Stay in shape with an indoor workout

Scott Mercier continues to train during the freezing-cold days of winter by riding his bike indoors on a roller.



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JIM BULGER/Colorado Parks and WIldlife/Special to The Sentinel

Youth elk hunters will see tighter controls over where they hunt in the late season if the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts a proposed change in regulations. The late-season hunts are extremely popular among young hunters, who get a second chance at killing an elk after being unsuccessful in the early season.

Organized backcountry tour operators are among those supporting the off-road regulations adopted by four southwest Colorado counties in an effort to protect the resource and visitors.

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Indoor training. Those two words bring an intense emotional response depicting pure joy, the kind of joy you can only find during a prostate exam or a visit to the dentist.

With daily temperatures topping out somewhere between freezing and ridiculously cold, indoor training is really the only way to start shedding those unwanted pounds. For myself, either I am buying the same broken scales from Walmart as Daily Sentinel columnist Steve Beauregard, or I have picked up a few. OK, more than a few. So, indoor training is a necessity for me.

There are many ways to train indoors, but riding rollers is my preferred method of punishment; specifically, Kreitler rollers. Kreitler is a locally owned company, and their products are manufactured right here in Grand Junction.

The rollers come in three drum sizes with the large ones offering the least resistance but being the easiest to ride and the small ones offering the most resistance but being the most challenging to ride. I chose the medium size because it gives me plenty of resistance yet is relatively easy to ride. Plus, medium is what the guys at the factory recommended.

One of the great things about cycling is the constant element of danger: cars, cactus, dogs, taking a corner too fast, etc., and riding the rollers is the only indoor training I know of that keeps this element of danger in play. Too much daydreaming and a lack of focus and you will find yourself riding straight into the back of your couch.

Riding rollers also forces you to ride with a smooth and efficient pedal stroke. If you have a choppy pedal stroke, you will start to bounce on the rollers and eventually ride right off.

It’s best to set up your rollers next to a counter or wall so you have something to balance on while you get up to speed. Start in your small chain ring and try to warm up with a moderate cadence somewhere between 85 and 95 rpm. 

After five minutes or so I start to increase the intensity and the cadence. I shift down one or two gears and increase the cadence to 100-plus rpm. Your heart rate will begin to climb. I will usually ride this cadence for three minutes and then shift to the large chain ring. My cadence slows to around 70–80 rpm, and then I stand up and ride out of the saddle.

When standing on the rollers it’s important to pay attention, or there is a high probability of a crash. You really just want to barely get out of the saddle and try not to mash the gears. Also, make sure you are looking ahead three or four feet. If you feel your bike starting to rock on the rollers, you are on the verge of a crash as well. If this happens, either sit down or slow the cadence a bit until you smooth out the pedal stroke again.

Once you have your rhythm standing, gradually increase the cadence until you are around 90-plus rpm. Hold this for about a minute and then sit down and shift back to the small chain ring. Keep your cadence at a moderate pace and recover for 30 seconds. The entire effort including the recovery should be around five minutes.

The next effort should be one gear harder than the first effort. Do three minutes again at a cadence of 100-plus and then shift back to the big ring and repeat the first effort.

Try to do three efforts like this and then take a five-minute recovery spin in the small chain ring. 

I will usually finish a roller workout with some big-gear speed work. These efforts are usually three efforts of three minutes with two minutes of recovery in between. I will put the bike into the big ring and increase my cadence to around 100–105.  Every 30 seconds I will shift into a harder gear but maintain the same cadence. At the end of the three-minute effort my heart rate is usually 85–90 percent of maximum. 

During the two minutes of recovery, you want to keep your cadence around 90 in the small chain ring. When you start the second effort, you should be in one gear harder than the first effort. By the end of this effort my heart rate is usually 90 percent or more of maximum, and then the third effort is one gear harder again, and I am usually near 100 percent of max heart rate by the end.

The entire workout takes roughly 45 minutes, but the caloric consumption is huge. My floor usually has a pool of sweat the size of Lake Erie, which is rather disturbing to my wife.

Riding rollers is a great workout and is as close as I have found to riding outside. Plus, if you ride Kreitler, you are supporting jobs right here in Grand Junction. 

Good riding.


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