For cyclists, the primary target of doing strength exercises is to train in the same motion as in cycling together with one’s upper and lower body, while improving overall muscular endurance and core strength.
Strength training generates a stronger support system for a cyclist’s prime movers while riding a bike. If you have aerobically stronger core and muscles, you will gain more potential in increasing power and consequently experience less fatigue while cycling.
Now that you understand why strength training is helpful before cycling, you might wonder what those strength exercises are.
Below are the 8 strength exercises for cyclists you can try.
- Lie on your stomach and place both elbows under your shoulders with hands and forearms on the floor.
- Raise your hips off the floor, straighten your back, tighten your abs, and rest on your toes.
- Keep this position for 40-60 seconds and do two-three sets.
- Front plank focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis or TVA muscle, and upper and lower back. In cycling, the front plank can help you to build both strength and muscle endurance that you need in order to ride in aero position or in the drops powerfully.
What you need:
- Stand tall while carrying a barbell over your shoulders.
- Bend your hips and knees until your thighs can form a 45-degree angle.
- Repeat the sequence and complete 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions.
Here’s one thing to note:
Expect that the last few repetitions during the last 3 or 4 sets will be hard to complete but still ensure that you will make it through the last rep. Half squats work on your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It would build strength for sprinting and climbing.
Single Leg Hip Bridge
- Lie on the ground (placing a yoga mat would make you more comfortable) with your one leg bent while lifting the other one off the ground.
- Raise your hips up in the air while contracting your glute muscles like you’re pushing through your heels.
- Hold the position for a second or two before going down.
- Do two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side of your legs.
Single Leg Hip Bridge can be done at any time, but it is the best pre-workout to do to wake up your glutes before a strength workout, especially if you have been sitting and inactive for a while. Aside from that, it also improves speed, endurance, and strength used while cycling.
Lunges with Bicep Curl
What you need:
- Resistance band or dumbbell
- Stand in an upright position with either a resistance band or a dumbbell in each hand.
- Execute a lunge position: straighten your back, step one leg forward and bend the knee to a 90-degree position, while your leg in the back should be straight.
- While on it, do a biceps curl with both arms.
- Repeat the same with the opposite leg forward.
- Start with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions in every leg.
Lunging with bicep curl is an excellent workout when you want to develop strength in your biceps, quadriceps, glutes, and deltoids. These four muscles are utilized when there is a need to stand and accelerate cycling.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor and with your knees bent forward.
- Execute a V-position: Raise and extend your legs out forward, and lean your upper body backward.
- Stretch your arms away from you so you can tighten your lower abdominal muscles.
- Make sure to relax your shoulders and keep your back straight.
- Hold the position for 10 seconds and do it for 5-10 repetitions.
Boat pose mainly focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis and lower back. As a result, you will feel less fatigue through strengthening the muscles that can improve your lower back. Also, this workout will allow you to encounter less pain and feel more comfortable while on aggressive cycling positions.
Single Leg Reach
What you need:
- Three water bottles or cones
- Place three water bottles or cones in a triangular form.
- While on a single leg stance, slightly bend your knees to do a squat and slowly reach down towards the left cone and return to a standing position. Do the same with the remaining bottles or cones.
- Repeat the same sequence with the other leg.
- Complete a set of 10 repetitions.
Single leg reach workouts focus on your hips and core and improve your balance on the bike, which is essential to develop bike handling and endurance. This strength exercise also works with your proprioception, also called as ‘sense of self,’ or the body’s awareness of movement and position in space.
What you need:
- Cable column machine
- Stand across a cable column machine. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and knees are slightly bent.
- Take the handle and do a standing row, while keeping your body still as much as possible. Do not lean forward nor backward to lift more weight.
- Finish 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Single-arm row enhances the muscles of your shoulder, back, and hips. It also strengthens the scapular region, which is a common area of fatigue caused by hunching too much on the bike. As a result, cyclists can avoid injuries and ride longer without discomfort.
Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl
What you need:
- Handle Cradles
- Lie on the ground (with yoga mat is recommended) and place your handles in the handle cradles.
- Raise your hips and curl your heels (almost like pointing your toes) towards your hips
- Do not drop your hips as you are bending your heels.
- Finish two sets of 8-12 repetitions.
Exercise ball hamstring curl is one of the TRX routines (Total Resistance exercises) that strengthens your lower back and hamstrings. Strengthening hamstring and quadriceps is significant to enhance upstroke while in a pedaling motion and avoid lower extremity injuries.
Overall, these strength exercises for cyclists can help you prepare your body.
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Author: Kenny Kline
Kenny Kline is a seasoned writer who works and contributes to various health and fitness websites and magazines. He's also a big football junkie who spends the majority of his time watching leagues. When he's not busy making ends meet, you'll find Kenny putting his muscles to good use by researching about and doing best pre-workout routines at his favorite local gym.