I have a membership at our local YMCA where I do all my exercises in winter. I can use any YMCA across the country so long as I visit mine at least once every 6 months. They have everything I need, including a swimming pool. Membership for my wife and I only costs $45 per month because I get the disabled Veteran rate.
Currently I am training for my long bike ride. This means I need to work my legs and low back to prepare the muscles I will need while peddling and such. I am not worried about building strength and endurance so much as wanting to get my legs used to the idea of being on a bike all day and get them refined by working the proper muscles needed. This will help prevent the shock value when I hit the road initially. Most of my strengthening will happen along the trip as I go. Endurance building is nearly futile before a trip like this. No matter how hard you try to build endurance pre-trip you never really do. Endurance is something you build along the way over time. What you need to do pre-trip is learn what your current limits are so you can grow from there without injury or over doing it.
So what exactly am I doing to prep my body?
First I start out by doing a stretching routine in the swimming pool as well as some full body endurance training such as swimming laps and treading water for long periods. I do not have any pictures of me in the pool due to they don’t really come out well enough to show what I am doing. But here is an explanation of what I do…
Basically I do a 1 hour stretching routine in the lap pool. I start by treading water to warm up. Then I swim a lap and start to stretch at the low end. I do a series of leg and arm stretches. I then do another lap and repeat the stretches again. This happens 3-4 times. Next I do 3 different types of lunges. Each version of lunges I do for one length of the pool. Lunges are a walking leg stretches for those who don’t know. The types I do are used in Tai Chi. After these I head to the deep end where I hold onto the wall and do flutter kicks and swim kicks etc… Then I tread water for few minutes.
After the stretching routine I head to the warming pool and let the jets massage my back muscles.
The swim session takes about one hour.
Next I head upstairs to the weight/workout room…
I start by stretching out with the YOGA BALL as seen here…
I stretch my back and legs on the BALL then my back and arms using the POLE…
Now I move over to the bicycles. I alternate days between the normal style bike and the recumbent style currently. My hopes are that I might be able to purchase a recumbent bike for the trip. They are much easier on bad backs such as mine but cost a lot. I currently have a great normal cross country style bike which I have around $2000 invested in with cost of bike and upgrades but it has full suspension which is great off road but slows you down on road.
I start off riding the bike machine for 1 hour on a general setting for now but over time I will start adding climbs.
Here is a picture of me on the bicycle machine:
From here I move to the never ending stairs. I used to hate this machine but have grown to like it. I climb for 30 minutes total but switch the way I climb every 2 minutes. I start by facing upstairs then switch to side stepping right side upstairs then switch to left side stepping upstairs and then face down stairs walking backwards upstairs. This gives the tendons in my knees an equal workout all around and trains the muscles to work together. Plus it helps with balance and coordination. Great exercise for people such as myself with tendon issues that cause regular knee dislocations.
Next up are the leg machines…
Starting with LEG EXTENSIONS, I do 4 sets of 20 reps resting between sets.
Next up I do 4 sets of 20 reps resting between sets of LEG CURLS…
Now I do 100 LEG PRESS’S with feet together and then 100 with feet shoulder width apart…
I move to my favorite leg workout now. The ABDUCTION/ADDUCTION upper leg machine. I do 100 reps of each…
Now I head back to the YOGA BALL and POLE again for a few more minutes of stretching. Basically I do the same stretches with them again…
Now I move on to the pre-trip muscle stretching directed towards key cycling muscles. I have included pics from my stretching manual to show what muscle groups are being affected with these stretches…
Here is the book info where I got the picture sketches from:
“The anatomy of stretching”
By: Brad Walker
Cost at time of purchase: $24.95
First stretch is called “Assisted reverse chest stretch”
Second stretch is called “Lying knee to chest stretch”
Third stretch is called “Sitting rotational hip stretch”
Fourth stretch is called “On your side quad stretch”
And finally the fifth and last stretch called “Single heel drop calf stretch”
And that completes my current exercise routine for my long distance bike trip starting next summer. I will continue my training from now until I leave around mid May 2018. Roughly six months. I go to the YMCA to do this routine about 3 times per week.