Five gym exercises for cyclists
Aren’t we all looking to be faster on our local climb, hold on to that fast group just a little bit longer, or drop our cycling mates? Riding as much as possible will always be the best way to boost your performance. However, cyclists are increasingly heading to the gym to get stronger.
Cycling is one of those sports that can very much affect the tightness of muscles, as the movements are very static and cyclical. Spending time on our core stability and mobility is therefore a time investment that can be worth it. Together with Gym North3, an ideal location for cyclists to do performance-enhancing exercises in the city centre of Girona, we explore five gym exercises that will make us stronger and more efficient on the bike.
Do a warm-up, take that kettlebell out of the cupboard and launch your gym time with some kettlebell swings. Alex Salas from Gym North3 explains that the swings are full-body training that can improve endurance and pedal strokes.
Salas: “Take a kettlebell of a weight that works for you, and keep it in your hands firmly. Swing the kettlebell up towards your chest and let it swing back between your legs. Depending on your strength, do multiple sets of ten to fifteen repetitions. This exercise is great for your core and your hamstrings.”
Keep that kettlebell with you for a while, as it will be your best friend during the squats as well. This exercise, which is arguably most common among cyclists, is harder and therefore more effective with a kettlebell of a reasonable weight.
“At Gym North3 there are many weight options”, Salas says. “While you have the kettlebell in your hands, it is important to keep your back straight. Squat up quickly, while you take your time to go through your knees again, bending them ninety degrees. One can repeat these movements fifteen times and do five sets of them. This exercise is great for your upper legs, lower back, core and glutes.
Consider changing your kettlebell to two dumbbells when you switch to lunges. Keep your arms straight to your body, keep your back straight and make a big step to the front while bending through your knees.
“This exercise is somewhat similar to the squat, but involves more so-called unilateral work”, Salas explains, “It is an effective exercise for cyclists. Consider doing five sets of ten repetitions with dumbbells of weights you can handle.”
“By doing deadlifts, another unilateral exercise, cyclists are slowly making the transition to weight lifters”, Salas jokes around. “Deadlifts are an ideal exercise to strengthen the muscles that support the key movements on the saddle.”
“Also with this exercise, it is important to straighten your back. Get into the correct position, as the instructors of the gym will explain to you when you try deadlifting for the first time. Then look forward, straighten your back and lift the barbell until it is on the same level as your thighs.”
Having good core stability is for every athlete in any kind of sport important, Salas says. “Even though a cyclist might not feel like he is demanding much from the muscles in its core, it is essential for injury prevention, keeping the right posture on the bike and pedalling efficiency.” Salas recommend combining core work with mobility exercises.
The Catalan gym instructor: “When we continuously train and use the same muscles, as we tend to while biking, we will eventually reach a level where our bodies cannot adapt anymore. Or, even worse, lead to overuse injury. With mobility exercises, we train the muscles we use on the bike in different positions. The flexibility will help us perform.”