A Complete Guide To The Best Gym Exercises For Cyclists

A Complete Guide To The Best Gym Exercises For Cyclists

Cycling has become very popular over the years. Many people enjoy cycling because they get to exercise their legs and burn calories at the same time. It can also be quite a relaxing activity that you can experience with friends and family.

workout equipment

There are several ways to improve your cycling skills. If you’re a cyclist, then it’s certainly in your best interests to try some gym exercises. With that in mind, here’s our complete guide to the best gym exercises for cyclists.

Importance Of Strength Training For Cyclists

Importance OF Strength Training For Cyclists

The importance of strength training for cyclists is clear. When you ride a bike, you use muscles all over your body. You need strong muscles to help you stay balanced while riding. Stronger muscles mean more power when you pedal. But why else is strength training important for cyclists? Here are just a few reasons.

Training preserves muscle mass

As you get older, you lose more and more muscle mass. Cyclists that are getting older may begin to notice that as they are aging, they are finding it harder and harder to perform at the same level as before because their muscles simply aren’t performing in the same way.

Muscle loss happens slowly, but it eventually becomes noticeable. As your muscle mass decreases, so does your ability to perform certain tasks.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to preserve your muscle mass. One of those things is  regular strength training. Strength training is designed to improve your muscle mass and to make you stronger in the long run. It also makes you feel good mentally!

Strength Training Enhances Coordination

When you lift weights, you have to coordinate many different parts of your body together. This helps you develop better coordination. In turn, this will help you maintain balance while you cycle.

Strength training improves your stability, and this is really vital as you start to get older. Since your muscles get weaker as you age, putting extra stress on them can cause injury and this can often occur when you aren’t coordinated.

It can be a huge problem if you already have injuries or health concerns.

By regularly strength training, you can improve your coordination in your whole body. This will not only make you more confident as a cyclist, but it will also help to ensure that you sustain fewer injuries and that basic tasks like picking up objects aren’t as difficult as you get older.

Makes You Smarter

It seems obvious, but it’s true: the more you work out, the smarter you’ll get. Regular strength training can actually improve the neuroplasticity in your brain, and this means that it’s a lot easier for you to absorb new information.

You will also get better blood flow to the brain from physical activity, which is important for your thinking capabilities.

This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, but if you keep doing strength training exercises regularly, you will see improvements in your cognitive abilities.

As many of us know, as we get older cognitive decline can be a real worry. This is part of the reason why it’s such a good idea to take up strength training even if you are a little older.

Increases Your Options

Cycling is a great activity for improving your aerobic capabilities. The problem is that it’s not really a strength based activity, and this means that your body strength and musculoskeletal system isn’t getting the same level of love as your cardiovascular system.

If you increase your strength training, then you have a lot more options available to you, making you a better athlete. You may feel more prepared to do a wider variety of activities when you are working on both your aerobic and strength training.

Keeps You In The Game

If you want to be a more well rounded athlete and cyclist, then it’s in your best interest to take up some form of strength training. If you do other things besides cycling then it may even make you more effective when you’re in the saddle.

If you want to be the best cyclist you possibly can be, then it’s a good idea to make sure that you are strength training fairly regularly.

The Top Bodyweight Exercises To Get Started

The top Bodyweight Exercises To Get Started

So, what are the best bodyweight exercises to get started with? It’s always a good idea to begin with the basics – don’t overcomplicate things too early. You can increase the intensity as you go! Here are a few exercises to try when you first start out.

Plank

The plank is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your core. It works all of your major muscle groups, including your abs, back, shoulders, arms and legs. It’s a simple exercise that requires no equipment.

Simply lie down on the floor, raise yourself into a push-up position and hold it there. Hold for a couple of seconds before lowering yourself back down again.

Do this for as many reps as you can manage, taking a 30 second rest between exercises. Most people start off with around 3 to 5 reps.

You don’t have to stick with just the standard plank either. There are a few variations that you may want to try that will hit different muscle groups and add a bit more intrigue to your workout routine.

Side Plank

A side plank is similar to a regular plank except that you are lying on one side instead of parallel to the ground. Get yourself into a planking position, then raise one arm in the air, balancing on one arm and one leg.

The arm can either be completely straight or you can bend it to support your weight a little easier. It should look like you have a triangle shape underneath your body when you are propped up.

