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This time of year doesn’t always offer the best riding conditions. The heat and humidity make clocking hours-long rides less than enjoyable. But what will make your workout more fun? This quick outdoor cardio workout that you can do in just about 15 minutes.
Perfect for cross-training days or days you have to move your ride to your trainer indoors and you want to do your strength workout in the sun, this plyometric plan builds strength and endurance to progress your performance.
The Benefits of a Outdoor Cardio Workout for Cyclists
“Incorporating cardio-based strength exercises through jumps and continual movement can burn more calories, strengthen more muscle groups, and improve oxygen and blood flow, compared to other strength exercises,” says Raj Hathiramani, certified running coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City.
This quick cardio workout includes familiar moves like jumping jacks and A-skips to help you warm up your muscles, get your heart pumping, and your blood flowing. Plus, you’ll definitely work up a sweat by the end, with exercises like side-to-side burpees and mountain climbers, which put your body to the test.
Another plus: An outdoor cardio workout can boost your mood, Hathiramani adds.
How to use this list: Practice each exercise in the order listed below for 30 seconds each. Rest for 30 seconds in between each exercise. Do 3 sets, with a 1 minute of rest in between each set.
Hathiramani demonstrates these moves so you can learn proper form. You won’t need any equipment but an exercise mat is optional.
1. Jumping Jack
How to do it: Stand with feet together and hands at sides. Simultaneously raise arms above head and jump up just enough to spread feet out wide. Without pausing, quickly reverse the movement, bringing feet together and arms down to sides. Repeat. Stay light on feet.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart. With a skipping motion, raise left knee to hip height, while coming to the ball of right foot and pumping left arm forward, right arm back. Keep shoulders and hips aligned. Drive left foot back down. Then, raise right knee to hip height, while coming to the ball of left foot and pumping right arm forward, left arm back. Continue alternating.
3. Pop Squat
How to do it: Stand with feet together. Jump out, sending hips back and down, bending knees to lower into a squat position with both hands in between legs and palms facing each other. Jump back up, exploding off the floor to bring feet together and hands up behind head with elbows bent. Repeat.
4. Side-to-Side Burpee
How to do it: Stand with feet together and arms down by sides. Jump a few feet to the left. Bend down and place hands on floor. Jump feet out to a plank position, then drop body to floor, maintaining a straight line with core engaged. Press back up (making sure not to arch back) and jump feet back to hands. Explode up, jumping to the right. Repeat, alternating side jumps between burpees.
5. Cross-Body Mountain Climber
Why it works: This exercise is a core finisher that will help cyclists strengthen and stabilize their midsection muscles, which is especially important as it helps you maintain posture toward the end of a hard ride, says Hathiramani.
How to do it: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged so body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Engage glutes and thighs to keep legs straight. Drive left knee toward right elbow, then quickly step it back to plank position. Immediately drive the right knee toward left elbow, then quickly step it back into plank position. Continue alternating.
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