The sport of cycling can take place over long street courses, various off-road courses, or on a track. Track cycling is an intense sport, and an Olympic event that requires you to have strong legs and the ability to accelerate at a moment’s notice. Training for track cycling can take a few different forms depending on the type of track cycling you do.
Track cycling consists of races of varying distances that take place on an indoor, banked track. Two broad categories of track cycling races are those that are less than 1,000 m and those greater than 1,000 m. Individual races include the 200 m sprint, individual pursuits, team pursuits, time trials and the one-hour record where cyclists ride for one hour and cover the greatest distance possible. The individual pursuit consists of two cyclists trying to post the best time over a specific distance. The team pursuit has the same concept, only the race is run in teams, where cyclists take turns setting a pace that other teammates have to follow. Teams race on opposite ends of the track and the goal is to have the fastest time over a set distance or catch up to the other team.
Lower Body Plyometric Exercises
Explosive leg strength helps a track cyclist make moves during the race to vault past his opponents and take over the lead. Plyometrics exercises for the lower body consist of a variety of jumping drills designed to give explosive power that is necessary in all distances of track cycling. Lower body plyometrics include squat jumps, tuck jumps, where you bring your knees to your chest while in the air, jumping onto a box or bench and split squat jumps, where you scissor your legs while in the air. As you become stronger and more advanced, you can try one-legged variations of jumps to really accentuate the power.
Standard Leg Strengthening Exercises
Creating short-term strength and power in your legs will benefit the shorter sprint track races and performing standard gym leg strengthening movements can help. Exercises such as squats, leg presses, leg extensions, deadlifts and hamstring curls will strengthen your leg muscles. Squats and leg presses primarily build power in your quadriceps at the front of your thigh. Leg extensions build strength and also add definition and hamstring curls and deadlifts focus on the hamstrings at the back of the leg.
Since several of the track cycling events require stamina and endurance to be effective, endurance training is always a good idea. Methods such as circuit training, in which you perform one resistance exercise after another with minimal rest, is one option as is extensive practice in the event you compete in. Regularly practicing the race as you will race it will give you the best idea of what areas you may be lacking in and will condition the exact muscles you need to use for the race.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.