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How to get your home training dialed this winter You don’t need an expensive personal gym set-up to boost your fitness this winter. A few key pieces of kit, a simple programme and a dash of motivation will help you keep your brain and body in good working order, boost your mood and improve your cycling to boot.

How to get your home training dialed this winter You don’t need an expensive personal gym set-up to boost your fitness this winter. A few key pieces of kit, a simple programme and a dash of motivation will help you keep your brain and body in good working order, boost your mood and improve your cycling to boot.

We spoke to two trainers and coaches who work with road cyclists and mountain bikers to get the lowdown. Ben Plenge is based in Bristol and coaches elite level downhill and enduro racers, while Fay Jordan lives in Aberdeenshire and works with cyclists of all levels.


Ben coaches elite level downhill and enduro racers


Keen MTB Rider


Faye with PT Emma - Match My Workout Fitness


Fay Jordan riding in Enduro World Series

What exercises to do


If you want to improve your cycling fitness, then time on the bike is key. However, when it’s dark, cold, windy and wet outside a lot of people prefer to train indoors. Set up your bike on a turbo trainer and you have your own indoor bike. You can get a trainer for under £100 and they often come up on eBay so you don’t need to spend loads. To keep things interesting, there are loads of guided bike workouts online, or you could try a programme like Zwift which can tailor virtual rides to your individual needs.


But don’t just stick to cycling; winter is the perfect time to strengthen other areas of the body and help address any injuries or issues you might have.


People tend to gravitate towards their strengths


Says Ben. “Strong people like picking up heavy stuff. Endurance types like riding a long way or going up hills. A good place to start is to think about the things you don’t like. Maybe the strong person hates doing mobility and flexibility training. Why? Because they suck at it! So they would do well to do some mobility with a programme or to join a yoga class for instance.”


“Most cyclists collapse at the core when they get tired, so working on staying strong here will support you in your races or riding when you are pushing to fatigue.”


Fay advises mixing in exercises that strengthen your core. Last but not least, flexibility is something that cyclists often overlook but is crucial for recovery. Yoga is a great choice and there are loads of online videos and classes to follow.

Yoya by Dane Wetton

Photography Credit Dane Wetton

A simple bodyweight home workout routine


If you want to make some great fitness improvements that will make your bike riding better, try these workouts from Fay. With 12 minutes on the clock, how many rounds of each of these exercise sequences can you do?


Workout 1

  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 5 Tricep Dips
  • 10 Squats


Workout 2

  • 10 Alternating Lunges
  • 10 Plank Shoulder Taps
  • 10 Cossack Squats
  • 10 Commandos

Building a home gym


We’ve all seen images online of some incredible home gyms that people have put together, and if you’ve been able to do it yourself, then that’s great. But not everyone has space or money for a whole room dedicated to training. Luckily, you don’t need a huge amount of kit to get a good home workout.


Fay and Ben both believe that bodyweight exercise – where you use the weight of your own body to provide the resistance – are ideal for most cyclists who want to keep or develop their fitness over the winter months. “Try push-ups and tricep dips for the upper body,” Fay suggests:


“Planks, crunches and hollow body hold for your core strength and squats, lunges and step-ups for the lower body. You can go even further with some plyometric exercises like squat jacks or plyometric squats, plyometric lunges and exercises like stride jumps, broad jumps and standing vertical jumps to build leg power.”


Your home gym kit list could include:

  • A turbo trainer or smart trainer
  • A yoga mat for yoga or stretching
  • Some weights (adjustable dumbbells are a good investment)
  • A pull-up bar or suspension trainer


If you don’t have space in your house, you can do loads of these moves in your local park or green space.

Maarten op zijn zolder

Maarten van der Weijden - Triathlete and his home training space

Finding the motivation to get started and keep going


One of the hardest things to do is find the motivation to get out for a ride or run when it’s cold, dark and wet outside, but there are a few things that can make it easier.


Some of them are simple, like setting out your kit the night before and planning to exercise first thing in the morning. That way, you can get up, out and finished before those daily distractions have manifested.


If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable going to a gym, finding a friend to be your workout buddy can be a real help. Knowing you’ve agreed to meet someone for a ride, run or walk can be great for getting you out the door when the weather isn’t great. You don’t even need to meet up in person – you could both agree to do an activity, and encourage each other to stick to the plan remotely.


Ben Plenge, coach and trainer, agrees that finding a training partner is a great help, and also recommends focussing on the ‘why’ of what you’re doing.


“The reasons behind your goals are the things that will get you out of the house on a dark, rainy morning. The ‘why’ will get you to the gym after a stressful day at work.”


He also suggests mixing things up a bit. “In the winter months it can be tough to get out cycling, so consider different ways to keep fit if you don’t like riding at night. Do what makes your mind and body feel good!”


Want to learn more about Ben and Fay? Learn more about them on their sites Ben: The Strenght Factory, Fay: Match My Workout or for regular updates and inspiration follow them on Instagram, Ben Pledge and Fay Jordan.

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