Nearly 3.6 million Americans regularly participate in some form of martial arts. While for some the sport is just a past time, for the majority it is a competitive way of life. To excel in any form of martial arts it is important to work on strength and general fitness alongside working on your technique. Top trainers recommend following a varied regime with cycling playing major part of this. So why should you join the 66.5 million cyclists in America?
Cycling is an activity that perfectly compliments what is needed for a martial artist. The most obvious benefit of cycling is the pure strength that it gives to your leg muscles. Few activities give your legs the same kind of all-round workout that a solid bike ride can. Furthermore, Jennifer Tallman, a professional indoor cycling instructor at New York Sports Clubs says, “Stationary bikes are great for everyone of all fitness levels…Workouts on the bike build your cardiovascular endurance and strength in your legs, which translates to benefits off the bike, too.”
Static Versus The Great Outdoors
There are times when it just isn’t possible to get out on the bike. Extreme weather conditions and upper body injuries can make it too dangerous to go for a ride. In these circumstances a high quality static cycle can still deliver a better workout than most other exercises. Studies have shown that High Intensity Interval Training on a static bike with 10 minutes of easy riding followed by 20 seconds of intense peddling is as effective as a 45 minute outdoor ride.
The often overlooked advantages of cycling come from the balance and coordination that it can develop too. When your body fights to maintain balance you improve this skill but you also give your core and upper body muscles a significant workout too. Your abdominals are constantly making slight adjustments and have to struggle to keep you upright. On top of this cycling helps to burn away the contents of those adipose cells, leading to a flatter stomach.
The focus and mental stamina needed to cope with a long cycle ride are completely transferable to competitions and training in general. A bike ride brings its own rewards in terms of seeing the distance pile up and reaching your destination. The discipline needed to get on your bike after the pain of a fight or in the misery of rain, should not be ignored. When you’ve been knocked to the floor and need to dig deep to get back up, you will remember the strength it took to get on your bike.
Cycling may seem utterly removed from martial arts but in reality it can bring real benefits to up your game. With one simple activity you can increase your strength, mental resilience, balance and stamina. Cycling can be built into your existing routines and help to make sure you’ve got the edge in your next fight.