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Strength training to better prepare for the cycling season

April 1, 2022 - By Vanessa Bouchard

Temps de lecture 4 minutes

Cycling season is coming up! If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you’ve probably been riding all winter from the comfort of your home with Ultime Fit or other virtual platforms and stationary bike apps. There’s nothing more specific than preparing for your cycling season on your own bike, that’s for sure! However, strength training is very important, and some aspects are best performed away of the saddle. Here is why strength training is essential for the cyclist.

Strength training will allow you to: 

  • Increase the power of the legs over short periods of time (accelerate at the end of the climb and get to the top before the others!)
  • Have a more efficient pedaling stroke, therefore less energy loss
  • Increase lean body mass without increasing total body weight
  • Prevent injuries, especially by improving endurance and stability of the abdominal belt
  • Prevent discomfort during long rides

I would like to suggest some specific exercises that you could include now to help you prepare for the upcoming season!

Leg strengthening workout

First, we need to train our legs…no surprise there! Pedaling requires a synergy of most of the leg muscles so it is worthwhile to work with that in mind.  Choose movements that will involve several joints, and therefore several muscle groups.

If your experience in weight training makes it possible, opt for exercises that require stabilization of the core (exercise with free weights rather than on a machine). Also, for those who have excellent technique in the execution of their movements, aim for a lower number of reps (less than 10) with heavier loads. You have plenty of opportunity to work on your leg stamina during stationary bike sessions, so take advantage of this opportunity to work on STRENGTH.

Workout moves to focus on: squats, deadlifts, step ups, lunges, and hip thrusts.

Ab training: essential for cycling!

Another important factor in the prevention of injury and discomfort during long rides… THE ABS! A stable and strong abdominal belt will help maintain an efficient pedaling stroke and will reduce the risk of discomfort in the lower back, shoulders, and neck. It will also reduce the risk of altering the pedaling stroke thus limit the risk of injury to the lower body. Choose exercises that keep your spine in a neutral position and maintain the position for a prolonged period, as we are trying to work on ENDURANCE. Also, try to vary the intensity of your exercises by increasing the instability.

Workout moves to focus on: abdominal plank, abdominal plank with arms on a ball for increased instability, side plank for obliques, quadruped arm opposite leg lift, the Pallof press, and the dead bug.

Upper body workout: not to be overlooked!

Lastly, the upper body (pecs, back, shoulders and arms). Cyclists aren’t known for their big arms, but they still need to be able to maintain their position on the handlebars, absorb shock, control the bike, and assist in movement during a standing climb or sprint. This is especially true for people who ride off-road (mountain biking, gravel, cyclocross, fat biking, etc.) and those who must maintain an aerodynamic position for long periods of time (time trials and triathlons). As we did for the abs, the same rule applies for the upper body. Build upper body endurance with a high a number of reps (more than 15) and lighter load.

Workout moves to focus on: push-ups for pecs, triceps and core stabilization, pull-ups for the back (with a rubber band, pulley, or dumbbells) and reverse fly for the back and back of the shoulders (with a rubber band, pulley, or dumbbells).

In a nutshell, a full-body strength workout will be beneficial for all cyclists all year round. Aim for strength training twice a week during the winter months and at least one session a week during the cycling season. Consult a kinesiologist to help you customize strength training to your specific needs.

I hope these tips will be helpful in prepping for the upcoming cycling season and getting you back on the road, track, or mountain in great shape.

Enjoy your workouts!

Strength training to better prepare for the cycling season is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2022

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