Stair workout for cyclists

Ever since the lockdown and specifically after the extension, I’ve been getting a lot of messages asking me for options for exercise other than cycling.

I wondered why? Because there are hordes of exercises that one can do apart from cycling. And ever since the lockdown there have also been many home based workouts spreading across the internet and social media. The answer was just a very few probing questions away.

The riders who reached out to me were people who did not like any other form of exercise. For various reasons.

Squats are too intense

Push ups are scary

Mountain climbers are disorienting

Planks are too boring

I LOVE CYCLING!

<If you want to skip straight to the workout format, skip to the bottom and read in reverse.>

The grand conclusion that I arrived at was that most people picked cycling as a form of exercise, because it was simple or less complicated and of course there is that magnificent added benefit of experiencing the great outdoors. And out of this familiarity, these riders had tried and rejected all these other home workouts that was being bombarded out there.

It was now my responsibility to address this concern. I myself find joy in all forms of exercise except for weight training. I use some weights and resistance bands, but weight “lifting” isn’t my thing! I’d rather be working on shadow boxing and on moves that enhance my mobility and flexibility. And yet, I still do miss the joy of cycling. Cycling for me, isn’t just a form of exercise and yet I understand that cycling isn’t a wholesome form of exercise.

If you follow me, you may know that the mooners ride to the top of Nandi on every first Saturday, we had to skip that in April and I personally substituted for it by climbing 100 floors. I had warned in that article that, climbing stairs is going to be addictive and it did become one and that helped me formulate this workout for people who don’t want exercise other than get on their cycles.

This workout involves some amount of mathematics.

You will need,

-1 flight of stairs,
-sufficient space to do push ups either at the top or bottom of one floor.

I work on the philosophy of constant improvement done outside of your comfort zone and I have strong reasons to believe that cyclists do not like doing push ups.

And that is why we start this workout by understanding what is our maximum non stop limit for push ups.

Once you have achieved your maximum number of push ups. Make a note of that number. Now double it! That’s the number of floors that you are going to climb.

But hey, the workout isn’t over here!

You are also going to do decreasing number of push ups until you reach zero before you finish your floors.

Example

Max non stop push ups= 10 (N)

Number of floors you will climb= 20

 Push upsFloor
Set 1101st
Set 292nd
Set 383rd
Set 474th
Set 565th
Set 656th
Set 747th
Set 838th
Set 929th
Set 10110th
Set 11011th
Set 12 12th
Set 13 13th
Set 14 14th
Set 15 15th
Set 16 16th
Set 17 17th
Set 18 18th
Set 19 19th
Set 20 20th

Here’s the advantage in this format. You get twice the number of floors to finish the allotted number of push ups.

Just climbing stairs can be boring unless you get into the trance like meditative state. If you can’t get into that state, then having to do the push ups will help you keep your mind alert through out the workout.

It is very important to keep a paper and pen handy to note down your reps as you do the workout, it can get confusing. Just note down every rep of floors climbed or push ups done as you finish them. Strava cannot help you out by a lot during this workout and neither can speed and cadence sensors nor a HRM. And this workout is exactly for people who like to keep it simple.

Want to take it up a notch higher?

Once you finish all the allotted number of stairs, do it again. This time with ascending number of push ups till you reach your maximum limit again.

Extreme edition

 Push upsFloor
Set 1101st
Set 292nd
Set 383rd
Set 474th
Set 565th
Set 656th
Set 747th
Set 838th
Set 929th
Set 10110th
Set 11011th
Set 12 12th
Set 13 13th
Set 14 14th
Set 15 15th
Set 16 16th
Set 17 17th
Set 18 18th
Set 19 19th
Set 20 20th
Set 21120th
Set 22219th
Set 23318th
Set 24417th
Set 25516th
Set 26615th
Set 27714th
Set 28813th
Set 29912th
Set 301011th
Set 3110th
Set 329th
Set 338th
Set 347th
Set 356th
Set 365th
Set 374th
Set 383rd
Set 392nd
Set 401st
extreme edition example

You still get twice the number of stairs to finish your ascending set of push ups.

Warning: Ensure that you are landing your feet flat on each step. Tip toeing activates a muscle group that connects the soleus with the Achilles tendon and this isn’t particularly active or strong in cyclists, but is something that should be strong in runners.

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