POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Essential Strength-Building Moves For Cyclists

Jul 23 2014 - 3:08am

Enjoying Summer on your two wheels? These basic moves from Self [1] will help you become a stronger cyclist.

Yes, even an 8-year-old can ride a bike. And while that's the case, as you get older and become more advanced, going out for longer rides at a time and logging miles in the double and possibly even triple digits, it's important for your body to be strong. Cycling itself is the best way to get better at the sport, but there's a lot you can do off the bike as well.

We chatted with Kristen Legan, former pro triathlete, now triathlon and cycling coach for APEX Coaching [2], to find out what strength moves benefit cyclists most. So while you're watching the Tour de France in its final days or ramping up your miles on the bike, try out these moves designed to amp up your performance. 

1. Bridge


bridge

Start flat on your back with your knees bent and shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides. Squeeze your glutes together, and, pushing through your feet, raise your hips until only your shoulders and feet remain on the ground. If your hamstrings feel like they're going to cramp, go back to the starting position and try again by only squeezing and lifting with your glutes. Start with 3 sets of 5, and return to the original position on your back each time. A more advanced option is to do it single legged. Keep the other leg straight out with your foot flexed.

2. Tip and Reach


tip-and-reach

Grab a light dumbbell in your left hand that you can easily lift overhead (top left photo). Balance on your right leg with your left leg bent at the knee and lifted off the ground to shoulder height (or as high as you can; top right photo) and your left arm with the dumbbell in hand extended up to the sky. Tilt at the hips and reach the dumbbell down to the ground just in front of your right foot (bottom photo) as the left leg extends straight back behind you. Try to keep your back straight. Return to upright position. Start with 3 sets of 5 rounds on each leg. You can start doing this exercise without any weights until you feel comfortable balancing on one leg. Then gradually increase the weight to make it more challenging.

3. Front and Side Plank


plank

Front plank is one of the easiest and most efficient core exercises athletes can do to improve their cycling. Start with both forearms or hands planted on the ground and your body in push-up position. Keep your body in a straight line without dropping your head or hips. Hold this for 30 seconds. For side plank, start on your side, legs stacked, holding your body up with one forearm extended on the ground for support. Keep your body in a straight line without dropping your head or hips. Start by holding for 30 seconds and gradually build up the duration over time. A more advanced version of front plank would be to lift one leg for half the time and then switch to the other leg for the remainder of the time. To make side plank more advanced, lift your top arm straight up at the sky and hold (as shown above). 

4. Deadlift


deadlift

Begin standing with legs shoulder-width apart, dumbbells in each hand. (You can also use a barbell if you're in the gym.) With a straight back and knees slightly bent, bend at your waist, keeping the dumbbells as close to your body as possible as you move them down to touch the ground or as close to the ground as you can. Make sure to stick out your butt to keep from arching your back. Then, keeping your back straight again, butt out, squeezing your hammies and glutes, lift your body back up to a standing position with your shoulder back. Start with 3 sets of 5 reps and build up repetitions and sets. As you get more advanced, use heavier dumbbells or add weights to the barbell.

5. Squats


Squat

Start by standing up with your feet a little wider than shoulder width, toes pointing slightly outward, arms at your sides. Sticking your butt out and keeping your back straight, sit back and down into your heels, bending both knees until you can't keep your back straight anymore. Make sure your knees go outward and don't fall in. Push through your heels to come back to standing. Start with 3 sets of 5 reps and gradually build up the number of sets and repetitions. More advanced version includes using dumbbell weights in each hand.

More from Self.com:

Sources: Thinkstock / aaron_belford [5], David Epperson, Kristen Legan


Source URL
http://www.fitsugar.com/fitness/Best-Exercises-Cyclists-35307903