Off Court Conditioning: Importance of Exercise Bikes
Since I work with a lot of younger athletes they often have questions on why we do things especially when they aren't directly related to tennis. One of those questions is often geared towards biking. Why do we have to bike if we never bike on court? Honestly, it's a great question and I'm glad the athletes, especially at a younger age, think about that stuff. The answer is simple, to get you in shape.
The great thing about exercise bikes are they have more then just a cardio use. You can perform all different programs on them. Some programs are already on the bike if you don't know any of your own or you can come up with anything your mind can think of. You can gear the program towards endurance, sprints, strength or a combination. Below I will give you a few that I like to use for each category.
Endurance: 10mi Race
Our athletes have a love/hate relationship with this bike. They hate it because it's tough, they love it because they want to beat it. It's simple, they have to bike 10mi in 30min. As the athltee gets better you can increase their resistance to add a new challenge to it. Simple, straight forward and effective.
Sprints: Pyramid
This is a short and to the point program. It's 10min, thats it. You pick the levels (for beginners I like 1/8-10) and the program goes as follows: (easy pedal/sprint for the first 5min then it switches to sprint/easy pedal last 5min) 50s/10s, 40s/20s, 30s/30s, 20s/40s, 10s/50s, (switch to sprint/easy pedal) 50s/10s, 40s/20s, 30s/30s, 20s/40s, 10s/50s, done. The hardest part is the 100s straight of sprinting at the "tip of the pryamid". Like I said, it's short but you feel like you did work after.
Strength: 15s/15s
Like it's called, you do 15s sprint, 15s rest. We usually do 10-20 of them (5-10min), rest and repeat. The kicker with this one is the sprint is done at an extremly high resistance (we do 16-25 depending on the athlete). It's short but tough on the legs and helps build strength and power.