Strength & Stability Workout: Perfect for Cyclists
We teamed up with blogger and Personal Trainer, PtMollie, to put together a workout which will improve your strength and stability.
Mollie is a spin instructor, so as well as spending a lot of time on bikes (albeit static ones!), she supplements her training with these exercises to help improve her core, abdominal, lower back and leg strength.
Why target these muscle groups?
Besides the obvious exertion required from your legs during long cycling sessions, there are other key target areas which are put under strain:
Core strength - when you look at pro cyclists, you notice that their upper body remains mostly static on the bike - with the exception of period of extreme exertion such as sprints or very steep hills. Exercises such as the plank and mountain climber help to improve your endurance for staying in one position for a long time. Cross-body movements such as wood choppers help to strengthen your obliques which are great for keeping you stable on your bike.
Lower back - although you may not notice it on short rides, your lower back is active in every single pedal stroke - take a walk around the room with your hands placed on your lower pack and you'll notice the small contractions which help to stabilize the movement. If you strengthen these muscles with exercises such as deadlifts, then you can avoid fatigue setting in and causing you pain or discomfort on the road.
Legs - well, this one's kind of self explanatory... your legs require endurance for long rides, this stamina is best built up in the saddle, but you can also improve your performance on hills and sprints by performing reps of explosive exercises such as box jumps and working on your speed work with high knees.
I don't have access to some of this equipment - are there alternatives to the equipment-dependant exercises?
This circuit includes 4 exercises which require weights equipment. Weights are used to add resistance to a movement to give your muscles a bigger workout. So what do you do if you have no access to weights?
Find weighty alternatives in the home - for exercises such as Reverse Delt Flyes, you can replace the dumbbells with a weighty object from around your own home. Reverse Delt Flyes usually require 2 dumbbells to perform the exercise. Now imagine this exercise with Loren O's suggested weights replacement of milk containers filled with water! Make sure each container is evenly weighted and away you go.
Other alternatives include paint tins, sandbags or loaded shopping bags - anything that has a sturdy handle and a decent weight to it. Mollie recommends creating your own medicine ball by filling an old football with sand - what's your best equipment hack?
Resistance bands - while these may not be your typical household item, resistance bands are a diverse, compact and low-cost fitness accessory which can be used to add extra resistance to an exercise. This is perfect for cyclists as you can also improvise a resistance band using your old inner tubes!
Cable Woodchoppers require a pretty specific piece on gym equipment, but if you have a load-bearing bar in your house (such as a chin-up bar or structural pillar) to attach a resistance band to, you can create the same movement as the cable woodchopper with a resistance band.
Ask around... you may be surprised by what your friends and family have hidden away in their garages! For exercises like deadlifts, you really will notice a bigger improvement with the appropriate equipment - but that doesn't mean you need a gym membership.