take part. It can be one-day or multi-day races. It should also be noted that the athlete can receive the schedule of the training process from a personal trainer or his team.

Athletes devote the initial periods of training to increasing aerobic performance, and for this, long races are used with a heart rate of 60 percent of the maximum indicator. Thus, a relatively light and stable one is chosen, since the races can last almost the whole day and the athlete should not feel severe fatigue. With these basic workouts, the foundations of physical fitness are laid.

Cyclists work in this mode for one or two months, after which they increase the intensity of the activity to 75–80 percent of their maximum heart rate. Also at this time, interval training is used, and the entire distance is divided into segments that the athlete goes through with different intensities.

Just before the race, cyclists work at high intensity, 95-100 percent of their maximum heart rate. Note that with an increase in intensity, the duration of the distance segments covered by them decreases. To monitor their pulse during exercise, athletes use a heart rate monitor as well as a power meter. However, experienced athletes are able to determine all the necessary parameters according to their condition and at the same time not pay attention to the devices. During the off-season, athletes plan to rest, the duration of which ranges from one week to a month. But even at this time, they do not forget about training.

When talking about how professional cyclists train, there are several commandments that athletes follow:

  1. Exercise in moderation. Any person has a limit to his physical capabilities. You cannot constantly force the body to work at its maximum. Moreover, during training, the athlete must remain within certain limits of his own capabilities. Experienced trainers advise their trainees to work in a training session so that after its completion there is a feeling that a little more could be done. It is impossible in the classroom to bring your body to complete exhaustion.The ability of muscles to contract has its limits and when the body runs out of glycogen stores, you just need to stop and rest. If you ignore this recommendation and often overload the body, then as a result, the recovery time will increase dramatically. The higher the training level of the cyclist, the more noticeable the difference between hard and light training should be.
  2. Classes should be consistent. Our body is able to adapt to repetitive work. Athletes create a training plan in which many aspects remain unchanged throughout the time. However, we cannot say that all training turns out to be monotonous. If this is the case, then progress will slow down. Only through diversity can you grow. At the same time, an unprepared person, seeing the training plan of a professional cyclist, may not notice the differences. Every athlete understands that it is impossible to be at the peak of his form throughout the season. If you try to achieve this, then besides overtraining you will get nothing. Professionals always train consistently and try not to push their limits.
  3. Don't forget to rest. You must remember that the body adapts to stress only during rest. Only at this moment can the athlete become stronger and more enduring. The higher the intensity of the training, the more time should be devoted to rest.
  4. Try to train less often in a group. Group training has its advantages over individual training. However, they can provoke you to drive fast at a time when it would be worth slowing down. Treat group activities with caution.
  5. Plan to peak your form. The training plan should be designed so that the athlete is in peak condition just before an important race. All races in which it is planned to participate during the season should be divided into three types - A, B, and C. Type C races should be considered from the point of view of training races. Competitions of type B have a high priority, but when preparing for them, you should not force your form. Show everything you are capable of is only necessary in Type A races.

Catering for professional cyclists

The athlete at the table is preparing to eat

We've figured out how professional cyclists train. But it is quite obvious that without proper nutrition it is impossible to count on serious success. Often during the day during the race, athletes are forced to cover at least a hundred miles. Imagine how much energy the body should have in order for it to function normally all this time.

Cyclists consume large amounts of fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes, pasta. All of these foods are excellent sources of carbohydrates. However, in order to recover from a race or training, it is necessary to provide the body with protein compounds. The athletes themselves often admit that sometimes they even allow themselves fast food, but this is due to necessity. Most of the food eaten by cyclists is healthy and wholesome.

During the race, it is necessary to maintain fluid balance, as well as replenish energy reserves. For this, special bars and gels are used, which supply protein compounds and carbohydrates to the body. Note that during the training they act in a similar way, because the duration of the classes is not inferior in duration to the race, and sometimes even exceeds it.

There must be a bottle of liquid on the bike to avoid dehydration. Athletes during competitions or training do not drink plain water, but special drinks containing a complex of electrolytes, and sometimes caffeine.Before the start of the race, each athlete receives a musette bag containing energy bars, gels, small sandwiches and even cakes.

For one stage of a multi-day race, on average, cyclists burn about five thousand calories. In this case, the indicator of the energy value of the daily diet is a maximum of three thousand. This suggests that athletes can consume any food and not worry about it. However, cyclists are known for their obsession with body weight.

They often weigh their portions to help them stick to their calorie goals. They also often step on the scales after the race to determine the amount of food and water that should be consumed to restore body weight. During the off-season, the rider's body weight can exceed the competition by a maximum of five kilos. But they rarely think about it, because after the start of the training process, everything will return to normal. To keep an eye on their diet, professional cyclists turn to dietitians for help.

A few words must be said about the restoration. After hard training or racing, this is extremely important. To do this, they make light bike rides, during which the body recovers faster, and the blood flow is normalized. Athletes spend a minimum of eight hours sleeping, and some try to find time to take a nap, even after training, if the training schedule allows it.

After completing a race or training, it is imperative to consume restorative sports cocktails, which include protein compounds and carbohydrates. After a while, a full meal follows in order to accelerate the regenerative processes in the body. Each team has massage therapists who help to recover. It is known that massage accelerates the utilization of lactic acid.

What is the lifestyle of professional cyclists?

Cyclist with bike

The competitive stage in cycling lasts from January to October. Among all sports, it is among cyclists that the season is the longest. To stay in top shape all this time, professional cyclists need to adhere to a given pace of life. They must not only show results, but also have time to recover.

During the season, athletes have to travel often, but they do not have time to appreciate the beauty of the places in which they find themselves. Frequent flights are extremely tiring and after them you need to spend time on adaptation. During the off-season, many athletes travel with their families.

During the season, all athletes' thoughts are aimed at the result. They are required to participate in various promotional events, meet with the sponsors of the team. Often they have to give interviews for various media outlets. Before the start of the race, a team gathering is held, where the strategy is discussed. All these activities significantly reduce the amount of free time.

However, a professional must remain that way in everything, and his lifestyle is adapted to his career. Almost every professional athlete has his own business, which he will come to grips with after retirement. While the cyclist participates in competitions, he rarely sees his family and all his thoughts are aimed at winning the next race.

For more on training professional cyclists, see the following story:

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