Bicycling is a pretty good bet but nothing will be quite the same as riding. My boyfriend did not ride until we met although he mountain bikes a lot, and he could still not stand up as long as I could (and he is in MUCH better shape). I guess bicycling is as close as you can get though, and it's really good for you in other ways too. Also, work on quadricep strenght and endurance--lots and lots of reps--since those are the most significant muscles used in dirt biking.
I had to do something about my endurance capabilities before the 24 hour race this past November and it was too little too late by the time I got a routine going ;)
However! That being said, I am a big fan of the elliptical cross trainer. I have one in the house and its convenient to fit it into your day. The benefits are not only cardio endurance, but if you can use it without resting your hands/gripping the bar, you will also increase your sense of balance and tax your core muscle group to maintain that balance while you excercise.
I try to mix up my cardio endurance training by either using the elliptical trainer or the bicycle, 3-4 times a week. I also weight train every major muscle group on at least one weight machine. The machine that helps me stand and stay standing while riding is the one that works your lower back muscles and also the leg press. I've been riding for almost a year now and I've found my endurance is at its best when I work out regularly.
Riding a bicycle will help improve your cardio and being on two wheels will also help improve your riding skills. BUT if you just want to improve your cardio I believe running is the best cardio exercise. It was the preferred cardio exercise used by trainers when I wrestled in high school and when I boxed. Also running stairs in that routine (a stair climber). I personaly have lower back problems and find the stair climbers particularly hard on my lower back. The last time I used a stair climber I had lower back pain for over two weeks (was on it for about 30 minutes).
You also may want to mix up your routine to keep from getting bored but whatever you do it will be better than doing nothing.
The best way to increase your endurance is to do interval training but it's a little too intense for most people to actually enjoy but if you start slowly and work up to longer/more intense intervals it can be fun.
There are lots of different ways to do it and you can do it with any type of cardio work - bike, running, eliptical, treadmill, you name it.
Basically, after a 5 minute or so warm up, you just step up the pace as much as you can for say 30 seconds, then you slow back down to a moderate pace for 60 seconds, step it up again for 30 sec, and moderate for 60 seconds repeat the cycle for as long as you want to work out usually 20 - 40 minutes.
Vary the amount of time for each cycle to see what you can do. There are sooooo many different programs - go to the library & look through the muscle mags or running mags or biking mags or fitness mags and you will certainly find one to copy. I prefer to make up my own.
In addition to intervals, weightlifting is a great way to increase your strength and endurance. I prefer free weights as they help you develop your stabilizer muscles and balance much more effectively than machines. Machines are good but you can cheat easier on them and they don't do much for balance or equalizing your strength if say you have one arm that is slightly stronger than the other.
Mountain biking is great for building endurance, uphills are the work interval and downhills are the rest interval - depending on just how gnarly a downhill you tackle!
According to my personal trainer the best way to improve endurance is by staying within your target heart rate for a specified amount of time. Then every 2 weeks increase the time of your workout accordingly.
Another thing he recommends is changing your workout every 2-3 weeks. The concept is your body will get comfortable with whatever your doing. If you change your workout it will shock your body into using a different muscle group.
Here's my basic routine:
1. 3 days of Weight Training. All free weights, most on the balance ball. The balance ball forces my core (core is everything between your boobs and your hips, including your back) to maintain balance, thus working it constantly.
2. 3 days of cardio. 1st 3 weeks, 20 minutes running on treadmill, 2nd 3 weeks 30 minutes on eliptical, 3rd 3 weeks 60 minute step aerobics class, which is a total of about 45 minutes in my target heart rate.
I've been doing this for 8 weeks. So far on this plan, I've lost 22lbs, and gone from 29.6% body fat, to 22%. I've got 4 weeks left in my training, and hope to get under 20% before then.
My endurance has improve treamendously. I did the step class on Tuesday, and felt like I could go 20 minutes longer.
Your trainer is right about increasing the time, the other way to do it is to increase the intensity. Either do it harder or do it longer. Intervals help to bump up the intensity but not to the point of making it impossible to maintain for a decent workout.
I like to do hillsprints behind my house when the snow is gone - you know you're working when even your arms are burning from sprinting up the hill. Then a nice jog/walk backdown & do it again.
If you don't have access to weights & gym equipment, you can still do squats, wallsits, lunges, pushups, situps, pullups (maybe) superman's - etc.
He is having me do more circuit type training with him. I'll do 2 sets of 2 weight excerises, then spend 2 minutes doing some sort of cardio at a maximum intensity. We do this for our entire hour long session. I deffinantly felt different last week, it was the first week. I'm hoping we'll do it again tonight.
Just to add, you can get dumbbells from a sporting goods store for super cheap. You just need to change the excersice, and you can work your entire body.
Ug. After reading what ya'll are doing, I feel like a total slug. I do OK in the summer since we can ride after work, but now it's so dark and cold when I get home and everything is covered with snow. I'm still trying to figure out how the heck I'm gonna get the "little grasshopper" out of the trailer and onto the truck tomorrow morning. Bbbom- How do ya'll keep menatally motivated in the winter with all the snow and cold???
CJ, my memories of you at Reno was a person running back and forth helping the slow riders down this one hill. Yes, I said RUNNING back and forth, up and down the hill as each rider was assisted.....
Well, that would make you the fastest, most fit slug I know! :)
I think I remember the same CJ Nat! The last word I would associate with you CJ would be slug!!!!!!
Motivation, that's easy - you go snowmobiling on Sunday following Karl, get stuck, can't get unstuck, kill yourself trying to get unstuck, wait for Karl to come back and help get you unstuck - repeat many times. Monday, you go in totally motivated to get strong enough to be able to deadlift your sled by the end of winter!!! Repeat until May - it really makes the old bike feel like a toy by then!
Seriously though, the winter is when I get the most motivated to workout especially with weight training. I look at it amy serious training time - I can work as hard as I want and don't have to worry about being too tired or weak to ride. If we have snow we don't usually have time after work to ride so I can tailor my workout to be ready for the Sunday ride. I am also not as independant on the sled as I am on my bike - I know I usually can't pull the sled out by myself so I try to learn to keep it from getting stuck, but like Karl keeps telling me - getting stuck is part of snowmobiling (but it still pisses me off when I have to have help) so being a bit spent for a ride isn't as big of a deal as it is for a dirtbike ride.
Also, without the draw of beautiful weather, I find it easier to stick to a program and keep pushing myself to increase the weights or intensity of the cardio. I know from past experience that the stonger I feel the better I ride - not sure if it's the physical or mental aspect there but I like it. I couldn't claim my bike to be "flickable" if I didn't keep my weightlifting up! ;)
My favorite part of working out is how I feel when I see some results - like moving to a heavier weight or the next level on the eliptical trainer or when someone says "damn look at those arms!", or kicking my kids butt in a sprint (that's my favorite) even just packing groceries into the house.
I also get more motivated cause I love all the great food, parties and toddies - I have several pairs of pants all the same size and I am NOT going to buy a bigger size!
So after all that reflection on how to get motivated in the winter, I would say my biggest motivation is that there isn't anything else I have found that benefits me as much as getting into the gym. I feel better, I look better, I ride better and it's cheaper than any of my other activities (and if I keep reminding myself of that I am even more inclined to workout)!
I know, if you need some motivation CJ look at it as training to ride my bike next time we get together - you will need more than 100 lbs of bodyweight to start him so you better bulk up!!!;)
Originally posted by bbbom
... I know, if you need some motivation CJ look at it as training to ride my bike next time we get together - you will need more than 100 lbs of bodyweight to start him so you better bulk up!!! ;)