Hi there. I normally post in the mountain bike thread and have never really thought seriously about training before. My question is hopefully fairly simple, and in return I'm hoping for a fairly basic answer. I tend to not ride through the winter, but do go out walking when I can. This year however I have joined a gym and intend going at least 3 times a week. All I want is to be able to feel semi fit next year when I get back on the bike, and maybe avoid piling on all those extra christmas pounds. What sort of exercises should I be looking at doing? Please bear in mind I've never set foot in a gym before now.....
Since you're new, I would see if the gym will help you by showing you the correct ways to use the weights or machines. In the process, they should also be able to help with which exercises you might want to try. Basically, any well rounded routine is a good place to start, and take it easy for the first couple weeks so you don't hurt yourself.
I would also look into a cycle trainer. 30/40 minutes three times a week will help you with your cardio, on bike fitness, and keeping some of the poundage off. Also, the gym may have a spinning class that you might enjoy.
I have found circuit training to be excellent during the winter months. It promotes both muscular maintenance and cardiovascular conditioning. Basically, you do a full-body workout interspaced with short 3-minute sessions of cardio (of your choice: stationary cycling, jump rope, etc.). You would want to focus on compound movements, not isolation sets. An example would be:
A 5-minute stationary bike warm-up; followed by a 5-minute series of quick calethenics, i.e. push-ups, sit-ups, squat thrusts, etc.
Then move on to your main session of:
1. Chest and Tris: Bench Press OR Dumbell Flies
2. 3-minutes of quick cycling
3. Back and Bi's: either bent over rows OR seated rows OR lat pulldowns/chin-ups
4. 3-minutes of quick cycling
5. Legs: Squats OR Deadlifts
6. 3-minutes of quick cycling
Repeat for 3 sessions . . . mix up the choices each round (i.e. do bench press one round, then dumbell flies another, etc).
Move as quickly as possible from one to the other.
You'll find you will sleep very soundly at night.
Remember, recovery is just as important as working out. It is when your body is repairing itself and preping for the next workout. 3x a week should be sufficient. If 3x a week doesn't feel sufficient, increase the intensity until it does.
Just a friendly suggestion as I pass through the posts.
Here's a good C/V routine which will also work on your lower body strength and endurance. For upper and core, seek help of a Personal Trainer to learn to do these properly.
My interval training routine:
Warm up on the rower for 10 minutes. Use an underhand, low row for 25 reps., another 25 doing a bicep curl. Overhand grip for 50 reps. Put the handle in the right and then left hand (hold handle vertically and pull to right of ribcage for 25 reps. and then left of ribcage for 25 reps) and then overhand grip and pull high (aim for your chin ).
Treadmill: 2 min. warm up. Incline to 10. 3.7 power walk. Speed to 5.7 and incline at 1 and run for 8 minutes. Ramp up incline to maximum (usually 15), speed at 2.9 and do travel lunges for 5 min. 2 min. cool down.
Elliptical with Nordic Track: Start at level 7 for one minute, nothing lower than 155 SPM (strides per minute), level 8, >150 SPM, level 9>145, level 10>135, level 11>130, level 12>120, now go backwards to level 7 and repeating the necessary SPM. Repeat this routine for a total of 4 times (up, down, up, down =4)
Recumbent bike (targets hamstrings more than upright): Start at level 3 for 1 min. Go up to level 6 and try to stay at nothing less than 105 RPM's for 3 min. Go down to level 3 and "spin out" as fast or slowly as you like and repeat.