There are also other planks you can try like the walking plank, the forearm plank and the knee plank.

There are many benefits to doing the plank. Not only does it work your entire core but it also strengthens your shoulder muscles, which helps prevent injuries from occurring. It also increases your balance and coordination, which is ideal for helping you to stay safe while riding your bike.

Spiderman Pushups

This is another basic exercise that you can use to build up your upper body strength. Lie on the ground, hands at your sides, feet together. Push your body upwards using your arms and your legs – similar to a planking position as previously mentioned.

When you have done this, bring your right knee and move it up to your right elbow, looking like you are spiderman! Bring your knee back to its original position, then do the same on the opposite side.

This move is a little bit harder than your standard pushup, and it predominantly works your shoulders, triceps and your chest. You will also need to use your core a lot more to hold the move.

The spiderman push up has many of the same benefits of push ups. Push ups are good for a number of reasons. They help to improve your posture and they’re great for building your upper body strength.

In addition to this , they also target your biceps, forearms and chest. This means that they’ll make your cycling performance better by increasing your power output.

Pull Ups

Pull ups are an excellent way to develop your grip strength and overall upper body strength. They are pretty easy to do too. Find a bar or a stable surface above you. Grab the bar and take a few steps back.

When you have done this, you can then lower yourself back a little so your arms are totally straight, and pull yourself up to the bar or the thing that you are holding. You may need to lean back a little bit in some cases to create the resistance that you need with your bodyweight.

There are many benefits to doing pull ups. They are very versatile exercises. You can perform them anywhere, anytime and even without equipment. They are great for developing your upper body strength and improving your grip strength.

They are also great for toning your arms and strengthening your shoulders, neck and back. If you want to make it harder, you can do weighted pull ups.

If you want to learn how to do pull ups correctly, there are lots of videos online showing people performing these moves to help you out.

Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are another great exercise to try and they’re ideal for improving hip stability and single leg strength. They are a little challenging to do, so don’t be too bummed out if you don’t end up mastering them right away.

You can use resistance bands to make them a little easier if need be.

Start off by standing with your feet slightly wider apart than usual. Your knees should be bent and you should go as low as you possibly can. When in this position, slowly lift your left foot off the floor until your body forms a 45 degree angle.

Keep your torso upright and your head upright, putting your arms out ahead of you. Hold your leg in that outright position for a few seconds before changing the leg.

This exercise works your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. They are great for improving your balance and stability. They also strengthen your hips and ankles. Pistol squats are a great exercise to add into any routine.

They are fairly simple to do and they only require one piece of equipment – your own bodyweight. You can add weights later on if you do find yourself needing more of a challenge.

The best part about pistol squats is that you can do them anywhere at any time. It’s not like other exercises where you need special equipment or space. You can just get down on the ground and start squatting!

Planking Rows

Plank rows are another great exercise for improving your core strength. They work your abs, shoulders, spine and hip muscles. They are also great because they really focus on your core strength.

A plank row is fairly simple. First get into a planking position. Then, lift one arm, bent, up high. Make sure that you raise your arms at the elbows rather than at the shoulder. Hold the arm there, then lower it back down again.

This exercise is even more effective when done with weights – many people choose to use kettlebells for the job. You should start out with a couple of sets with the right arm, then a few sets with the left arm. You may also see this exercise referred to as a renegade row.

The Top Weight Lifting Exercises For Cyclists

The Top Weight Lifting Exercises For Cyclists

Deadlifts

Deadlifts are probably the most popular weightlifting exercise among cyclists. They are an excellent way to build muscle mass and improve your overall fitness level.

They are also great at building your back strength and endurance. Deadlifts are performed using a barbell for the most part, though you can also do them with free weights.

You can also perform deadlift variations such as sumo deadlifts, split squats or Romanian deadlifts. Doing some variations can be a great way to make your routine differ from one day to the next, creating some diversity that may help you to stay interested in your routine.

Deadlifts come with a lot of benefits. They will increase your strength, power, and stamina. They will also help you to develop your upper-body strength. They are also great for developing your back muscles.

Deadlifts are actually classed as a compound exercise, meaning that they work pretty much all of the key muscles in your body. In particular though they are good for activating your legs. More leg strength ultimately means more power when cycling, which should help you to improve your performance.

