cycling training plan

Cycling Training Plan – Get Fit In Six Weeks!

Let’s look at a cycling training plan because so many people in the world own wonderful bicycles and everyone can pedal it around the block. I just find it amazing that so few people take full advantage of all that your bicycle can offer them. So for those of you who want to make the most out of that bicycle standing in your garage, here is a six-week training plan.

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Why Cycling?

cycling training planFor those that don’t know yet, the benefits of cycling are wonderful. Here are just some of them:

  • Better sleep
  • Cycling is gentle on the joints
  • Cycling burns a lot of calories
  • It reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • It improves your memory and brainpower

But most importantly, cycling can be lots of fun too, even if it isn’t competitive.

So here is a cycling training plan for you so that you too can reap some good health benefits and hopefully a slimmer waistline.

You can use this cycling training plan if you are a beginner looking to lose some weight or you can use it as a fit rider who wants to get even more lean and strong.

These workouts are designed to challenge your cardiovascular system and your muscles as well as build your abilities on the bicycle in a relatively short amount of time. The more that you focus and follow along, the better your results will be. At the end of the six weeks you should:

  • feel more energetic
  • feel stronger
  • feel fitter
  • feel sharper and happier

Hopefully, you will also see a change on your scale too, so get that bicycle out of the garage and join the ride.

Cycling Training Plan

Try to follow this weekly schedule for rides and workouts.

For cross-training days, activities such as running, swimming, or even walking work well – just stay active and stretch every day. For the core workouts, a Pilates class is a great option, or you can find a lot of inspiration on the internet.

Intensity Levels:

Below, you’ll find rough estimates of the intensity levels in each workout. It is impossible to take factors such as wind terrain and the type of bike that you are riding into account, so work on how you feel according to the zones below.

Zone 1:

Intensity – Easy at 8 – 12 miles per hour.

This zone is relatively easy pedaling with steady breathing and no huffing or puffing. Light intensity in the legs.

Zone 2:

Intensity – Moderate at 12 – 16 miles per hour.

Pedal with purpose here. You will feel moderate intensity in the legs and your breathing will be a bit heavier, but you can still carry brief conversations.

Zone 3:

Intensity – Hard at 16 – 20 miles per hour.

You are pedaling fast and it is hard to hold a conversation as you need all your breath for breathing.

Zone 4:

Intensity – Max at 20 plus miles per hour.

Lots of huffing and puffing and you won’t be able to keep this one up for long.

The Plan

Monday – Ride and Core Workouts.

Tuesday – Off or Cross-Train

Wednesday – Ride and Core Workouts

Thursday – Cross Train

Friday – Off or Cross-Train

Saturday – Ride and Core Workouts

Sunday – Easy ride for fun.

Week 1:

The first week is about getting you out there on the road so that you can gain confidence in your basic bike handling skills and learn to control your efforts as you ride.

This is especially useful if you haven’t ridden for a long time.

Week 2:

This week’s workout helps you gain confidence using your gears to control your pedaling cadence and effort, so you’ll feel more comfortable taking longer rides than you did in week one.

More experienced riders can push against bigger gears and spin rapidly in the lower ones to help you gain strength by working on all the different muscle groups.

Ride on flat to gently undulating terrain.

First, you will need to warm up for five minutes on zone 1 – 2.

Pedal briskly in a comfortable gear for five minutes on zone 2.

Pedal strongly in a harder gear for five minutes on zone 2.

Pedal very fast in a low easy gear for 2 minutes on zone 3.

Pedal briskly in a comfortable gear for two minutes on zone 2.

Repeat the above sequence minus the warm-up two more times.

Finish at the pace of your choice for the ride home.

This gives you a workout of about 45 minutes. This workout will give you greater confidence in using your gears to control your effort and pedaling cadence. More experienced riders will gain more strength depending on how much they push themselves.

cycling training plan

Week 3:

This week’s workout emphasizes your bike-handling skills and pedaling at a smooth and steady pace. It will help you feel comfortable coasting through turns smoothly and taking corners like a pro.

Ride on flat to gently undulating terrain.

First, you will need to warm up for five minutes on zone 1 – 2.

Pedal briskly in a comfortable gear for fifteen minutes on zone 2. Focus on taking those turns smoothly.

Increase your efforts for ten minutes on zone 2 – 3. Concentrate on pedaling out of those corners and turns. Minimal coasting.

Ride briskly on zone 2 for fifteen minutes and coast around those corners smoothly.

Finish at the pace of your choice on the ride home.

The total time should be 45 – 50 minutes.

Your bike handling skills are improving and you are cycling at a smooth and steady pace.

Week 4:

At first, it may feel hard or unnatural to ride at 90 or 100 rpm, but before long you’ll notice that a cadence above 80 feels like less work, which is helpful for longer rides.

This workout makes those higher-rpm efforts more comfortable and teaches you to use cadence to control your effort.

Make sure that you don’t sacrifice proper form during this segment of the workout. If you start rocking at the hips or flailing at the knees, lower your cadence until you’re in control, then try again.

Ride on flat to gently undulating terrain.

Again you will need to warm up for five minutes on zone 1 – 2.

Speed up to 90 – 100 revs per minute for 1 minute on zone 2 – 3. If you need to, shift to an easier gear.

Pedal at normal speed for 2 minutes at zone 2.

Pedal fast for a minute at over 100 rpm if possible at zone 3.

Repeat the above sequence two more times minus the warmup.

Pedal slightly faster than your normal speed for ten minutes at zone 2 for ten minutes.

Finish with an easy cycle home.

The total time is about 45 minutes.

Week 5:

Congratulations on making it this far. This week you are going to work on conditioning your legs and lungs to withstand the challenges of maintaining a steady effort, which gets your ready for longer and harder rides.

We are still riding on flat to gently undulating terrain.

Warm-up for five minutes on zone 1 – 2.

Increase your pace and intensity on zone 2 for ten minutes.

Increase your pace and intensity on zone 3 for ten minutes.

Easy back on intensity for 2 – 5 minutes on zone 2.

Increase your pace and intensity on zone 3 for ten minutes.

Ease off on the cycle home.

Total time between 45 and 60 minutes.

cycling training planWeek 6:

Standing gives your legs a break and helps you get up steep hills because you’re putting all your weight into your pedals – but it also raises your heart rate because your upper body has to work harder to support your torso and keep you balanced.

This week’s workout will boost your fitness and riding skills.

Ride on undulating terrain and preferably a moderate hill.

First, you will need to warm up for five minutes on zone 1 – 2.

Pedal briskly on zone 2 for 15 minutes.

Stand for 30 to 60 seconds on zone 3.

Sit and pedal on zone 2 for 2 minutes.

Repeat the standing and sitting sequence six times. If you can stand on the inclines all the better.

Pedal briskly on zone 2 for fifteen minutes.

Finish at the pace of your choice going home.

This article was adapted from Bike your Butt off.  This book is a great way to lose weight and begin your cycling journey. It is written by Selene Yeager and Leslie Bonci and it includes nutritional information, tips, a six-week training plan, and fat-burning exercises for beginner and experienced cyclists alike. 

If you would like to order a copy click on the picture of the book.

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