When it comes to pro-cycling, what you do indoors is just as important as what you do outdoors. Unfortunately, most cyclists mistakenly believe that spending hours on their bikes each week and performing the same steady-state workouts help them become better at the sport.
The truth, however, is that varying your training, especially when trying to improve your cycling strength is crucial. The more power you produce, the faster you will be on your bike. Whether it is to maximize your performance on the bike or prevent injury, strength training is one of the most effective ways to achieve just that.
Here are nine core & quick exercises for cyclists.
This is one of the most important exercises a cyclist can do. Squats focus on the quads, hip, knees, and hamstrings to increase flexibility and agility.
To make your squats workout even more effective, place a barbell on your upper back and put your feet hip-width apart.
Push your butt backwards and then slowly go down into a squat.
Make sure your knees go over your toes, and your hip creases us just below your knees.
Now, drive your hips up into the starting position.
Do three sets of 10 reps each with a 90-second rest between sets.
2. Barbell Deadlifts
This exercise works your quads, glutes, hamstrings and lowers back for a more powerful pedaling.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart under the bar. With your palms facing back, grab on to the bar with both hands.
Keep your eyes forward, back flat and chest lifted. Expand your chest and pull the bar up in a vertical path, all the while not letting your back round.
Stand tall and hinge at the hips to lower the weight towards the floor with your knees bent slightly.
Do four sets of 8 reps, with a 45-second rest between sets.
The Burpee is a full body exercise that involves movements of all major joints through explosive movements.
It provides plenty of room for you to modify the movement to ensure you are getting as much from it while maintaining proper form.
Start by placing your feet hip-width apart. Focus on placing your weight in your heels.
Push your bottom back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Place your palms on the floor in front of you, shifting your weight there.
Step back or jump your feet into the plank position. Now, lower your chest to the floor and do a push-up.
Jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands. Stand up, raise your hands above your head and jump into the air.
Repeat the procedure from the top and start with ten reps per set while you work yourself up to 20 burpees per set. Complete 3 to 5 reps.
These targets your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, which are key players on your bike.
With your head facing directly in front of you and your shoulders back, ensure your upper body stays straight throughout.
Step forward with one leg and lower it until both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Ensure the front knee does not spread beyond your ankle. Place your weight in your heels and push back up.
You can do 15-30 reps per set, or add some weight and do fewer reps. Try to do 3 to 5 sets.
Planks are a simple and effective exercise for improving your core strength. This exercise can be done almost anywhere. When done correctly, planks target the shoulders, abdomen, and lower back.
Start by placing your forearms on the floor. Make sure your elbows stay below your shoulders and your arms parallel to your body.
Keep your back straight and in-line with your bum and rest on your toes.
Start by holding this position for 30 seconds and then build upwards. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
These are another classic, yet effective strength training exercise for cyclists that can be done literally anywhere. Crunches target your core like nothing else, so prepare yourself to feel the burn.
Start by lying on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Place your palms behind your head so that your fingers are touching behind your ears.
Pull your chin slightly towards your chest so that your head is off the ground. Pull your abdominals inwards and curl your upper body forward to lift your head, neck and shoulder blades off the ground.
Hold this position for a few seconds and slowly lower back down. Do 15-25 reps per set and complete 3-5 sets.
7. Kettlebell Swings
This full body workout provides cyclists with an effective way to develop endurance and cultivate stronger pedal strokes.
Start by picking out a weight that you are comfortable with.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees. With both hands, firmly hold on to the Kettlebell and position it between your legs.
In a fluid motion, start by gently swinging the Kettlebell up to your chest height. Take full control of it as it swings back down, hinging your hips to allow it to swing between your legs.
Do three sets of 15 reps, with a 1-minute 30 seconds rest between sets.
8. Russian Twist
This is a great workout for your oblique muscle. The Russian twist helps improve your posture and enhance flexibility while cycling.
Sit on the floor and raise your feet off the ground. Gently turn or twist your upper body from one side to the other, making sure to squeeze your abs with every turn.
Do not let your feet drop to the floor. Make sure to breathe through each twist. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your abdominals engaged throughout the workout.
Do three sets of 10 reps with a 1-minute rest between the sets.
9. Glute Bridges
These works out those muscles needed to hold a low, comfortable position on the bike. It helps to strengthen your abdomen and glutes while also stretching out any tight hip flexors and lower back issues.
Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips up as far as you can go. Steadily lower your hips to the floor and repeat.
Do three sets of 15 reps with a 1-minute rest between sets.
In conclusion, regardless of how well you have been practicing and developing your quads, hamstrings, hip extensors or calves, without a strong core, you will not utilize their full potential to push on those pedals. Incorporate these nine exercises in your workout routine to ramp up your cycling.