When you think about the best strength and conditioning exercises for cycling, you first need to know what exactly is necessary. Cycling strokes happen one leg at a time, it is mainly aerobic and needs repeated force production. Cycling also requires a tough core to handle your bike, climbing and overall stamina. There are a number of exercises which can address the needs but there are a few, which can target full body in a cycling-centric way.
There are a few bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere, like your home, gym or office, while exercises including weights are best to be done in a gym setting.
The basic focus of strength exercises for cyclists is to train your body in a similar motion of cycling with the lower and upper body and enhancing overall core strength and muscular stamina. The main goal with strength training is to create a stronger support system for your prime movers while on the bike. The aerobically stronger your assistance muscles and core are, the less fatigue you will experience late in a race, additionally, the more potential you will have for increasing power.
The exercises given below are performed with instruments like kettlebells and dumbbells. An Olympic bar or dumbbells can be replaced with the front squats and single leg deadlifts. For weight-related guidelines, you can lighten the weight, even without using zero weights.
1. Planks Variations
Planks are one of the easiest exercises in the book and one of the most effective ones for increasing core strength. Planks can be done at any location and also at any time of the year. Planks focus on your shoulders, abdomen, and lower back. Lifting one leg can add a degree of difficulty to each set and further target the lower back. Start with hold times of 30-60 seconds per round and progress to 60-90 second hold times as you go through offseason training.
Lunges are quite cycling specific as they work for one leg at a time. It targets your quadriceps, hips, and hamstrings. Also, it is highly advised to begin without weight in order to practice good form. Two most peculiar mistakes made with lunges are letting the knee get extended beyond the leading foot and flexing the torso forward or jerking it back during movement phases. So focus on higher rep ranges of 15-30 reps per set, with a goal of 3-5 sets on a regular basis.
3. Leg Lifts
Leg lifts focus on your abdominal area and the part around hip flexors. You can make a simple variation which includes placing hands overhead and to target the upper abdominals. You can perform 15-25 reps per set with the intention of making 3-5 sets.
Burpees are an amazing full body exercise which involves all the major joints which are intended to be performed with an instant movement. Some variations can include adding pushups and/or a standing jump at the end. In this workout, you must focus on fast repetitions in the 10-20 rep range, and completing 3-5 sets.
5. Renegade Rows
Renegade rows are a full body workout that focuses on similar set muscles like plank exercise with a slight addition of the upper back and arms. Rows help you build great stamina in your upper body. If you wish to add a level of difficulty, then you must add some push-ups in between reps. Also make sure that you perform about 15-30 reps per set while taking a short 30-90 second rest in between sets, with a goal of 3-5 sets.
6. Kettlebell Swings
While speaking about power, stamina, and endurance, Kettlebell swings are the best exercise that you need to consider. Proper technique is important, so start with light weights and slowly progress from there. Maintain your core strong, and back straight and also thrust from your hips and lower body. This propels your arms and lets you swing forward.
Perform the swings with an explosive movement and hold upon the kettlebell tightly! You can start in the 15-25 rep range with about 1-2 minutes of rest in between sets and do about 3-5 sets as a goal.
7. Single Leg Deadlifts
Single leg deadlifts focus on the hamstrings and hips. Including single leg, these exercises help to fix muscle imbalances since every leg is forced to support the load autonomously. It is highly advised by exercise experts to start with lightweight (20-40lbs) working 8-10 reps every set. Also, you can spend some weeks to get the muscle to adapt to bigger and greater loads, and then start including more and more weight. Work with a straight and slightly flexed, bent knee and a strong core. You can perform every rep with a slow and steady movement.
8. Front Squats
Squats are a staple in your offseason training regimen. The front squats work on your hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings and are amazing to use through your max strength and muscle stamina phases. For this, always start with a lightweight, thereafter build a base with higher reps (15-30) before including other heavyweight exercises. Also, use a spotter in order to judge form and help with safety while lifting greater loads.
Using the above 8 exercises will help you build the type of strength you can use while you’re on the cycle. They need little in the way of equipment, and some can be even done in your house and with absolutely no equipment. Taking time to build strength in your shoulders, core and legs will always be helpful for you to ride longer and stronger all the way through in this year.
So are you ready to get on the wheels with your favorite bike? Go ride away!