Alt: Woman in a gray sports bra holding black dumbbells while doing strength exercises.
7 Essential Strength Training Exercises for Cyclists
Many people underestimate the importance of strength training when they really shouldn’t. While endurance training is vital for improving cycling abilities and general fitness, strength or weight training is also critical. Strength training can help prevent injury and increase your riding performance. So, if you want to step up your cycling game, besides investing in a great bike, make sure you incorporate these seven essential strength training exercises for cyclists into your workout routine!
Exercise #1: Squats
Squats are a great way to build your lower body, especially your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, all crucial muscles when cycling. Performing these strength training exercises correctly is critical. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and steadily lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. While you’re doing this, make sure your back stays straight, and your core is engaged.
Aside from the regular squats, you can also try out a few variations. For example, the split squat is a very popular exercise with cyclists. Moreover, you can also incorporate dumbbells into your workouts if you can.
Caption: Squats are a great exercise anyone can do at a gym or at home.
Alt: Woman doing squats at home
Exercise #2: Spinal Extension
The muscles in your lower back play an important role in the cycling action. There’s also evidence that these muscles’ weakening often plays a role in the back discomfort that many bikers suffer from. Spinal extension is an excellent place to start when strengthening those muscles. To get started, find a medium-sized cushion. Lay on top of it, but make sure the front of your pelvis is still on the floor. Curl your trunk around the pillows till your nose is almost touching the ground. Start extending your spine gently, elevating your trunk as high as you can without shifting your pelvis. If this exercise is too easy for you, place your hands on the back of your head.
Exercise #3: Plank
Plank is easily one of the most popular strength training exercises for cyclists. Experts for personal training at DubaiPT say that this is the perfect exercise for building core strength and relieving your back pain. These exercises are also relatively easy to set up but not as easy to complete. Start as though you want to execute a push-up: place hands precisely beneath your shoulders. Dig your toes into the floor and compress your glutes to stabilize your body. Don’t look in front of you. Instead, hold your head parallel to your back and focus on a spot beneath you. Maintain that position for 20 seconds, or whoever long you can stay comfortable.
Caption: Challenge yourself to stay in the plank position for as long as you can.
Alt: Woman in a plank position in a yoga studio.
Exercise #4: Single-Leg Bridge
Another great strength training exercise for cyclists is the single-leg bridge. This exercise is essential because it focuses on the glutes, which might be weak in some riders. To do a single leg bridge, you have to lie face up on a mat with your legs bent and your heels near your buttocks, feet on the floor, and arms at your sides. Then, you should raise one leg straight up to the ceiling while maintaining both knees lined up. To make a straight line from shoulders to knees, engage glutes and elevate hips toward the ceiling. After a pause, return to the starting position and repeat for a full set before switching legs.
Exercise #5: Single-Leg Calf Raise
Calf muscles aid in power transmission to the pedals and knee flexion when you draw through at the bottom of the pedal stroke. And one of the best calf strength training exercises for cyclists is the single-leg calf raise. To do this workout correctly, you should face a wall or the back of a chair. Shift your weight to one leg and slightly raise your heel off the ground. Maintain contact with the ground with the knuckle of your big toe and elevate the arch of your foot as high as possible. Then, hold the highest position for a second before dropping your heel to just above the ground. Maintain a little bend in your knee and keep your weight over the working leg throughout. In the end, you’ll get stronger, more defined calves that will help you boost your cycling game.
Exercise #6: Russian Twists
Russian twists are a great exercise that improves your obliques. This is very important because these muscles rotate your trunk or reduce it as your legs ride up and down. When your obliques are weak, you’re more prone to twisting. This can result in pains, weariness, and lost watts. To do this exercise correctly, begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, your heels flat on the floor, and your shoulders relaxed. Lean back from the hips with a straight back until you feel your abs engage. Then, twist to the left from the waist, keeping your heels on the floor and arms close to your body. Return to the center with a twist. Then, twist to the right. Keep doing this and alternating sides for a whole set.
Exercise #7: Crunches
Crunches are the most well-known abdominal workout, but their advantages extend beyond core strength. They’re essential for cyclists, and you should include at least one set of crunches into your workout routine. Lay face-up on the floor with your legs bent or straight, and draw your ribs down toward your waist to do a crunch.
Caption: Crunches are everybody’s go-to ab exercise for a reason.
Alt: Man doing crunches at home while listening to music.
Depending on how often you work out or go on bike rides, you should do these strength training exercises for cyclists at least once or twice a week. Most of these are very easy to do at home, so you won’t need to apply for a gym membership. If you’re persistent with the exercises, you’ll see strength gains that will help you ride your bike better and with fewer aches and pains.
Meta: Want to improve your riding? Check out our list of the best and most essential strength training exercises for cyclists.