Strength Training Exercises for Cyclists: Get Strong Outdoors!
For many cyclists, the gym is an alien world that should be avoided at all costs. That in turn is an excuse to skip strength training, but should it be? From preventing injuries to rectifying muscle imbalances, strength training has multiple benefits for cyclists. And, despite some common misconceptions, many can be completed outdoors without ever having to set foot inside a gym.
Why is strength training important for cyclists?
Let’s be honest, for most weedy cyclists, the mere thought of strength training is enough to induce muscle aches. But it shouldn’t be ignored, as it has multiple benefits. For a start, cycling is a repetitive activity that only recruits a limited number of muscle groups. This leads to muscle imbalances, which in turn can lead to injuries and repetitive aches and pains. Targeted strength training can be used to address these imbalances.
Anyone focused on speed will be happy to hear that there are performance benefits too, most obviously to leg strength. We’ve tested the difference strength training can make to power output before, when James ‘Hank’ Lowsley-Williams completed 30 squats a day for one month. Three thousand squats later, his FTP hadn’t really budged, but his peak power had increased by over 300 watts.
Then there are the benefits to posture through core exercises, the type of strength training that cyclists really dread. Core exercises shouldn’t be ignored though, as they lead to better stability and posture. This is especially important when fatigue kicks in on a ride and many riders lose form.
How to start strength training
By now, you should be won over by the benefits of strength training. Even so, many cyclists believe that it involves a journey to the gym. A gym of course is equipped with the best technology for strength training, but for cyclists, strength training doesn’t need to be that complex and can be completed outdoors or in your own home.
To help you get started, here are seven strength-training exercises recommended by Graham Wadsworth, a lifelong cyclist and fitness coach. All you’ll need is a resistance band.
Step back hip opener
This is a warm-up exercise that will stretch the hip and the hip flexors. In this exercise, you’ll be stepping back with one leg. Hold onto a bench, bar or any other prop to balance yourself while doing it.
For this exercise, which improves posture by targeting your back, lats, and shoulder blades, you’ll need a resistance band. You should aim to complete one set of this at a time, with around six to eight repetitions.
Lateral step with band
Those first two exercises should have loosened up your hips and your upper body, so it’s time to step things up with some more specific strength work. This exercise uses a resistance band to target the glutes.
The next exercise is more cycling-specific and will benefit the key upper-leg muscle groups recruited while pedaling. This one also requires a resistance band and you should aim to complete 10 repetitions per leg.
This next exercise is another one that will improve posture by stretching the back, something that is important for cyclists, especially if you also spend a lot of time hunched over at desks or while driving.
Donkey kick outs
While this exercise can form part of your strength-training routine, it’s also great for warming up before a ride.
For this final exercise, you’ll need something that you can step onto. It could be something in a park or a bench.
For more detailed instructions on how to perform these exercises, head over to the ‘how to’ section of the GCN website.
So, there you have it – seven strength-training exercises that can be completed outdoors, without the need for a gym. Incorporating these exercises into your cycling routine can help prevent injuries, improve performance, and enhance posture. So why not give them a try and start reaping the benefits of strength training?
Original Story at www.globalcyclingnetwork.com – 2023-11-30 13:56:56