In order to give yourself the best cycling experience, serious preparation is necessary. Doing a few strength exercises before cycling can make the difference between a great run and suffering from fatigue midway, and even suffering an injury. If you aim at doing strength exercises to improve your cycling performance, there are a few exercises to focus on to get the best results. Like any other sport, cycling has its own requirements and thus it also requires specific preparation.
It is always best to start off with the basis and for cycling those would be planks, lunges, burpees and leg lifts. You can choose to do them the basic way, but for more fun and challenge try out some of the other versions of the same exercise. You won’t regret it!
The following exercises can be used with nothing more than your bodyweight, but you can also spice things up by adding some weights to the process.
Planks may be the best exercise ever. First of all, you can do them anywhere and anytime. Apart from that, they don’t require any additional equipment apart from your own bodyweight and a piece of floor. And as if that is not enough, you can choose one of its many variations.
But more importantly, planks are great for cyclists. They work your whole body but focus on your upper body, especially the core. This can be of great help to a cyclist whose upper body has to stay as aerodynamic as possible.
All planks are based on the same principle, the body is laid flat and straight, facedown and the weight is focused on your arms and your toes. Depending on the variation, you can straighten up your arms, as if you are pushing up from the floor. Another one is similar, only you support your upper body on your forearms while your hands are clasped.
For more challenge, try combining the plank with lifting up your arms for a side plank or combine the plank with lifting opposite limbs at the time.
A plank can also be combined with weights, to give your exercise an extra boost. One example is the renegade rows.
Lunges are great for cyclists as they work one leg at the time as during cycling. Like planks, they offer different varieties to choose from, either because of your aptitude or for the fun of it.
You can do them with nothing more than your own bodyweight or you can add a couple of dumbbells for better results. The exercise is performed from the upright position, by taking a step forward with one leg while lowering your whole body. Your knees should be bent at the angle of 90 degrees and your upper body should remain straight. Stand still and for the second part of exercise you should go back to the primary position.
If you choose to use dumbbells of some sort, start off with less weight. In this way, you can first practice doing the exercise properly and more importantly – avoid injury.
A burpee seems like a plank for the more active. So in addition to working your cores, burpees perfect both your agility and your coordination. Like the previous exercises, it can be done without any equipment at all, but there are options with weights, too.
You start by standing in an upright position, then lower yourself into a squat and put your hands on the floor in front of you, fingers spread. After that push your legs back and straighten your legs and your whole upper body, so that it looks like a plank. Keep your arms straight and use them to secure the rest of your body. After that you push your legs back towards your hands into a squat. And then you lift yourself back into the upright position.
4. Leg lifts
Most of the exercises above deal with critical areas for cyclists – the upper body… However in order to prepare for cycling efficiently, we have to do the legs, too. Though leg lifts are targeted at your legs, they also work on your abs, very important muscles for a cyclist.
Just like other exercises, leg lifts aren’t only useful but they are convenient as well. You will only need enough space to lie your body straight on the floor. And if you aren’t interested in investing in more equipment, you can use your bodyweight to practice.
To do this exercise you should lie on your back and put your hands next to you. You should keep your knees and feet together and your legs straight. Push your legs up and hold them for a half a minute.
As in other exercises there are variations, as in vertical leg lift where you can cross your legs or you can keep a ball between your feet as in Swiss ball leg lifts.
Whether you’re a pro, or a just a cycling aficionado, try looking for bicycles online, mountain bikes for sale or any other type of bicycles that suits your needs. To make sure your rides are more enjoyable, fatigue is avoided and more power is allowed, perform the exercises we have suggested above. Depending on your aptitude and wish for variety, combine different kinds of planks, lunges, burpees, and leg lifts in different ways. You can choose to use your own bodyweight or to incorporate some dumbbells or balls. Doing your strength exercises will ensure your cycling gets better and risk of injuries is minimum.