Depending on where you live, riding in outdoors in the winter can be challenging or maybe even impossible. During these months when you are stuck indoors it is great to take the opportunity to add some strength training into your weekly routine. This focus on strengthening your muscles will enhance your performance, help with injury prevention and aid in making you a more powerful and efficient athlete.
The workout I have outlined below is relatively simple, but effective. The only required equipment is a Theraband ™ or some other type of resistance band, although many of these exercises can be done without the use of the band.
Basic Strength Training Routine for Cyclists
Right leg, step out and squat, curtsy lunge back behind – 10 reps Squat pulse 30 seconds, curtsy lunge pulse 30 seconds – REPEAT ON THE LEFT SIDE
(the curtsy lunge works your inner thigh and gluteus medius which is a hard muscle group to get to – squats work hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and even calf muscles – when you are seated pedaling on the bike strong glutes are very important)
Lunge and lift rear leg up – 15 reps each leg, two sets
(the leg lift as you rise up from the lunge again works the glutes and lower back muscles)
Resistance band tied into a loop around both legs
- Right leg lift out to the side, good posture, core engaged – 15 reps
- Leg lift to the rear – 15 reps
- Leg lift to the front – 15 reps
- Repeat on the left side
(these leg lifts work most of the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, lower back and some of the muscles of the outer thigh)
NOTE: While cycling relies mostly on lower body muscles and core strength, there is some upper body involved as well playing a supporting role. The muscles that are most used are the triceps, shoulder complex and chest muscles.
Resistance band beneath both feet, lean forward slightly keeping head and chest up, straight arm tricep pulse back -15-20 reps, 2 sets
Resistance band beneath both feet, bow forward further, keeping your head up for good alignment in your spine, raise arms out up and out to the sides in a rear fly, squeezing your shoulder blades together 15-20 reps, 2 sets
Resistance band beneath both feet, stand up tall, raise both arms out to the sides up to shoulder height, straight arms, working the shoulders, 10-15 reps, 2 sets
NOTE: Core strength is ESSENTIAL to good body function overall, but in cycling it will help with pedaling efficiency and also avoiding lower back injury or strain
Come to the floor, on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place the resistance band over you lower abdomen. Push your hands down into the floor, holding the resistance band, while raising your hips up toward the ceiling, hold and squeeze your glutes up at the top for a second or two and then slowly roll back down – repeat 10 times
Put the resistance band aside, keep one knee bent and extend the other leg up with the sole of the foot toward the ceiling. Lift your hips up again and pulse up and down for 30 seconds. Switch legs and pulse for 30 seconds again.
Legs extended up, soles of the feet toward the ceiling, reach your finger tips toward your feet, crunching up for one minutes (if your neck bothers you, you can place your hands behind your head, just be sure to keep your elbows wide and try not to pull on your head and neck)
Legs still up with the soles of the feet toward the ceiling, arms reaching up as well, drop your right leg down toward the floor and reach your left arm up overhead, then switch, left leg lowers, right arm drops back (opposite arm and leg coming down) – 10 reps each side (don’t bring the lowering leg all the way to the floor, you can hover right above or keep it a little bit higher if you feel a pull on your lower back)
Soles of the feet still up, lower both legs down toward the floor, palms on the floor by the sides of your body (just lower your legs until you feel your lower back starting to come off the floor then raise them back up) 8-10 reps
With the resistance band, come to all fours. Put the band around the sole of one foot. Bring that knee in toward your chest and then kick that leg straight back out and slightly up -10-15 reps each leg (this again works the glutes and lower back)
Pushup position, either on your toes or knees 8-10 pushups to work the chest
Come up into a plank and hold for as long as you can. In a plank you can be on your hands or forearms. Make sure your shoulders are in line either over your wrists or over the bend in your elbow. Pull your bellybutton in toward your spine to support your lower back and try to keep good form. (if you have access to a mirror low enough that you can see yourself in this position it’s great to use to check your form)
Back to that plank position, reach your knee outside your body up toward your elbow, alternate sides, 10 reps each side (getting to some of the oblique muscles)
Come all the way down onto your stomach, arms at your sides, palms up, lift your head and chest off the floor, arms coming up as well. Squeeze and hold for a second or two and then slowly come back down. Repeat 10 times.