We all know that cycling is primarily a cardiovascular sport. Therefore, some cyclists say that resistance training is not necessary for riding but wouldn’t you also say cycling is a power sport? An increasing number of cyclists are NOW going back to the gym with the aim of improving their overall performance to meet their training goals!
Competitive cycling requires both controlled strength and long-lasting endurance to support a cyclist’s ability to continually push the pedals rhythmically around for long periods of time. This powerful tempo must be attacked with accuracy and strength to achieve the desired speed when accelerating, climbing, or sprinting. Wouldn’t you want to train your body OFF the bike to make your cycling goals a reality too?
With this in mind, There are a lot of conflicting studies on how cycling can have an impact on bone health. However, most agree that focusing on strength training helps in the long run. Resistance training is, no doubt, beneficial to cyclists! It helps improve muscle strength and endurance, especially for the lower body muscles that work hard when riding a bike. The right tool can not be more important. It’s best to incorporate the use of a quality resistance band to push your muscles for more effective resistance training. We suggest the Victorem Booty Bands that come in a variety of fun colors and prints!
What is the best exercise for cycling?
It’s time to answer the question everyone want’s to know! There are a couple of effective exercises for competitive cyclists to really target specific muscle groups to support the complex actions involved in a pedal stroke. Every cyclists knows that every stroke is important and can continuously be improved upon.
Don’t miss the four exercises that will take your ride to the next level! It’s a bonus that these will really help you stay in shape too.
- Squat jumps
- Aim to squat down low, with your thighs roughly parallel with the ground. Doing so simulates the angle of your legs while pedaling.
- From the squat position, jump up as high and as hard as you can.
- Do this while keeping your hands close to your hips.
- Perform 15 reps, four sets.
- Calf raises
Your calves get beaten up the most while cycling. You need to keep them in shape. Perform calf raises during your rest days. Doing this mimics the action your calf muscles go through while riding a bike. Doing calf raises will strengthen your calves more.
- Stand on a flat surface, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise yourself onto your toes in a slow, simple motion.
- Then lower yourself back down slowly.
- Perform 20 reps, three sets.
If you want to challenge yourself, combine this exercise with a squat for more intensity. The combination will strengthen both your thighs and your quads simultaneously.
- Kettlebell swing
The kettlebell swing is a full-body exercise. If done regularly, it is effective in improving endurance and developing a stronger pedal stroke.
- Pick a comfortable weight
- Stand with your feet apart
- Slightly bend your knees
- Hold the kettlebell firmly in both hands
- Position your hands between your legs
- Swing the kettlebell in fluid motion right up to your chest height.
- Make sure you to manage the kettlebell’s weight as it falls back down to its original position between your legs
- Aim to achieve full hip extension when doing the upward swing, tightening your core and glutes as you lift
- Perform 15 reps, three sets with 90-second rest between each set
- Lateral lunge
The lunge is a simple exercise that can be done even at home. It targets every muscle in the lower body, specifically the hips, quads, and hamstrings, which are all used when riding a bike.
- From a standing position, step forward using your right leg
- Bend your left leg until the knee is almost touching the floor
- Push back into a standing position using the right foot
- Repeat, alternating your legs in the process
- Perform ten reps, three sets with 45-seconds rest between each set
To prevent injury and maintain balance, take note of your form. Keep your spine aligned, shoulders back, chin up. Always look straight ahead.
How often should a cyclist lift weights?
During the cycle sports season, one strength workout on the bike each week is fine. But for off-season training, it is recommended to do off-the-bike lower body workouts. A cyclist can build more strength in the gym with resistance and weight training than just riding the bike.
While strength training is not necessary for cycling since it’s a non-weight bearing activity, you will see the benefit of incorporating it into your regular routine in the long run.
During long bike runs or competition, a cyclist may be fast and lead the race’s initial segment, but he can grow weak and be forced to slow down. The next biker who took the time to build his strength and stamina to finish the race eventually wins.
Final notes on resistance training for cyclers
Between all of your workouts, rides, and races, you will definitely need something to keep the sweat out of your face and eyes. Headsweats has a multitude of products that are precisely designed to do just that! If you’re either killing your strength training workout or out for a ride, you’ll have an advantage because sweat will no longer be a distraction. Check out some of the unique designs from the Headsweats Cycling Collection or if you’re looking for a gym hat, we guarantee the Headsweats Performance Trucker never disappoints. Get the perfect solution and focus on what is important!
If you are really looking to give yourself that extra boost in speed or endurance, strength training can really make a difference and resistance bands are an easy way to work on that. Put these exercises to use and you WILL feel the difference in no time!