What kind of strength and conditioning exercises do you need for cycling? Cycling is basically about repeated force production, one leg at a time. But it’s not just legs, you also need a strong core for handling your bike, climbing and overall endurance. Let’s look at 4 exercises that cover all of those needs.
Lunges are a great exercise because you do them one leg at a time just like riding a bike. They target your quadriceps, hips, and hamstrings. You should start without weight to get comfortable with good form. Once you have it down, you can take dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands for added weight. Aim for 15-30 reps per set to keep the intensity aerobic. Check out this video to see how it’s done.
Planks are one of the best exercises for core strength that you can do virtually anywhere at any time. They will work your abs, lower back, and shoulders. First work your way up to a 1 minute continuous plank with proper technique and then start adding variations. You can try lifting legs one at a time or doing side planks to increase difficulty and work different aspects of your core. If you’re unsure about technique or want inspiration, check out this plank routine. Can you finish those 3 minutes without taking a break?
Squats are a great off-season exercise: they work the glutes, hips, quads, and hamstrings. They will help you improve max strength as well as endurance. It’s essential to learn proper technique with light weights because half-assed squats can do more harm than good. As you get used to squatting the right way, you can start doing less reps with higher weights or progress to single-legged squats. There’s a lot of info on squats out there if you’re unsure about how to do them properly, check out this video.
Single leg deadlifts
Deadlift is also one of those basic exercises that everyone should do in the off-season. The single leg variant of this exercise is great for cycling because it targets the hips and hamstrings and helps correct muscle imbalances since each leg has to support the load independently. This variation is not about max strength, start with very little weight and focus on proper technique. That alone will bring benefits. Each rep should be slow with a slightly bent knee, straight or slightly arched back, and activated core.