How to Get Faster on the Bike

How to Get Faster on the Bike

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Use a variety of training techniques to maximize your cycling speed.

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Watch a professional cycling race or criterium and you'll be amazed by the speeds elite cyclists are able to reach and maintain. You're probably not on a quest to become the next Mark Cavendish, but you can take a page from the training regimens of high-level cyclists to speed up your game. Take good care of your body and implement a variety of training methods to work your way to the front of the pack during your group rides or races.


Perform high intensity intervals one or two days per week to improve your peak power output. If you have a bike computer or measured course, you can do distance intervals -- otherwise, use a watch and perform timed ones. The lengths of intervals can vary. For example, complete a 50 meter sprint, recover at an easy spin for three minutes, and then repeat the interval four to five times.


Engage in resistance training exercises three to four days per week to build strength. Compound leg exercises, such as squats, lunges and leg press, are very beneficial to cyclists looking to improve speed. Although your legs may be your priority, don't neglect your upper body and core. Vary your sets, reps and weights with each workout to keep your body from adapting and plateauing.


Ride with people who are stronger than you. Group training rides are a blast, and the camaraderie will encourage you to push yourself harder if you ride with cyclists who are faster than you are. Just make sure you know the area so you can find your way back if you get dropped.


Incorporate plyometric workouts once a week. These exercises, which include box jumps and sprints, will help you build explosive strength to sprint and tackle hills.


Get plenty of rest. Allow yourself one to two days of total rest each week and listen to your body. Training when your body is sore and broken down can result in overtraining injuries and problems. If you feel like your body needs an extra day of rest one week, take it. In the long run, it will benefit you more than training through exhaustion.


  • Nutrition and hydration are important factors in becoming a faster cyclist, as well. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid processed foods as much as possible. During long or intense training sessions, consider adding a sports drink to keep your muscles fueled.


  • Talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Give yourself time to build strength and speed on the bike -- it won't happen overnight and if you overdo it, you could end up sidelined with an injury. Wear a helmet whenever you ride.