As a cyclist, it’s important that you invest time and effort in enhancing your strength. Whether you are just starting or looking to explore new areas like mountain biking, you need to build enough strength to endure every hurdle that comes your way.
Besides enhancing leg strength, it’s also important to put other body parts to work to improve your performance. In particular, strength training for cyclists should condition the knee and hip. You just need to know what exercises work well in helping you become stronger and more powerful.
Here are some strength training exercises that every cyclist should know.
Strength Training Exercises for Cyclists
Focusing on the hamstring, squats are a great exercise for beginners. They can help improve your pedaling technique and prevent overexertion by ensuring proper joint movements and increasing the range of movement of the leg muscles.
Squats can also put your core to work so your upper body can endure long periods of riding. Starting with basic air squats, make sure to dip so low that your hips drop past your knees. Do squats while holding a kettlebell for an advanced workout that engages your core.
Many cyclists overlook the value of improving upper body strength, but adding bench presses to a workout program can bring many benefits. That’s because these exercises are great for enhancing resistance. On top of helping you bulk up, they can also improve muscle coordination and stamina.
One variation that experienced riders do is the dumbbell bench press. With a dumbbell in each hand, lie flat on your back and position your elbows at right angles. As you slowly lift the weights, ensure your arm is fully extended before returning them to their original positions. To do this exercise, make sure you get a quality bench press from a reputable fitness vendor like Max Pro Fitness. Click here to start browsing.
Another way to build endurance and prevent muscle strain during an intense ride is to do planking exercises. They can also benefit the core muscles and enhance leg strength. It’s only a matter of perfecting your form. A perfect basic plank is when your body forms a straight line from the head to the feet.
Your stomach shouldn’t be sagging whether you are doing a forearm or a straight arm plank. It takes time to master, but doing planks consistently every day for at least four weeks will help you make the most out of this exercise.
When it comes to improving leg strength, there’s a lot you can gain from doing kickbacks. These exercises target the glute muscles and hamstrings, but they can also improve your core as well.
You need to observe perfect form for kickbacks or risk injury like planks. While on all fours, ensure your body forms a straight line and your knees are firmly in contact with the floor.
As you start to raise one leg, extend it all the way up until it points to the ceiling and return it to the same position and do the same to the other leg for at least 15 repetitions. You may not master this form right away, but it can help enhance your resistance to fatigue once you do.
Lunges can also build strength in the legs and help with proper joint movement. While squats only require moving your lower body, lunges need you to use your upper body. This way, you can develop strength and coordination between different muscle groups.
When making a lunge, start by taking a large step forward with one leg. Make sure your front knee is positioned directly above the ankle, then start to lower yourself until your other knee touches the floor. You can also do this exercise while holding weights for an added challenge and more resistance training.
This strength training exercise is perfect for beginners as it’s a compound movement that targets multiple muscle groups. Deadlifts can help improve your posture, increase your grip strength, and add more power to your pedaling.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then reach down and grip the barbell using an overhand grip. From there, start to lift the barbell by extending your hips and knees until you reach a standing position. Reverse the motion and return the barbell to the ground to complete one repetition.
Doing strength training exercises like these can help improve your performance as a cyclist. Remember to focus on quality over quantity and be patient in perfecting your form to avoid injury. You can supplement your strength training with a healthy diet and get enough rest. These components are essential in achieving your fitness goals.
The leg press is another strength training exercise that can benefit cyclists. Using a machine, you can target different muscle groups in the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. This exercise can also help improve your range of motion.
To do a leg press:
- Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the footplate.
- Make sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle before you start to press the plate and extend your legs.
- Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Cable rows are perfect for targeting the muscles in the back, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids. This strength training exercise can help improve your posture and prevent back pain.
Start by sitting on the machine with your feet planted on the floor. Grab the handle with an overhand grip and start to row it towards your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
The barbell curl is an exercise that can help improve the strength of your arms. This strength training exercise targets the biceps and the muscles in the forearm.
To do this exercise:
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a barbell with an underhand grip.
- From there, start to curl the barbell up towards your chest and squeeze your biceps at the top of the curl.
- Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
The calf raise is a strength training exercise that targets the muscles in the lower leg, including the calves. This exercise can help improve your range of motion and prevent injuries.
How to do a calf raise:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips.
2. Slowly raise up onto your toes, then back down again.
3. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
The hamstring curl is another strength training exercise that targets the muscles in the lower leg. This exercise can help improve your range of motion and prevent injuries.
How to do a hamstring curl:
1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
2. Place your hands on your hips or by your sides.
3. Lift your hips off the ground and curl your knees towards your chest.
4. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps.
Many strength training exercises can benefit cyclists. Incorporating these exercises into your routine can improve your performance, prevent injuries, and reach your fitness goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about strength training for cyclists.
What should be the focus of strength training for cyclists over 50?
The focus of strength training for cyclists over 50 should be on quality over quantity. It is also important to focus on perfecting your form to avoid injury. This will help you improve your performance as a cyclist and reach your fitness goals.
How often should strength training be done?
Strength training should be done 2-3 times per week to see results.
Can strength training be done every day?
No, strength training should not be done every day. It is important to give your muscles time to recover between strength training sessions.
How long should strength training sessions last?
Strength training sessions should last 30-60 minutes.
What are some benefits of strength training for cyclists?
Some benefits of strength training for cyclists include improved performance, increased power, and enhanced endurance. Strength training can also help prevent injuries.
Do I need to warm up before strength training?
It is important to warm up before strength training to prevent injuries. A simple warm-up could include riding a bike for 5-10 minutes or doing some light stretching.
What are some cool-down exercises after strength training?
Some cool-down exercises after strength training could include light stretching or cycling at a slower pace.
The Bottom Line
Strength training is an important part of any cyclist’s training routine. By incorporating strength training into your weekly routine, you can improve your performance, prevent injuries, and reach your fitness goals.
If you have any questions about strengthening training for cyclists, ask your coach or doctor. They can help you create a strength training plan that is tailored to your individual needs and goals.