Strength Train Now, For Better Riding This Summer
By Sean Allt BA, CSEP-CPT, CFST
With the warm weather getting closer each day many cyclists are now finding themselves chomping at the bit to get out and start riding. Sadly, the weather isn’t guaranteed to give us a ton of opportunity to get outdoors on our bikes to log the serious miles most avid cyclists are constantly chasing. This begs the question “What can cyclists do NOW to begin preparing?”
If we’re going to be stuck indoors due to rain or cold weather, we might as well make the most of it with a cycling-focused strength training routine! Remember: most elite cycling pros spend as much time in the gym as they do on their bikes!
For all cyclists, a strength training program should be well-balanced and target the muscles in the legs, hips, core, and back. The following exercises will target all of these areas in the way that will be most beneficial when getting on your bike.
Goblet Squats: Great for posture, core, and lower body strength.
Hold a dumbbell at shoulder height against your chest while standing tall with shoulders down and back and core tight. Slowly squat down by bending the knees and hips simultaneously until the tops of your thighs are parallel with the ground or slightly below. Be sure to keep your shoulders back, chest up, and feet flat on the ground all the way down to the bottom position. Squeeze the glutes and legs to return to the start position and repeat.
3 Point Rows: Great for back development and preventing imbalances in the upper body.
Place one hand and knee on a bench with your other foot flat on the ground. Be sure that your back is flat, not rounded. Hold a dumbbell in your free hand. Start the movement by pulling your shoulder blade towards your spine then bring your elbow up next to your lower ribs and pause for one second. Slowly lower the weight until your arm is fully extended and repeat.
Anti-Rotation Lunges: Great for core and leg strength and coordination.
Standing sideways to a cable stack, and find your lunge stride-length. With shoulders down and back, hold the cable handle at arm’s length directly in front of the centre of your chest and lower yourself into a lunge. Make sure you squeeze your core and do not let the weight rotate your upper body. Squeeze the core, legs, and glutes to return to the start position and repeat.
Push-Ups: Great for full body strength and coordination.
With hands on the ground shoulder width or slightly wider extend your legs behind you so that your body is flat like a board. Keeping your core and glutes tight, lower your chest towards the ground until your upper arms are in-line with your body. Press the ground away from you to return to the start position and repeat.
Romanian Deadlifts: Great for glute and hamstring development as well as posture.
Standing tall with shoulders down and back and knees soft, hold a pair of dumbbells or a barbell with arms extended. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips backwards in space until your upper body is parallel to the ground OR you cannot continue to keep your back flat, whichever comes first. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to return to the start position and repeat. NOTE: less range of motion is preferable to rounding the back… keep your back flat.
Inverted Rows: Great for full-body coordination and preventing imbalances in the upper body.
Using either a suspension trainer or a secure bar, hold yourself under the trainer/bar with your glutes, core, and back tight. Bring your chest to your hands by pulling your shoulder blades towards your spine then bring your elbows next to your ribs. Pause for 1 second. Lower yourself under control to the starting position and repeat.
Standing tall with shoulder down and back, hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Take a large step forward and lower your back knee towards the ground, stopping just shy of making contact. Squeeze your legs and glutes to stand up, bringing your trailing leg next to your forward leg. Alternate sides with each step.
Abdominal Roll-Outs: Great for core development.
Using either a suspension trainer or an ab wheel, hold onto the handles with arms straight in front of you. Make sure you are actively squeezing your glutes and core as tight as you can. Keeping everything tight and arms straight, begin to reach overhead until the point where your core starts to tremble. Return to the start position by bringing your hands in front of your chest again before repeating.
These exercises can be best utilized in a circuit style fashion as outlined below:
Goblet Squats x 12 reps
3 point Rows x 12 reps/arm
Anti-Rotation Lunges x 12 reps/side
Push Ups x 12 reps
Romanian Deadlifts x 12 reps
Inverted Row x 12 reps
Walking Lunges x 12 reps/side
Abdominal Roll-Outs x 12 reps
Give this workout a try 2 times per week over the next 4-6 weeks and watch your miles on the road increase and times decrease!
About the Author:
Sean has been a Personal Trainer for over 7 years and currently works as a Professional Training Coach and Club Manager with Innovative Fitness – Four Seasons.