Strength Training is Important
Strength training will make you a better cyclist. Your legs are responsible for most of the work you do on the bike, but you (and arguably, your performance) will greatly benefit from strengthening key muscles in your body. Here are some of the reasons you should consider incorporating strength training into your routine:
- Better posture on and off the bike, supporting your spine, neck, and shoulders
- Stability of the major joints, specially knees
- Injury prevention
- Increased power
Getting Strong at Home
If you are like most amateur cyclists, you already dedicate a good portion of your days to cycling and the idea of starting a strengthening routine on top of it may seem challenging when juggling other life demands. It does not have to be. I have been performing the sequence below two to three days a week, at home, on the days I do a recovery or Submax ride. It targets the muscles that matter the most for cycling.
- Perform the following strength exercises in a circuit, repeating 2-3 times:
– Front Plank: 90 seconds on your hands, forearms or arms on a stability ball (advanced)
– Side Planks: 60 seconds each side using hand or forearm
– Glute Bridges: 12 reps with 5 seconds hold at the top
– Lateral Band Shuffles: 100 small steps (50 on each side)
– Squats: 15 reps
– Lateral Lunges: 15 reps each leg
– Hamstring Curls on a stability ball: 15 reps
– Pushups: 15 reps
– Barbell or Dumbbell Row: 15 reps
The best thing about the strength routine above is that it is very portable: you will be using your own body weight for most the exercises. As such, minimum equipment will be needed:
- Exercise mat (this can me a yoga mat)
- Stability ball
Give it a try!
I am certain that you will start to notice improvements in your joints and will feel better on the bike a few weeks after incorporating the sequence above into your routine. The biggest change I noticed in my own body was knee and shoulder stability. I used to have pain from riding on long climbs, but not anymore!