Seasoned cyclists who are affected by pain and have reached a fitness plateau may question whether strength training is worth doing or not. When this happens, a majority of elite cyclists will fall back on a common concept – to continue pushing down harder and ride more so as to get better. However, this concept may not be feasible for every cyclist out there. For non-competitive cyclists, it is pertinent that you make balancing health and longevity a priority, while staying in line with performance goals.
For many years, a small number of movement experts state that cyclists do not necessarily need to include strength or core training in order to ride better and faster. How true is this? What’s more, they state that cyclists usually require minimal core strength as the demands of cycling are pretty static during riding.
Why You Should Still Consider Strength Training
For starters, you are still an athlete and it is recommended that you train for resiliency in life. The strength training you may undertake can help maintain your muscular balance and bones. That’s why your training should include mobility and lifting movement patterns. If you are an athlete who is experiencing ongoing pain or decreasing ability to perform other activities and sports in daily life with adequate ease, your current condition should warrant an inclusion of strength training for cyclists.
Earlier on, we mentioned that some studies show that strength training does not have a huge impact on cycling. However, you should now hear the other side of the story – strength training does improve cycling performance! If you are interested in strength training, here’s a simple routine that comprises of a few classic core exercises. While this routine is low-risk and takes minimal time to complete, you should remember to avoid doing too much. Overdoing strength training exercises, just like many other excessive things in life, will cause adverse effects.
The Simple Strength Training Workout Routine
Guideline: Do 2 to 3 sets for each exercise. Try your best to hit 10 reps per move.
- Side Planks
Start on your side and place one forearm directly below your shoulder. Make sure that your feet are together. Hold the position and do not let your hips drop. Perform recommended amount of leg lifts.
- Cobra Pose/Back Extension
Place your hands palms down on the ground beneath your shoulders. Lift your chest up off the ground by straightening your arms. Gaze upwards and tighten your abdominals.
Grab the bar and spread your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up and try to touch the bar with your chest.
Get into a high plank position and place hands shoulder-width apart (slightly wider if you prefer). Lower and push yourself as one giant straight line.
Other exercises on strength training for cyclists may include one-arm overhead presses, air squats, v-sits and lunges. All in all, if you are able to open your hips wide, load your joints more often and put your arms over your heads, you will have a lower chance of getting injured from cycling activities – allowing you to do what you love the most, and pedal harder for longer periods of time. If you want to know more about each exercise in the routine or how to prevent injuries, you can seek much needed advice from the TAP team.