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Health & Fitness

Your Six-Week Exercise Plan to Get Ready for a Bicycling Vacation

Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Story by: Jen Farrugia & Brendan Copley | Travel Writer

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To help all travelers get ready for their next active vacation, we asked certified athletic trainers Jen Farrugia and Brendan Copley of PT360, a state-of-the-art physical therapy practice in Vermont, for help.

Your Six-Week Exercise Plan to Get Ready for a Bicycling Vacation 7

Maybe you’re a longtime cyclist who wants a new challenge before cycling through old-world villages. Maybe you’re looking to get back to biking after a long time away (Don’t worry…your secret’s safe with us!). Or maybe you’re looking to turn over a new leaf and try something entirely new (if so: congratulations!).

Whoever you are, you’re in luck. We believe that virtually anyone can enjoy a cycling vacation—even one that average 30 miles a day—no matter their level of experience. And when you do, you’ll discover that there’s no better way to explore the world.

All it takes is a little prep time.

To help all travelers get ready for their next active vacation, we asked certified athletic trainers Jen Farrugia and Brendan Copley of PT360, a state-of-the-art physical therapy practice in Vermont, for help. Jen’s been an athletic trainer and rehabilitation specialist for more than ten years, studying in West Virginia and managing a wellness center in Wyoming. Passionate about the joys of movement, Jen takes a whole-body approach to her work. Brendan has helped people perform at their best from Quinnipiac in Connecticut to Washington State University. Today, he works with University of Vermont sports teams, so he knows a thing or two about training, whether for a big game or a big ride. Together, they put together a six-week program to help even the most devout couch potato get ready for a week-long biking trip.

 

Get the Downloadable Fitness Plan

 

Get Bike-Fit in 6 Weeks

A NOTE TO ENHANCE YOUR TRAINING: Each week has cross-training days built in, designed so you can go at your own pace and comfort level. Adjust them as desired, depending on your most recent activity level.

Incorporating stretching and/or yoga one to two times weekly is important as you transition back onto the bike two to four days a week. The stretches below focus on hips openers. Lunges and squats also serve as great mobility movements and hip openers. It’s okay to replace biking for one day of hiking, swimming, or running to help the body move more fluidly and still get your aerobic work in.

ABBREVIATIONS YOU’LL SEE ABOUT YOUR CYCLING PACE:

TP – Talking Pace. Spinning at a pace that would allow you to carry on a conversation while riding.
MP – Moderate Pace. You’re definitely working, but you could only get a few words of conversation in between breaths.
HP – Hard Pace. You’re going all in, pushing at the pedals just short of maximum effort.

WEEK 1

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 30 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP

Wednesday: Cross Training – Perform 1-2 rounds

  • 10 x Squats
  • 10 x Eccentric calf raises (perform calf raises on a stair and allow heels to drop below parallel)
  • Wall sit 10-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 10-30 seconds
  • + Accessory work (see below)

Thursday: 30 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP + stretching or yoga

Friday: Rest Or Cross Training – Perform 1-2 rounds

  • 10 x Squats
  • 10 x Eccentric calf raises (perform calf raises on a stair and allow heels to drop below parallel)
  • Wall sit 10-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 10-30 seconds
  • Side plank 10-30 second hold
  • + Accessory work

Saturday: 45 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP

Sunday: 30-45 minutes bike, jog, or hike at TP + stretching or yoga

WEEK 2

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 35-45 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP

Wednesday: Cross Training – Perform 3 rounds

  • 10 x Squats weighted (can use household items in a backpack if you do not have weights)
  • 15 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Eccentric calf raises (perform calf raises on a stair and allow heels to drop below parallel)
  • Wall sit 35-45 seconds
  • Plank hold 30 seconds
  • + Accessory work

Thursday: 35-45 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP + stretching or yoga

Friday: Cross Training – Perform 3 rounds

  • 10 x Squats weighted (can use household items in a backpack if you do not have weights)
  • 15 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Eccentric calf raises (perform calf raises on a stair and allow heels to drop below parallel)
  • Wall sit 35-45 seconds
  • Plank hold 30 seconds
  • Side plank hold 10-20 seconds per side
  • + Accessory work

Saturday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP + stretching or yoga

Sunday: 30 minutes bike, jog, or hike at TP + stretching or yoga

WEEK 3

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 45 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 15-20 minutes at a MP

