Cycling may be the best way to keep in shape, but it can also strain the body in several different areas. These exercises are designed to improve your cycling form and help you avoid injury.
15 Exercises For Cyclists
Front Plank is one of the most beneficial exercises for cyclists. It targets the core muscles that are used when cycling. It also stretches out your back, and it can improve posture, positioning of major joints, coordination, strengthen lower back muscles and create a better sense of balance.
A front plank can be performed by placing your forearms on the ground with your elbows extended behind you with palms down to support your weight while lifting up onto your toes. Now extend your hips upward while rotating them downward. Your legs should be alongside one another with toes on the ground at all times for stability purposes.
- Single Leg Front Plank – with the fitness ball. Face the ball with your left foot on it. Raise up onto your left toes facing upward and bring your right leg up towards your chest with your knee bent. Hold a tight core and shoulders pulled back with elbows spread out to the sides as you prop your weight on your right forearms that are placed on the ground in front of you. Repeat this exercise by bringing up your right leg to start another side plank position as you perform it on both sides of the body.
- Full Front Plank – Start off in a push-up position so that your hands are directly underneath your chest. Your elbows are bent with your hands directly beneath them. Lift up into a straight line from your shoulders with your arms fully extended towards the ceiling. Your legs are in a tight single-leg front plank position. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then slowly lower down with control to the floor. Repeat ten times on each side
- Front Plank – Start out in a push-up position so that your hands are directly underneath your chest. Your elbows are bent with your hands directly beneath them. Lift yourself into a straight line from your shoulders with your arms fully extended towards the ceiling. Extend your legs out in front of you, so they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, slowly lower down with control to the floor. Repeat 5 times on each side
- Begin with your toes pointed forward and your feet hip-width apart, and your toes were pointing forward.
- Bend your knees, flexing at the hips, until they are nearly parallel to the ground.
- Raise up on your toes as you bend down into a squat. Push through your heels to stand back up again. The motion should be smooth and continuous. Do not bounce in the bottom of this position; push up out of the squat position by driving through your heels and glutes for maximum power transfer.
- If you want to take it up a notch, hold weights (like dumbbells) in front of you or put them on top of your shoulders (if they are light enough).
If you do not want to hold weights, you can use a resistance band. Loop the resistance band under your arms and around the back of your shoulders. Hold onto the weights in front of you so that they are in line with your body. When you squat down, move in a controlled motion so that the bands don’t jerk or snap back on you! The extra load from holding dumbbells or from having resistance bands around your shoulders will make this exercise harder.
You can also make this exercise more intense by increasing its range of motion. In order to get a good contraction, you should go down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the ground.
The split squat is a great exercise for cyclists. It will help you increase your balance and stability as well as improve your power and explosiveness.
- Start with a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other.
- Dip your right knee towards your left foot until it is just below the ground, then extend that same leg outwards whilst bending the opposite leg at the knee, then push back up.
- Repeat on the other side. Three sets of 8-12 reps per side.
Advanced: To increase the difficulty for each of the above exercises, you can do them whilst holding a weight, in your hands, or in a bag by your sides.
- Stand in front of a flat bench with your feet under it, toes pointing forward. Hold the dumbbells at arm’s length next to your hips, palms facing in toward each other. As though you were sitting on a bench, bend your knees, then lift up again to return to standing (think about dragging someone behind you).
- Keep the weight inside your body and only use your legs. Your arms, shoulders, and back should be relaxed throughout even though they are helping maintain balance at all times by adjusting how much they are engaged depending on if you’re lifting or lowering down into position. Only put effort into your upper body when moving down and back up.
- Breathe in when you’re lowering down, and breathe out as you’re coming back to standing. If this is too hard, that’s okay. Just keep practicing and try to keep the motion smooth and controlled throughout with no jerky or bouncing motions at your end range where your arms are fully extended.
- The quicker you can do this, the less rest you’ll need between sets. The more control and form you can maintain, the more weight you should be able to lift.
Side Step-Up With Leg Lift
Side Step-Up With Leg Lift is a great exercise for cyclists. It is a high-intensity interval that targets the core in a way that challenges your balance and stability. The name of the exercise is in relation to when you step down, leg lift, and step up again, all within one fluid movement, so it makes for a great workout.
Side Step-Up With Leg Lift is an excellent exercise to add to your cycling routine, but be sure to warm up before attempting this workout by riding easy for 5 minutes or so at moderate intensity.
