Question: Could you settle an argument? I don’t have a trainer, so I walk on a treadmill for an hour. It’s set for a 12-degree incline. My friend says this workout won’t help my cycling, but it maxes my heart rate and I believe I can tell the difference when I ride. Who’s right? — Andy G.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Any exercise helps your cycling more than no exercise. And uphill hiking like you describe is a more useful non-cycling exercise than most others you could do.
Uphill hiking is specific to the pedal stroke because you’re pushing down hard with your quads and glutes as you tackle the slope. Your high heart rate says you’re working your cardiovascular system, too.
But the bottom line is that cycling is the best activity to improve cycling. If you can’t ride, the way you’re using that treadmill is one of the best alternatives. Of course, walking or running up real hills is just as beneficial, and it gets you outdoors, too.