Wednesday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 30 minutes:

  • 15 x Squats
  • 15 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 15 x Eccentric calf raises (perform calf raises on a stair and allow heels to drop below parallel)
  • Side plank 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 30-45 seconds, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Thursday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 20 minutes at a MP + stretching or yoga

Friday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 30 minutes:

  • 15 x Squats
  • 15 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 15 x Eccentric calf raises (perform calf raises on a stair and allow heels to drop below parallel)
  • Side plank 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 30-45 seconds, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Saturday: 90 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP

Sunday: 45 minutes bike, jog, or hike at TP + stretching or yoga

*TIP: If you are sore from increased saddle time, then trade a bike day or two out for swimming, hiking or a jog!

WEEK 4

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 20 minutes at a MP. Every 5 minutes during your MP, go 30 seconds at HP (unless you’re on an outdoor route with a lot of hills)

Wednesday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 35 minutes:

  • 10 x each Lunges alternating
  • 20 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and heels elevated on a chair, couch, or ottoman; raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Squat to Overhead press (hold two weights at your shoulders with palms towards each other; raise weights overhead and lower with control; repeat)
  • Side plank (can perform with bottom knee down) 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 1 minute, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Thursday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 20 minutes at MP + stretching or yoga

Friday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 35 minutes:

  • 10 x each Lunges alternating
  • 20 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and heels elevated on a chair, couch, or ottoman; raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Squat to Overhead press (hold two weights at your shoulders with palms towards each other; raise weights overhead and lower with control; repeat)
  • Side plank (can perform with bottom knee down) 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 1 minute, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Saturday: 120 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP

Sunday: 45 minutes bike, jog, or hike at TP. Every 5 minutes perform 1 minute at MP-HP + stretching or yoga

WEEK 5

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 20 minutes at MP or find a hill climb of about 20 minutes

Wednesday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 35 minutes:

  • 10 x each Lunges alternating
  • 20 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and heels elevated on a chair, couch, or ottoman; raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Squat to Overhead press (hold two weights at your shoulders with palms towards each other; raise weights overhead and lower with control; repeat)
  • Side plank (can perform with bottom knee down) 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 1 minute, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Thursday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 20 minutes at MP + stretching or yoga

Friday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 35 minutes:

  • 10 x each Lunges alternating
  • 20 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and heels elevated on a chair, couch, or ottoman; raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Squat to Overhead press (hold two weights at your shoulders with palms towards each other; raise weights overhead and lower with control; repeat)
  • Side plank (can perform with bottom knee down) 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 1 minute, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Saturday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP

Sunday: 45 minutes bike, jog, or hike at TP. Every 5 minutes perform 1 minute at MP-HP or find a hilly running or biking route + stretching or yoga

WEEK 6

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors. Push to HP on all hills.

Wednesday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 35 minutes:

  • 10 x each Lunges alternating
  • 20 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and heels elevated on a chair, couch, or ottoman; raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Squat to Overhead press (hold two weights at your shoulders with palms towards each other; raise weights overhead and lower with control; repeat)
  • Side plank (can perform with bottom knee down) 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 1 minute, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Thursday: 60 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with 20 minutes at MP + stretching or yoga

Friday: Cross Training – Repeat the following movements for 35 minutes:

  • 10 x each Lunges alternating
  • 20 x Bridges (lay on your back with knees bent and heels elevated on a chair, couch, or ottoman; raise hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and slowly lower down)
  • 10 x Squat to Overhead press (hold two weights at your shoulders with palms towards each other; raise weights overhead and lower with control; repeat)
  • Side plank (can perform with bottom knee down) 20-30 seconds
  • Plank hold 1 minute, alternating between low plank from knees and high plank from toes
  • + Accessory work

Saturday: 90 minutes stationary bike or outdoors at TP with MP on hill climbs

Sunday: 45 minutes bike, jog, or hike at TP with 15 minutes at MP + stretching or yoga

Stretches & ‘Accessory’ Work

Hold each stretch for 60 seconds or as tolerated

Your Six-Week Exercise Plan to Get Ready for a Bicycling Vacation 2

Accessory Work: Perform 3 sets of 10 marches or steps per foot or as tolerated

Forward “T” 3 x 10 per side

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