If you want a workout, I’d recommend a classic gym or bodyweight workout. I personally love slingtrainers (crosscore or similar) for core excercises.
Unicycling is fun, but a workout designed to train specific muscle groups is better if fitness is your main goal. I’m relatively fit, and it takes a lot of hard unicycling for it to be a workout. I’ll only feel my core the next day if I ride for hours. With a good bodyweight routine, I can get that in half an hour.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: Go unicycling for fun, and to get better at unicycling, and do workouts to get fit. Unicycling will help you get/stay fit, but I see no point in trying to make unicycling a better workout.
Climbing steep hills builds great stability around the core and very strong legs. Before I became a uni rider I had a weak lower back but soon fixed that.
Start by riding up easy hills and move to steeper ones as you succeed. When you run out of steeper hills and can accelerate up the grades, get a bigger wheel.
I did this on a 24, getting up to about 18% grades then repeated the sequence on a 26 then a 29. The feeling of power is really invigorating when you realise you are accelerating up a steep hill. So often I looked down in the shower after a ride and wondered whose legs I had swapped with.
I was getting up some of the grades on a 36 and was still working at it when I had an extended illness and a too busy life. Lost the strength but never lost the lower back poise.
Starting again now on the 26. My technique on it is so much better now and I just need to rebuild leg strength and stamina. The last two rides I began to know I can get back there again.
Unicycle riding may not be able to match a gym for overall fitness, but it is pretty good for some things. For me, riding uphill off-road is about the hardest thing there is. It’s a harder cardio workout (for me) than anything else.
I also find it good for balance and leg strength. (It was these two things that motivated me to ride to begin with.) As mentioned above, it’s also great if you have back problems. (I do, and the more I ride, the less back problems I have.) (I’ve never noticed my abs being stressed very much, so I can’t comment on that aspect.)
I’m lazy and hate exercising, but I love to ride the uni, so for me the exercise is great!
Definetely. I guess I would never look at sports like unicycling as a workout though. It being exercise is just a part of it, I do it because it’s fun.
What I’m getting at is:
I don’t think anyone looks at whether they want to ride a mountainbike or a roadbike from the perspective of which is the better workout. You choose one depending on what’s fun for you, or what your friends are doing, or what is available around you. I recommend you doing the same, it will become exercise (or not) by the way you do it.
So sad, the state of our beloved Unicyclist.com Forums. Virtually all the Trials and Street riders are gone!
I believe the correct answer to your question, as far as unicycling goes, would be Trials, with Street as a secondary. Basketball should also be mixed in for some muscle balance in the core, shoulders and arms. Muni is good as well, but doesn’t compete much with trying to leap up high things, over and over, until you can leap up even higher things.
Probably not as effective as a balanced and even workout routine with free weights and other tools, but unicycling is much, much more interesting. As with any singular activity, there is risk of muscle imbalance that can lead to injury. That is, working muscles in one direction a lot, but the opposite direction very little. This is true for many/most sports.
Don’t believe me about Trials? Look at pictures of people who are good at the “Urban” disciplines of unicycling. Ripped!
How to unneccessarily risk ankle injury, lesson 1. Terrible idea.
If trying to jump your max height isn’t enough strain for you, you are not at your max height.
Find a steeper road.
No easy solution from me, I guess I’d say try shorter cranks.
If you unneccessarily add weight to your body, you increase your chance to get injured. As I pointed out, there are better ways to increase the strain on your body, to get better training results.
Weight vests are for doing training exercises (like burpees or pullups) in gyms, where there isn’t anything unforeseen happening. If you play hockey with a weight vest, you can get into a collision, step on someones unicycle, and your ankle breaks because of the 10 kg you added.
Do trials wearing a 5-10kg weight vest. That will be proper resistance training for you. Or just add weight to make it much more complicated. That’s how my brother does all of this stuff. I honestly don’t know how you guys resist doing all this. I’m just limiting myself to some facial yoga exercises. I think I’ve been doing them for about 3 or 4 years, and I feel good. LOL. But it is interesting to me, what else would you propose for such exercises? Maybe in addition to yoga, I will try this one time.
Why not to go to the gym and have some good coach teach you the power clean or power snatch? Explosive strength gained by training these exercises should be transferrable to unicycle jumps. Plus I think it would be a lot safer (if done correctly that is) than wearing weights while unicycling.