SOMA Cycling Club: 12-Week Season Improver Plan

Starts 16 April.

Who is it suitable for? The SCC 12-Week Season Improver Plan is suitable for a variety of athletes with the common end goal of completing a 100 kilometre (60-mile) sportive or ride. To follow the plan, members should already be capable of riding for at least one hour. If members have already followed this winter’s SCC Pre-season Plan, this is the perfect progression.

It is also ideal for cyclists who ride regularly but haven’t followed a structured training plan before or who are returning to the sport after a bit of a lay-off. If members are currently fit and active, doing at least three 60-minute bouts of exercise a week, but not necessarily a cyclist, this is also the plan for them.

How many sessions? The 12-week plan is broken down into three rides: three mid-week, or two mid-week and one at the weekend. Members have four days when they are not riding. One of these will always be a rest day and the others can be used for hot yoga, or for core strength and flexibility.

The 12-Week Season Improver Plan includes:

  1. Twin Training
  2. Glutes Activation
  3. Eliminate ‘Dead Spots’
  4. Adaptation to Training
  5. Higher Cadence Recovery
  6. Quads Activation — Seated
  7. Gradual Cadence Increase
  8. Push Peak Power
  9. Improve Ideal Cadence
  10. Gradual Increase In Training Load
  11. Ride Out Into a Headwind And Home In a Tailwind
  12. Maximum Sustainable Heart Rate

There is also the option of an extra session at the weekend for fitter or more advanced riders. However, our priority should always be the quality of the three main sessions and, if taking the extra session impacts your plan performance, our advice is not to force it.

Is it all cycling?

No. We highly encourage cyclists to take at least 3 Hot Yoga, Barre or TRX Yoga Core classes to get stronger off the bike. Although optional, cyclists should make Hot Yoga a part of their training routine, as it will benefit their riding. It helps to prevent boredom, provides options if you are unable to ride and builds all-round injury preventing robustness.

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The 11 Hidden Benefits Of Cycling by SCC Director Asaf B. Goldfrid

Whether you do it to lose weight, increase your FTP or just for fun, taking up indoor cycling could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Our SCC Director, Asaf B. Goldfrid, has over 20 years of hands-on experience in exercise and fitness with a special focus on cycling. Here are his top 11 hidden benefits of cycling, and why you need to join in on the fun today!

1. Cycling keeps you younger
Scientists at Stanford University have found that cycling regularly can protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the signs of ageing. Harley Street dermatologist Dr. Christopher Rowland Payne explains: “Increased circulation through cardio exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively, while flushing harmful toxins out. Exercise also creates an ideal environment within the body to optimise collagen production, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and speed up the healing process.”

2. Increases your brain power
Researchers from the University of Illinois found that a 5% improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15% in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus — the region responsible for memory, which deteriorates from the age of 30.
“It boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which fires and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s,” says the study’s author, Professor Arthur Kramer.

3. Keeps the Doctor away
Cycling is the way to keep the doctor at bay. “Moderate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they’re ready to fight off infection,” says Cath Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital in London. Cycling regularly is a surefire way to keep illness at bay. According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take about half as many sick days as those who never get on a bike.

4. Longevity
King’s College London compared over 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week were nine years ‘biologically younger’ even after discounting other influences, such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking. “Those who exercise regularly are at significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity,” says Dr Lynn Cherkas, who conducted the research. “The body becomes much more efficient at defending itself and regenerating new cells.”

5. Makes healthier mums
According to research from Michigan University, mums-to-be who regularly exercise during pregnancy have an easier, less complicated labour, recover faster and enjoy better overall mood throughout the pregnancy. And that’s good news for dads-to-be too. The little one also has a 50% lower chance of becoming obese and enjoys better in-utero neurodevelopment.
Cycling while pregnant will help both mother and baby “There’s no doubt that moderate exercise such as cycling during pregnancy helps condition the mother and protect the foetus,” says Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Always get the green light from your GP/ob-gyn before taking any exercise.

6. Keeps your heart strong
According to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves active.
Studies from Purdue University have shown that regular weekly cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent. Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who take no exercise. A 45 min SCC ride averages about 15 miles. Get on the bike at least twice this week and protect the one organ you care about the most.

7. Improves your sex 
The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), an all-male study that was designed to complement the all-female Nurses’ Health Study, which examines similar hypotheses, found that men who exercised 30 minutes a day were 41% less likely than sedentary men to experience erectile dysfunction. Exercise helps women, too: in one study, 20 minutes of cycling boosted women’s sexual arousal by 169%.

8. Changes your state of mind
You’re one ride away from feeling high.(!) No, really. Despite the name, ’Runner’s High’ has been proven beyond doubt to be applicable to all endurance athletes.
University of Bonn neurologists visualised endorphins in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two-hour cardio session using a technique called Positive Emission Tomography (PET). Comparing the pre- and post-run scans, they found evidence of more opiate binding of the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain — areas known to be involved in emotional processing and dealing with stress. For the first time this study proves the physiological mechanism and the direct link between feelings of wellbeing and exercise.

9. Builds stronger relationships
We’re stronger together. It doesn’t matter if your paces aren’t perfectly matched, as long as you’re riding together. And it makes sense: exercise helps release feel-good hormones, so after your ride together don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing the delicious Chocolate’s Lover superfoods shake.

10. Boosts your social life
The social side of riding could be doing you as much good as the actual exercise and health benefits. University of California researchers found socialising releases the hormone oxytocin, which buffers the ‘fight or flight ’ response.
A nine-year study from Harvard Medical School found those with the most friends cut the risk of an early death by more than 60 percent, reducing blood pressure and strengthening their immune system. The results were so significant that the researchers concluded not having close friends or confidante is as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight. Add in our beautiful market terrace, complimentary coffee, superfoods shakes and fantastic sociable vibe, and you have the perfect daily city escape! A place to relax and unwind after a ride with friends, and an opportunity to make new ones too!

11. Easy on the joints
When you sit on a bike, you put your weight on a pair of bones in the pelvis called the Ischial Tuberosities, unlike walking, when you put your weight on your legs. That makes it good for anyone with joint pain or age-related stiffness. Decreased damage to joints is probably one of the most, if not the most, important reasons that people participate in fitness activities that are low impact in nature. Often, people are interested in losing weight, increasing their fitness level, or simply becoming more active, but a sore knee, hip or ankle restricts them from participating in typical exercises such as walking or jogging. Low impact fitness activities allow you to get the same benefits of more traditional forms of exercise without experiencing damage to these joints. Research has found that low impact fitness activities may actually promote the healing and recovery of damaged joints, thereby allowing you to return to higher impact activities in a timely manner.

Do you really need any other reason to come out for a ride?!

 

  • Sources:
    The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study / Harvard University
    Nurses’ Health Study / Harvard University
    Stanford University
    University of Illinois
    St George’s Hospital in London
    King’s College London
    Michigan University
    Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
    University of Bonn
    University of California