Training for the Working Cyclist
The Gym: Stability and Core Exercises
Whether you’ve been lifting weights your whole life, or you’ve finally decided to add a gym routine to help your cycling, these 6 exercises can help you with your stability on/off the bike and improve your core strength. I’ve purposely chosen workouts with either no weights or light weights, so those of you who are wary about starting a gym machine can feel comfortable with trying these exercises.
1. BOSU Ball Squat
This exercise helps to activate all the stabilizing muscles in your quads and core. Stability is the key to this workout. Start on the flat side of the BOSU Ball with your feet shoulder length apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Slowly squat by lowering your butt, keeping your back upright as possible and making sure that your knees do not extend in front of your toes. Put your hands out in front of you to counterbalance the weight. Activate your core muscles to stabilize any shaky movements. You can start next to a wall to stabilize yourself at first if you are feeling unbalanced.
2. Single Leg Deadlift
This exercise helps with stability muscles in your hamstrings and lower back. Start with one knee slightly bent and your back in an upright position. Slowly rotate your hips, lifting one leg straight back in the air while keeping it parallel with your shoulders and back. Make sure you keep your stabilizing knee slightly bent and keep your shoulders back and back straight. Then, in a reverse motion, come back to the starting position. Once you are comfortable with this motion, you can add weights in your hands (barbell, single dumbbell, or two dumbbells) to further activate your hamstrings and back muscles.
3. Lunge With Side Bend
Start by stepping forward with your right leg and lowering yourself down until your right leg reaches 90 degrees. As you lower yourself down, bring your right hand down toward the ground and reach with your left hand over your head and slowly stretch your torso to the right. Return to starting position.
4. Ball Pikes
This takes a lot of core stability muscles. Grab a stability ball and place your hands on the ground and knees on the ball. Slowly walk yourself forward till the bottom of your shins/top of feet are resting on the top of the ball. Slowly contract your abs (don’t use your legs) to come up on your toes and push your butt in the air in a V-position. Slowly lower yourself down to starting position.
5. Palloff Press With Squat
This involves the use of a cable pulley machine. Move the cable so that it is at shoulder height and you are facing perpendicular to the cable. Pull the cable to the center of your chest and squat down, keeping a tight core. Slowly press the cable directly out in front of you and hold for 30 seconds. This exercise will activate your obliques to resist the pull of the cables. Repeat 3-4x per side.
One of the most important stabilizing exercises for cyclists. You can either do this on your forearms or on your hands with your arms extended. Line your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Maintain a neutral neck and back position (straight line head to toes). Tighten your glutes and abs and hold for as long as possible.
Adam Switters is a former professional cyclist and currently races for Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase. He is a USA Cycling Certified Coach is the owner of Switters Coaching. You can check him out at his website http://www.SwittersCoaching.com/. Feel free to comment if you have any ideas for workout or questions.