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5 Exercises That'll Make You a Stronger Cyclist

Get your season off to the right start by exercising off the bike


Cyclists, like their running brethren, are often guilty of skipping dismounted exercises and gym workouts, figuring they'll get all the muscle they need by riding their bikes long miles and putting in big hill days. But extracurricular exercises are a must for any cyclist looking to ride faster, climb harder and last longer (especially in the off-season). But rather than becoming an iron-pumping gym rat, try these go-anywhere exercises. They'll make you stronger, train your muscles to fire hard on-demand and get your season started right. Your best days of cycling start with these five easy (well, not that easy) steps:

PLANK
Cyclists benefit greatly from strong core muscles both in terms of injury prevention and performance. A stable core allows riders to maintain a steady upper body, maximizing climbing efficiency.
1. Lay on the floor with your toes and forearms on the ground.
2. Raise your stomach while tightening your glutes and abdominals. Your body should be in a straight line head to heels.
3. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

 

BURPEES
This combination squat-jump-pushup exercise works both the leg and arm muscles while cultivating the explosive power necessary for sprinting. Performing fast repetitions of this do-anywhere exercise is a quick way to get your blood pumping.
1. Begin in a squat position with your hands touching the ground.
2. Hop your feet backward into a push-up position. To increase difficulty, do a push-up.
3. Hop your feet forward, returning to the original squatting position.
4. Jump straight up with your hands high above your head.
5. Return to original squatting position.
6. Perform in two-minute sets.

 

DUMBBELL LUNGES
This classic lunge exercise will work your quadriceps and glutes to build power for those all-day rides, long out-of-the-saddle climbs and stoplight sprints.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms relaxed at your sides.
2. Keeping your back straight and hips square, step forward until your front knee is at a 90-degree bend and your back knee is hovering just off the ground.
3. Return to standing position and repeat with other leg.
4. Begin with 1-3 sets of 10 reps.

 

DUMBBELL HAMMER CURLS
Though arms are often an afterthought in cycling, arm-fatigue tends to set in when least wanted, like on long road climbs or rocky trail descents. Incorporating hammer curls into your weekly workout will ensure your arms have the power you need when you need it.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms relaxed at your sides.
2. With palms facing inward, raise dumbbell until your elbow is at a 90-degree bend.
3. Lower dumbbell to starting position and repeat with other arm.
4. Begin with 1-3 sets of 10 reps.

 

CALF RAISES
While most of the power in cycling comes from your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, strong calf muscles help transmit that strength to the bike through a smooth pedal stroke. Best of all, calf raises can be done just about anywhere.
1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase difficulty.
2. Lift your heels slowly until you reach the top of the movement. Hold for 2 seconds.
3. Slowly lower your heels back to the starting position.
4. Begin with 3-5 sets of 15 reps.

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