How to Train for Criterium Bike Races

If you are not into endurance bike racing then it is a fair bet that you prefer criterium races, as a spectator sport criterium races are hard to beat as they are much shorter than endurance races and show explosive power. To train to race for criterium you must, first of all, get to a required level of fitness, then start to do race-specific types of training that is purposely designed to help you finish.

Learn How to Sprint

A crucial part of a criterium race is the sprinting element, you will have to learn how to perform accelerations and how to recover from them. Whilst training practice high intensity intervals so you can get to grips with breakaways and attacks. Plan your session to include a ten-minute warm up, peddle like the wind for a minute then recover for another minute. Repeat this pattern ten or twenty times during your session and then finish it with a moderate intensity twenty-minute ride.

Get Used to Riding in Groups

Riding in groups is very different than riding by yourself, it is something that you must master the art of if you seriously want to take up criterium bike racing. Just opt for a few thirty-minute sessions a week with a club or with friends and as a bonus try your sprinting prowess out.

Get Your Tactics Right

Criterium racing is heavily concerned with tactics, you need to be aware of what the other riders are doing all the time. Make sure you are fully aware of the tactics used in criterium racing and be prepared for anything.

Be Technically Proficient

Fitness is not enough to win a criterium race, you must also be technically sound. The races tend to involve tight turns so your handling skills of the bike have to be top notch. Whilst out with your friends, practice close quarter riding, be comfortable with it at low and high speeds.

Train Without the Bike

Your body will require some resistance training that is best done out of the saddle, plyometrics are ideal to add that explosive power that you will need in sprinting. When training with weights, use fairly heavy resistance and plenty of wind sprints and box jumps.


As with any race know the lay out of the circuit beforehand; if allowed, ride the course as many times as you can. Familiarize yourself with sharp turns and rough terrain so that you expect them and know how to cope with them. If you know the course, you can plan your sprints and recoveries in advance. If you can’t ride the course, get to study it, take the tough elements of it and find similar ground to go and practice on, it will be better than nothing.

If you are not fully fit before all this, it is well worthwhile talking to a doctor to see if your body is up to the mark. You may need some professional coaching to get up to speed before you start your fitness campaign. Then enjoy the sport knowing full well that you have covered all the bases.