5 Best Strength and Conditioning Exercises for Cyclists

Meglio Exercises for Cyclists
Riding a bike is not just about turning the pedals. Your body and cycling will benefit from integrating strength and conditioning exercises that build your core strength, leg power, and help reduce the risk of injury.

These five exercises are simple strength-building drills taken from yoga and 'functional trunk strength' (a.k.a. core stability) workouts; they will help increase your comfort on long endurance rides, and also aid cycling performance improvements.

1. Squats

If you do one thing, SQUAT. Squatting is the most natural but most powerful weight training exercise that we can use for building cycling strength. The motion uses our powerful quadriceps, glutes, and lower back muscles in one fluid motion.

The key thing with squatting is to display good form. You do not want to be bent over like a hunchback.

A simple set of instructions for good squatting technique:
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, splayed at 30 degrees
  2. With your arms out in front of you for balance, lower by bending your knees so that your thighs are at least horizontal (parallel with the floor)
  3. Pause at the bottom then return to the start position (but without locking out your knees)
  4. Complete a set to exhaustion (until form begins to slip). Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat three times.
You can increase the difficulty of squatting by holding a weight in the goblet position in front of you or by using a Glute Resistance Band between your legs just above the knee.

Another great squatting technique is to squat against a wall, with a solid foam Massage DuoBall between your back and the wall. This ensures you keep a straight back throughout the motion (and you also get a free back massage!).

2. Press-Ups 

The press-up is another simple exercise that will do wonders for your back strength and leg power.

Start with your hands under your shoulders, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Have your elbows at 45 degrees and ensure you keep a straight and strong line from your shoulders to your heels. Do not arch your back or sag. Gradually lower your chest towards the floor until you reach a 90-degree arm bend. Pause, then return to the starting position (do not lock your arms). Complete a set to exhaustion (until form begins to slip). Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat three times.

You can make the press-up more difficult by elevating your feet—placing them on a box or exercise ball.

3. Side Plank

By doing the press-up and roll-out exercises you effectively train those muscles used in the traditional front plank; but you also need to consider the importance of the side trunk muscles.

Lying on your side, place one foot on top of the other and support your weight on the forearm and elbow of your lower side—ensure the elbow is directly under the shoulder. Hold a straight line from toes to shoulder and keep the stance until you begin to feel yourself sagging. If you struggle to hold the stance for more than 30 seconds, then switch to the other side for 30 seconds before switching back. A set should be a cumulative two minutes on each side. Completely rest for 60 seconds between sets, then repeat three times.

4. Windscreen Wipers 

This is one of my favourite core muscle conditioning exercise, as it really reminds you if you have been slacking off your routine. 

Lying on your back, elevate your legs with slightly bent knees and place your arms out to the sides for support. With your shoulders firmly planted on the ground, lower your knees under control towards the floor; pause just before they touch the floor, then return them to the start position before lowering to the opposite side. One repetition is a movement in both directions. Aim for 6-12 reps in a set, with three complete sets achieved. 

You can make this harder by straightening your legs. I also like to put a DuoBall or Massage Roller between my knees and ankles to add a little extra weight to the exercise.

5. Roll-Outs

Finally, the Roll-Out—a development of the front plank that is more dynamic and not as prone to poor technique as the traditional plank. 

In the press-up position (hands below shoulders, arms straight but not locked) place a large solid massage roller under your shins just below your knees. In one smooth motion move your knees up towards your chest, effectively curling into a tuck position; so that the roller rolls down your shins to your feet. Pause for a moment in the tuck position, then extend back out to the press-up position. Repeat until fatigued. Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat three sets.

The range of products from Meglio are a great choice for strength and conditioning exercises. I hope that the above five exercises help you to improve your core and leg strength for cycling and endurance sport. 


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