To perform a deadlift, first stand straight up. Put the barbell or dumbbells onto the floor, and lower yourself down to grab them. Place both hands on a barbell or dumbell. Your feet should be slightly wider apart than shoulder width.

Squeeze your butt cheeks together and pull your chest forward, pulling the barbell upwards as you do so. Keep your head up, and begin to slowly straighten your body out again as you lift the bar. Hold it for a few seconds, then lower it to the floor again.

When doing a deadlift, form is crucial. If you don’t get the form right then you can injure yourself, so it’s worth getting someone to demonstrate how to do it. There are plenty of videos on youtube that will show you how to do it if you need some help.

Don’t rush the exercise, and don’t lift too much weight straight away – wait until you have perfected your form before you take on any more weight, even if you think you can handle it.

Squats

Another great exercise for cyclists is squats. These are a great exercise for strengthening your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

There are many benefits to doing squats, such as helping you to strengthen your core, improving your balance, and increasing your leg strength.

They’re also very useful for cyclists because they’ll help to improve your posture while you ride. You may feel the burn a little the day after you have done a squat session though!

Squats are technically a bodyweight exercise – you can do them without having any weights if you don’t have any on hand. With that being said, weighted squats can help you to get some incredible results.

There are a number of different kinds of squats. Some like goblet squats only require you to have a dumbbell. Some squats are also a lot harder to do than others.

When it comes to squats though, the most common weighted squat is the back squat. This is performed with the use of a barbell. You can also do a front squat, though some people find these to be a little more challenging.

So how do you do a backsquat? Start by standing up straight with your feet about hip distance apart. Stand tall, and place the barbell across your shoulders.

It’s typically best to ensure that the barbell is racked to the right height before you pick it up. Your barbell should be behind your neck for the back squat across the top of the shoulders.

When you have done this, take a couple of steps back. Keep your back straight, and with your legs around shoulder width apart, slowly lower yourself to the ground, as you would with a regular squat. After a few seconds, slowly raise yourself back up.

Squats are especially beneficial for cyclists thanks to the fact that the hamstrings are balanced which can help you with your pedaling. It’s definitely an exercise that’s worth doing.

Bench Press

The bench press is a fantastic  exercise for cyclists. It helps to build muscle in the upper arms, triceps, and chest. It’s also a good exercise for building endurance and stamina.

There are numerous benefits to doing bench presses. One of the main ones is that it increases your grip strength. This is something that you’ll want when cycling because you’ll want to be able to hold onto things securely.

Another benefit is that it can improve your bone health. Your upper body strength will dramatically improve too – the bench press is not an easy exercise, especially when you are first getting started!

If you are a cyclist, the bench press is good for working the muscles in the triceps and shoulders, and these are essential for proper bike handling.

To perform a bench press, start off by lying flat on your back on a weightlifting bench with your feet flat on the ground either side of the bench. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Then lift the barbell up so that it rests just above your shoulders. Slowly lower the bar down towards your chest until it touches your sternum or breastbone. Hold the bar there for at least one second then slowly push it away from you. Repeat this process several times.

You’ll notice that the bench press isn’t quite as simple as it may initially seem. The weight can be quite a lot to handle at first – you may even find that the barbell alone without any plates is too heavy for you. However, once you’ve got used to performing it, it won’t seem nearly as difficult.

Military Press

The military press is an exercise that you should be trying if you are a cyclist. It works your biceps, forearms, and triceps. It’s also a great exercise for improving your core strength.

Get in front of the squat rack for this exercise, since this makes it easier for lifting the bar. Make sure that the bar is positioned at around the height of your chest, and then grab the bar.

your hands should be a little more than shoulder width apart and your palms should face forward, as they typically would with a normal overhead press.

Then get close to the bar, bending your knees a little in a quarter squat. Brace the core and your flutes, then drive the bar up using your legs. Keep your feet together, and when the bar is level with the chin, point the elbows forward.

Press up and lower down in this stance. Take a deep breath before driving and extend your arms all the way up, then lower it to the chin level. Done!

There are many benefits to the military press. One of them is that it strengthens your entire arm, including your forearm and bicep muscles. It also improves your balance and coordination.

For cyclists, it’s handy since it works your whole upper body. This means not only will your legs be strong from the cycling you’ve been doing, but your upper body strength will be impeccable too since you’ve been working those muscles.

