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Athlete in Quarantine - ORLA WALSH DESCRIBES FIVE OF HER FAVOURITE AT HOME WORKOUTS

Orla Walsh is an international track cyclist who has represented Ireland on the world stage. She has competed at World Cups, European Championships and World Championships as an endurance rider since her recent entry into the sport in 2017. Orla won her first national title in 2019 in the 500m TT and in the past six months has switched her focus from endurance to sprint events. Due to the recent pandemic caused by the Covid19 outbreak, athletic training facilities, camps and races have all been cancelled. Athletes have had to adapt quickly to this ever changing situation and come up with creative ways of training at home and the following are some of Orla’s favourite at-home workouts.

Strength Endurance

”This is one of my favourite indoor workouts but also one of the sessions I fear most because I know how much it’s going to hurt”.

Duration

1 hour and 40 minutes (if you want to shorten the duration of the session you can cut warmup/warmdown and recovery periods by 5-10mins each).

Equipment

Stationary bike/Indoor turbo.

Purpose

The purpose of this workout is to build strength endurance and being able to hold power even when your legs are screaming!

Warmup

15-20 minutes.

4 x 30s efforts

(20 mins easy riding between)

Each 30 second effort should be done seated and in a very big gear or high resistance. If you have a cadence sensor - the maximum RPM should be around 110rpm so play around with gear selection during warmup. You should go into each effort with FULL commitment and really focus on pushing as hard as you can right until the end.

Warmdown

15-20 minutes.

“I regularly do this session with my Shimano Dura-ace power meter so I have reference on how my strength is improving over time”.

High Cadence Lactic Acid Tolerance

”This workout is less about high power/strength and focuses more on neuromuscular adaptation and lactic acid tolerance - in other words, moving your legs at high speed and being able to maintain that as much as you can until the end”.

Duration

1 hour 40mins (if you want to shorten the duration of the session you can cut warmup/warmdown and recovery periods by 5-10mins each).

Equipment

Stationary bike/Indoor turbo and cadence sensor.

Purpose

Improving neuromuscular response and lactic acid tolerance.

Warmup

15-20 minutes.

4 x 50s efforts

(20 mins easy riding between)

Each 50 second effort should be done seated and in small-medium gear or low resistance. If you have a cadence sensor - the maximum RPM should be around 150rpm so play around with gear selection during warmup. You should go into each effort around 80% effort but really focusing on spinning the legs smoothly at a high speed. You won’t be able to hold the high cadence and power until the end of the 50 seconds but the goal is to try your best to maintain it.

Warmdown

15-20 minutes.

Active Recovery Ride

”It’s tempting to want to ride hard all the time but it is really important to have easier active recovery rides which not only improve aerobic function but also burn calories without all of the pain! 40-60 minutes on rollers or turbo is great for improving sore legs and aiding quicker recovery from a harder session the day before.”

Duration

40-60mins.

Equipment

Stationary bike/Indoor turbo/rollers.

Purpose

Active recovery.

Easy riding keeping heart rate low.

This should not feel strenuous at all and if you have a heart rate monitor be sure to keep it low. If you want to break up the monotony you can include 4x 10 second high cadence (small gear) rev outs.

Yoga & Stretching

”I try to incorporate yoga or stretching into my daily routine. As a track cyclist I suffer from very tight hips and hamstrings along with a stiff back from a lot of gym work. I also find it an enjoyable way to switch off and relax. There are tons of stretching and yoga tutorials online such as “Yoga with Adriene” on youtube and now with the current health crisis situation a lot of creators are live streaming classes!”

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Bodyweight workouts

”Aside from buying an expensive home gym setup, there are many ways to get a really good workout from body weight alone. Push-ups, sit-ups, planks, squats, lunges etc. are all great ways to stay strong. Or you can invest in small items like kettlebells or dumbbells or rubber bands to increase load. I bought a pull-up bar for 40e on amazon which is fantastic for an entire upper body workout.”

Pull-up bar:

I also follow some content creators such as Tom Merrick @bodyweightwarrior who posts numerous strength and mobility videos which require little to no equipment.