By adopting a dynamic workout routine that contains these five elements, you will improve your most important muscles and how much effort they are able to take
By Amanda Wilks
Even though many people view it as a fun pastime, when done professionally, cycling requires incredible dedication and impeccable physical condition. Exercising core strength and muscular endurance is essential for cyclists because these are the most relevant for this type of physical activity.
While the former helps with gaining momentum, the latter powers the rider through long and demanding races. Studies show that as little as eight weeks of sustained maximal strength training greatly benefits athletes in this field. Not only do they become more efficient, but they also only get tired after longer periods of effort.
The body’s core muscles are represented by those in the abdominal, pelvic, and back region. Thus, all the effort needs to be concentrated there for them to get a full workout. At the other end of the spectrum, muscular endurance deals with every single muscle in the human body. It represents their ability to exert constant force over an extended period of time.
Best Workouts for Cyclists
Expert riders need to train constantly on and off their bikes to stay in shape and improve their performance levels. While cycling indoors helps, employing a complete training routine is key towards maintaining fitness levels high. In fact, your bike training should be pursued in parallel with a steady string of physical exercises. And, as previously mentioned, the most important aspects to build upon in this sport are core strength and muscular endurance. Thus, the ideal workout should help you improve in these areas in particular. Here are the five best exercises to help you do just that.
Boxer Ball Crunch
The boxer ball crunch is one of the best exercises to build core strength. It’s highly beneficial for the obliques and the lower back alike, while imposing a healthy dose of effort on the transverse abdominus. It is moderately similar to regular abdominal crunches, but it uses a special stability ball for added support.
Your body moves in three directions while riding a bike: laterally, vertically, and forward. By performing crunches this way, you are helping your body minimize wasted motion and lateral torsion by building control.
The floor bridge is a very effective exercise because it makes use of all the important core muscles in your body. An ideal set should contain five to 10 movements daily. Its importance in core training stems from the fact that it is an indispensable source of exercise for muscles situated on the backside of the body, such as the gluteus (commonly known as butt) and the thighs’ hamstrings.
For cyclists especially, this exercise has many positive aspects. For one, it makes one’s hip flexors more limber. When you bike, this particular set of muscles tends to get very stiff, so loosening them up is a plus. Furthermore, the floor bridge helps solidify the line between the glutes and the lower back, which makes for stronger, sturdier pedaling.
Although many people see planking as a trend more than anything else due to a few clever YouTube videos, this activity is actually the number one recommended exercise to build both core strength and muscular endurance. And the best thing about it is that it can be done anywhere like those aforementioned clips have proved in the past.
What planking helps cyclists with best is the ability to ride powerfully, either in aero position or the drops. This comes in particularly handy during a long race because you will be able to keep your momentum going long after your competitors have receded to the top of the handlebar.
Although everyone knows what a pushup is, few people manage to do it correctly. In fact, it might be one of the hardest exercises to perform. The movement is similar to the one for planking, but instead of using your forearms, employ the palms of your hands to prop yourself up. Lower yourself back down and perform the same movement for five sets consisting of fifteen repetitions each.
Don’t be alarmed if you don’t get right from the very first set. There is an intricate art behind the perfect push-up, which means that you will need time to work on your form and posture. Remember to always engage your core in this too to make it a multipurpose exercise. This creates higher thigh leverage, which is essential in creating additional power. You are therefore reaping the full benefits of training for your next big ride.
The catapult is a great way to work your entire core and build endurance at the same time. To perform it correctly, bend your knees ever so slightly and press your heels against the floor. Then, extend your arms with your palms facing each other. Keep your spine straight. Inhale deeply, then exhale and slowly lower your torso. Once you reach the maximum point, exhale and catapult yourself back up, arms forward. This is an exercise that builds upon supreme body control, which is crucial when cycling. By repeating sets of this daily, you will gain proper posture and have the ability to power through even the longest rides.
Amanda Wilks is a writer, contributing author at MountainBikeReviewed.com, and sports activist. As a passionate MTB rider, she takes part in numerous riding competitions for which she prepares thoroughly.