Training for cyclists: the complete guide

Sunday 20 Jan 2019

Whatever your profile, many parameters can affect your performance and limit your safety during your bike rides. Want to know more so you can see real results on your next ride? The rest of this article will give you all the answers you need.

Your medical monitoring is essential

Before developing crucial points for each training of a cyclist, let’s recall the importance of medical monitoring. Indeed, this one allows us to ensure the maintenance of the health of the practitioner. Moreover, and thanks to various examinations (physiological, biomechanical, biological, psychological and nutritional), this follow-up will not fail to optimize your next sessions while detecting early on a possible state of overtraining.

Before, during and after cycling training

The plan for a cycling workout

The training plan is established by your coach. Evolving, this “roadmap” adapts to your condition and promotes optimal performance progression.
Why follow your coach’s training plan? Not surprisingly, your trainer will share his or her knowledge and will respect certain key points, particularly the rest phases (essential for contributing to the phenomenon of overcompensation).
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist, remember that overtraining often leads to opposite results and a state of fatigue that will require a long recovery period.

The warm-up

A cardio-respiratory warm-up is essential before any exercise. Forms of progressive musculo-tendinous stretching will also be recommended without reaching sensations of pain and alternating tension (6 seconds) and relaxation (6 seconds). These exercises are effective for all body segments and improve your muscle elasticity, so there is no need to deprive yourself of them at the beginning and end of the session to promote your recovery.


Another essential point to preserve your health and maximize your performance: recovery. Ideally active, this phase must ensure the restoration of all balances altered during the effort (hydric, carbohydrate, mineral, electrolyte …). In other words, without respecting your recovery, your capacities will decrease and could expose you to certain risks.

The health of the practitioner

This will not surprise any internet user: a healthy lifestyle will ensure an optimal physical potential. If nutrition and sleep are the main factors here, other points cannot be neglected.
The daily consumption of 20 cigarettes, for example, increases energy expenditure by 10% for the same effort.
Moreover, the use of cannabis adds to the problems associated with smoking a significant risk of demotivation, psychological disorders and uncontrolled behavior.
Finally, in addition to the abuse that is dangerous to health, the consumption of alcohol very quickly alters the capacities, vigilance and precision of a practitioner’s gestures. You will have understood, a healthy lifestyle is essential!

The quality of sleep

Sleep is obviously another essential phase for physical and mental recovery, and it must be respected according to your needs.
Now let’s develop an interesting factor: jet lag. If you are moving eastward, for example, you will need 1.5 days of adaptation for each hour of time difference: this will be facilitated by a bright exposure to light in the morning, by regularly advancing the time of getting up and going to bed in the days preceding the departure. On the other hand, if you are going west, one day per hour of time difference will be sufficient by delaying the time of getting up and going to bed and by practicing exposure to strong light in the evening before the sleep period.
Do you travel often? Note that it is strongly advised against using sleeping pills on the plane. If you must sleep during the day, don’t deprive yourself and take naps of less than thirty minutes.

The choice of itinerary

Choosing your itinerary is a critical step in your comfort. That’s why we recommend that you test different routes to evaluate their convenience. If the “Vélo – Genève et environs” map has unfortunately not been republished in the last few years, some sites will help you make your choice:

· SITG: Géoportail Mobilité
· SITG carte vélo
· TAC Mobilités
· Geovelo
· Bikecitizens
· Google maps

Let’s not forget about nutrition

To conclude, it would be unthinkable to talk about sports performance without mentioning diet. Indeed, the diet of a practitioner is the essence of his abilities. However, this subject requires detailed explanations that will not fail to boost your results during each outing. To find out more, don’t hesitate to consult this complete article!