Saturday Morning Drills: Olympic-Style Cycling

We’re now well into the Olympic Games and the excitement has officially set in. Watching American athletes compete so passionately inspires us to want to get out there and hit the pavement, dunk the ball, and stick that landing, too. And today? We want to get down and dirty on the road, cycling style.

To really channel our inner cyclists, we’ve summoned the help of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for a seriously intense interval workout that you can do at home on a stationary bike, or on the road with a road or mountain bike.

Developed by ACE’s director of professional education, Anthony Wall, this roughly 1-hour workout is sure to blast calories and get your heart rate up quick with a series of challenging intervals.

One hour of cycling can burn between 400-700 calories. But if you don’t have a full hour to devote, simply scale back and shorten your interval times or the length of your warm-up and cool-down.

To measure your level of exertion during the workout, determine your rate of perceived effort of RPE before starting by using a simple 1-5 scale – one being easy and five being difficult. Once you have that scale in mind, it’s time to get started.

Warm up: Begin your workout with a warm-up that combines aerobic activity with stretching to help minimize your risk of injury and lessen fatigue during training. Do so by riding your bike at a low intensity level for 5-10 minutes, and then riding for 10 minutes at moderate intensity.

Tempo intervals: Once you’re warmed up, transition into tempo intervals which alternate between an RPE 5 and an RPE 3-4. Perform your first 2-minute tempo interval at an RPE 5; breathing should be a bit challenging. Then perform a 5-minute recovery interval at an RPE 3-4. Repeat this cycle three times for a total of 21 minutes.

Up the pace: Now it’s time to increase the length of your intervals by completing a 3-minute interval at an RPE 5, followed by a 6-minute recovery interval at an RPE 3-4. Perform this twice for a total of 18 minutes.

Cool down: Slow your pedaling to an RPE 2-3 for approximately 10 minutes, followed by another 5-10 minutes at RPE 1-2, or perform another aerobic activity such as walking.

And that does it – you’ve completed a cycling workout that even Olympic athletes would likely find challenging. Be sure to check out all of our Saturday Morning Drills for even more weekend fitness inspiration.

Also Read:

Run Like an Olympic Track Star  

The 2023 Paralympic ‘Superhumans’ Will Inspire and Unite

The Top 10 Most Enviable Bodies of the 2023 Olympics

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