Fall is here and winter is around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about strength training for cyclists. Dealing with the demands of long rides and races, trying to up your performance, or just trying to keep off the winter weight, adding a strength training session to your weekly routine will work wonders.
The Importance of Strength Training for Cyclists
The demands of being on the bike for extended durations, coupled with the other physical aspects of cycling mean that a cyclist’s body is experiencing strain. This strain is further compounded for those that engage in off-road pursuits like gravel riding or mountain biking. This brings to light the importance of functional strength for cyclists. TrainerRoad says “functional strength sounds like a bit of a buzzword, but it has real application in the world of endurance sports.”
Breakingmuscle.com defines functional strength is the ability to run your load-joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) through a full range of motion without pain, stiffness, or restriction. This is also known as load-joint articulation.
5 Exercises You Can Do at Home
- Spiderman Push-Ups
- Pistol Squats
- Side Planks
- Planking Rows (Renegade Rows)
Read below for detailed instructions or check out the video for each exercise. Video, exercises, and exercise descriptions courtesy of TrainerRoad. Photo credit Julian Sarracino / Red Bull Content Pool.
Strength Training for Cyclists Exercises
Trunk/core strength, or anything between the hips and the shoulders gains benefit from performing spiderman push-ups. Additionally, an added benefit is the element of hip flexibility attained through bringing each knee to its corresponding elbow.
Single leg strength and hip flexibility is the goal of a properly executed pistol squat. Following a progressive approach with the pistol squat is recommended as most athletes will have a difficult time safely executing a full pistol squat.
The core is largely engaged in the side plank, but when including variations on the side plank, you’ll gain the added benefit of increased core, shoulder, and tricep/bicep engagement as well.
Hip and posterior chain strength are the main focus of a proper deadlift. The posterior chain essentially refers to any of the muscles along the backside of the body, meaning deadlifts can be very impactful for solidifying your comfort in positioning on the bike. However, it can be a process dialing in a proper deadlift, so be cautious.
Planking Rows (Renegade Rows)
Rows done in this push-up position integrates strength with stability. With the additional benefit to the “lats” (lattimus dorsi), and core, the ability to sustain proper position on the bike can become more manageable.
Also check out strength workouts in the Fitter, Stronger, Faster series from SCOTT.