Barbell row

Finally we have the barbell row. This is another exercise that you need to try if you’re a cyclist. It works out your lats, which are important for keeping your bike upright. Plus it’s a good overall strengthening exercise.

Start by standing straight up with the barbell on the floor. Bend down to get the barbell off the floor, gripping it a little narrower than you would if you were doing a bench press.

Bend your knees and keep your back straight, as you slowly pull the bar up towards the bottom of your chest. Pull the elbows out up towards the ceiling, and then gradually lower the bar back to the floor. Repeat for as many repetitions as you wish to do.

Basic Weight Training Advice For Cyclists

Basic Weight Training Advice For Cyclists

Getting started with weight training can be overwhelming when you’re not used to it. So where do you start? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your weight and strength training journey!

Start small

If you’re just getting into weight training, you might want to start with some basic exercises like push-ups or crunches. These exercises are easy to do, and they give you a sense of what it feels like to work out. Once you feel comfortable with these movements, you can move on to other types of workouts.

If you start off with the more complicated exercises, you may find yourself getting dejected really quickly if you struggle to do them.

Start off with simple exercises and low amounts of weight, then slowly work your way up to more weight and more complexity. This will help you to avoid injury and to maintain your levels of motivation.

Low Volume, Low Weight, High Recovery

People often think that when it comes to working out, they need to spend countless hours in the gym. This is not actually the case.

You can spend a short amount of time in the gym, so long as what you are doing is effective that’s all that really matters. When you’re getting started, use a low volume of reps and a lower weight.

Don’t overdo it by pushing yourself to lift more weight or do more reps than your body is actually comfortable with.

When you are working out, it’s also important that you allow time to rest when you’re going from one set to another – 3 minutes at the absolute minimum. That recovery time will help you to get the most out of your workout session.

Have a plan for recovery

When you first start exercising, you’ll probably notice that you’re sore after every workout. That’s because you haven’t built up enough muscle mass yet. As you continue to build up your muscles, you’ll become stronger and therefore less likely to injure yourself.

With that in mind though, it doesn’t matter how experienced you are – giving yourself time for recovery is important. If you don’t allow for ample recovery time between workout sessions, the tears in your muscles won’t repair as well which will hinder muscle growth.

So make sure you take at least 24 hours between each session of weight lifting. These could be active recovery days too where you do gentle activities like walking so that you’re still moving plenty but you aren’t working yourself too hard.

You should also consider taking days off completely if you’re feeling particularly tired.

Set Seasonal Goals

As you go through different seasons of the year, there’s no reason why you can’t set goals for yourself. Maybe you’d like to lose some weight this summer, or maybe you’d like to gain some muscle mass before winter hits.

Whatever your goal is, setting one will help you stay motivated throughout the year.

It’s worth noting that your strength training should take place throughout the entire year, not just during the offseason. This is part of the reason why setting seasonal goals is such a good idea.

You can work harder on your strength training during the offseason, and have a reduced amount of strength based activity during the rest of the year in order to maintain your strength.

Strength Training and Cycling at the Same Time

Strength Training And Cycling At The Same Time

Now for the most important thing – making your strength training and cycling work together in tandem. If you don’t cycle a massive amount as it is then incorporating strength training into your routine may not be too difficult.

All you’d really need to do is do your strength training on those days when you are not actually using the bike. If you are cycling regularly though it’s a bit more challenging because it means that you’ll have to do two workouts a day, which can get pretty exhausting.

The main thing to remember is that any strength training needs to complement your cycling workouts – it should not take away from them. Your cycling should still be your priority.

The best thing to do is to do your strength training on the days when it isn’t going to massively impact the workout that you’re doing on the bike.

In most cases, it may be much easier to do your cycling training first, then doing the strength training afterwards. You should do the opposite if you have never done strength training before because it means that you are less likely to make mistakes thanks to fatigue.

Ultimately you should be doing what’s best for you, but remember to have a good balance between the two kinds of activities in order to maximize your efforts.

Conclusion

Cyclist

Balancing strength training and your cycling isn’t always easy, but often it’s a matter of finding the right balance between them both.

If you are combining cycling and strength training, you will find in no time that your overall fitness is much better than ever before. As such, your cycling will be better too!

Resources:

Best Gym Exercises for Cyclists

Last Updated on July 18, 2022 by Matthew Carpenter

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