- Position your left foot on the ground next to your bicycle. Make it wide enough so that you can place your weight on it, but not so far back that you have to plant a foot too far from your bicycle’s handlebars.
- Place your right hand on the saddle and rise up onto the saddle with a slight bend in your knee and a straight back leg
- Lift the left leg with the knee slightly bent and then drive it forward into a pump of power, bringing both feet together
- Next, bring up the right leg out behind you again as if going for another side step-up
- Then, switch which leg goes up every second repetition
- Repeat these movements for 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Side-lying hip abduction
Side-lying hip abduction is an exercise that strengthens the gluteus maximus muscles and provides a great stretch at the hip joint.
- The first step is to lie on your left side and bring your top leg up, so it lies across your body, with your right leg resting on top of it.
- Then, rotate your pelvis by externally rotating the left hip and abducting the leg away from the midline of the body.
- Hold for 15-30 seconds before switching legs. Repeat three times on each side, then relax into a deep stretch for a few moments. Repeat up to five times a day.
- Lie down on your back with your left foot flat on the ground, and your right leg bent behind you with your knee against the hip crease of that leg. Your right arm lies flat above your head while maintaining shoulder distance from ear to ear.
- Use both hands to straighten that left leg so that it is perpendicular to the floor.
- Contract that right thigh to lift that leg straight up until your left hip is completely bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Continue to squeeze the right thigh muscles as you extend your left leg straight out toward the ceiling.
- Slowly lower the leg down until it is about 15-18 inches off the ground before repeating this movement. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Benefits: This exercise strengthens the hamstring, glutes, and quads and works on the balance and stability of all three while not compromising your upper body position. It also helps strengthen the iliotibial band, which can improve efficiency while riding.
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Single-leg calf raises
- Stand on your left leg with your right leg bent, flat on the floor for balance.
- Put your hands on your hips or hold onto a sturdy piece of furniture for stability.
- Shift all of your weight onto the left leg and raise up onto the toes of that foot, reaching with the right leg up towards the ceiling until you feel a good stretch in that calf muscle.
- Hold this position briefly, then lower back down to start position.
Repeat 10 times, switch legs, and repeat again, so you get 20 reps total per set using both legs before taking a break.
Squatting requires all four of your legs to bend at the knees.
- The first thing you want to do is stand up straight with both feet on the ground, then slowly lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel with or below your knees. Keep pushing back until you are in a deep squatting position.
- To stand up, keep pushing back until you are upright again. From this point, push back with one leg at a time for stability before standing up fully to end the exercise session.
If you’re not careful, cycling can also be bad for your health if done incorrectly. One of the common medical issues for cyclists is poor posture and spine extension while cycling. Poor posture and spine extension while cycling can lead to Neck pain; Upper back pain; Lower back pain; Loss of balance and stability on the bike, And, over time, these spinal problems will make it difficult to ride at all! Spinal extension exercises are the most important of these since they are most often neglected.
- Start by lying on your stomach with your arms resting to the side. Lift your arms and chest off the floor, then gently roll back into position.
- Keeping your lower back pressed into the floor, roll to one side, then rock forward onto elbows or forearms.
- Slowly drop head down to the ground if possible for a good stretch in neck muscles (avoid dropping a full weight onto head).
- Roll onto opposite elbow or forearm and repeat until finding the most comfortable position.
- Lie on your back and place your arms by your side, palms down.
- Raise your legs and bend them at the knee, bringing them up towards you. Cross one leg over the other and bring it to the front of the body, making sure that you keep both hips grounded.
- Now, straighten one leg up towards the ceiling while bending that same knee out to the side, making sure that both feet point in opposite directions. Form a triangle shape with both knees bent outwards.
- Bring the arm closest to the floor up across your chest with the palm facing downwards into a salute position.
- Now lower the raised leg back down again and bring the arm back to your side.
- Repeat on the other side.
- To increase the intensity of exercise, you can flex both feet or flex one foot at a time.
- Keep switching from side to side for a few sets. End by relaxing on your back for a few seconds to recover before repeating on the other side.
- Always make sure you perform this exercise on a soft surface that supports your spine and neck in case any pain or discomfort occurs – particularly if you have had any recent neck or back surgery – as it will put extra pressure on these areas of the body.
