Get bike fit in 2017 with this simple yet effective training plan
Having introduced leg exercises into our circuit in the last issue of ABR, it is important to start including some muscle balance into your workouts. The human body needs to be balanced in all areas to give you the best musculature to cope with your riding. This issue will start to work on your upper body and, in particular, your chest area.
In the real world, you’ll use your chest muscles when you push yourself up on the bars when standing, or when you are dealing with rougher terrain and soaking up some more vigorous movement from the bike.
Beat That Chest
The exercises here focus on three main muscles: the pectorals, the triceps and the anterior deltoids. You will have probably done this classic exercise in the past, but you may not be aware that modifications can be built into your circuit to work different areas and to prevent the workouts from getting repetitive.
The Classic Press Up
This can be done on the road and works the muscles mentioned above. Again you should start with muscular endurance repetitions and sets, so 15 reps and 3 sets, with 30 seconds rest between sets.
Start with your arms straight and slightly wider than shoulder-width, feet together and, most importantly, your back straight and backside down. There is a degree of core stability involved here, so you gain in that respect too.
Lower yourself down for one second until your chest nearly reaches the floor (for guidance – the height of a fist)(1), hold one second (2), then push up for one second to the start position (3).
Maintain a straight back and backside hold throughout the 15 reps. If you have access to a mirror, check your form and adjust if needed. You are looking to ‘lock’ your posture and should only be moving the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints during the press up.
You can incline and decline press-ups to provide variety and target upper or lower areas of the pectorals. Incline press up will target upper regions of the pecs and all you need do is use a chair or stair to press on. Make sure the chair will not move when performing the exercise!
Conversely, you can reverse these by putting your feet on the chair in the same press-up position and this will target lower areas of the pecs. These decline press-ups may need to be attempted when you gain muscular endurance adaptation after 3 or 4 weeks, as they are more challenging.
Use one of the press up activities above to integrate into a circuit of exercises that build with the quad activities we showed you in the last issue of ABR. A circuit is where you alternate muscle groups, so one leg set (squats) followed by one chest set (press-ups), and perform each muscle group exercise three times in total. The idea is to build up your circuit with the exercises in subsequent issues, implementing a 30-second rest between sets.