- On the floor, lie on your back with your arms extended above your head and palms on the ground, fingers facing forward, and then raise your hips off the ground into a bridge position.
- Bring one foot towards your butt while bending the opposite knee to 90 degrees and keeping it in line with your thigh. Make sure that you’re not bringing it back any further than 90 degrees.
- Now bend both knees (keeping them at 90 degrees) until you feel like you’re about to drop them or like they can’t go any lower, push up with both feet to return to the bridge position, and repeat on the opposite side. Do this for 15-20 reps per side 3x a week. [1-3 sets per day]
Push-Up to Renegade Row
- Start in an all-fours position with fingertips on the ground.
- Press back into a push-up position with hips high and knees slightly bent.
- With an exhalation, bring the right elbow towards the left knee and hold for five seconds.
- Release right elbow to the floor and rotate torso 90 degrees to the left while drawing in the belly button to spine.
- Return to the all-fours position.
Lateral Lunge With Overhead Press
- Begin by standing with your feet together and your hands on the hips.
- Take a large step to one side, lowering your body into a lunge as you do so and dropping the weight of the upper body onto the grounded leg, which should be bent at an angle of ninety degrees.
- Push upwards from this position, raising yourself back to standing while pressing simultaneously overhead with one arm extended fully above your head and clasping it firmly with the other hand down next to your ear (in other words, keep both arms straight at all times). Wave goodbye if you want!
- Repeat on the opposite side (i.e., left foot/ hand side of the body).
- Continue alternating sides for ten repetitions on each side. This exercise should be performed slowly and increase the intensity with each repetition.
The Burpee is an exercise that will strengthen all major muscle groups, including chest, arms, abs, and butt muscles, while also conditioning these muscles for more intense physical activity. This exercise can be performed both outdoors or at home.
- Start in a standing position. Place your hands on the ground in front of you, about shoulder-width apart.
- Jump your feet back, so they’re slightly wider than hip-distance apart, and then jump them back again, so they’re together.
- Then jump up with straight legs returning to the high plank position at the top of a push-up. Immediately drop into the bottom of a push away, jumping your hands out wide for balance if necessary, and then return to starting position.
- Perform one push away for each Burpee completed.
Benefits Of Doing Exercise Before/After Cycling
Exercise can also improve your mood, boost your metabolism, and build more muscle mass. But these are not the only benefits of exercise. For starters, it can prevent you from having a heart attack or reduce asthma symptoms. Studies have shown that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing colon cancer by up to 40 percent for both men and women. However, it is vital to note that more research is needed before scientists are able to determine whether certain types of exercise are more effective than others for reducing that risk.
Exercise helps you lose weight and feel better about yourself. You may find that your energy level increases after exercising regularly because your body is using up stored fat instead of sugar burned from food. Exercise also strengthens your muscles, which reduces the pain of working out over time.
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What are the best exercises for cyclists?
Well, there’s a wide range of exercises for cyclists, but that depends more on your specific needs. The exercise that might help ease you into some training is bike-leg strength:
The leg press machine is a popular choice as you sit down and push the pedal upwards as hard as possible. Other common choices would be standing calf raises or standing single-leg calf raise. Leg extensions machine is another option if your cycling requires you to extend your pedaling at the top of the bike’s pedal stroke and bring it back down more quickly than normal.
How can I strengthen my legs for cycling?
Cycling is very demanding on the legs, so it’s important to get in some strength training. If you’re just beginning to get back into an exercise routine, take it easy. Start by working out your legs once or twice a week for about 10 minutes. You can do exercises that target specific muscle groups or ones that work your entire body.
How do I improve my cycling strength?
As you see improvement in your cycling endurance and speed, begin increasing the difficulty of your workout sessions. Work out at least three times a week, but up to five times if you can fit it into your busy schedule. Go longer than 10 minutes each session, adding more sets and increasing resistance to build muscle strength and endurance.
How do cyclists work out?
Cyclists get into cycling shape by doing cycling-specific strength and conditioning training. Strength and conditioning workouts should increase your overall endurance, flexibility, and strength. One of the most popular cycle-specific strength techniques include:
Using a stationary bike/spin machine: Cardiovascular training is an important part of cycling fitness because it helps to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles and deliver fresh energy to the working muscles for extended periods of exercise. A stationary bike, or spinning machine, is a common choice for resistance riders because it allows the rider to resist gravity without having to wrestle with upward momentum while pedaling.