It is recommended for everyone to perform a certain type of strength training to foster their overall health and well-being, especially for athletes such as cyclists. This is because, with strength and resistance training, the dwindling of muscle mass, as well as the weakening of the bones, is delayed significantly. This article lists down some of the most useful expert strength training tips for cyclists.
Shoulders and Neck
As a cyclist, one of the primary things that you need to do is to strengthen your shoulders and neck. This is because your shoulders and neck may be working harder than you think when you ride your bike. To learn more about the strength training exercises that you can perform to toughen up your neck and shoulders, you can explore online sources. Otherwise, you can always consult with seasoned strength training coaches.
Some of the best exercises that you can perform to build the muscles in your shoulders and neck to foster your cycling activities include single-arm punches with rotation as well as incline push-ups. The former will entail the need for you to use a resistance band that is tied to a stable object while the latter requires suspension rings. Apart from doing these exercises to strengthen your shoulder and neck muscles, make sure that your bike properly fits you accordingly.
When you have a weak core, there is a great chance that you won’t be able to pedal properly or even maximize your power output. This is because your core is responsible for transferring and absorbing force from one of your limbs to another through different planes of motion. For this reason, you must build the strength of your hips, torso, and shoulders which all make up your core along with your abdominal.
To strengthen your core, one of the best exercises that you can do is the dynamic plank. In this case, you would need to adopt a plank position on a Swiss ball. From there, you have to lean on the ball with your forearms but at the same time, you have to ensure that your hips don’t hang down. Another exercise that you can do to strengthen your core muscles is the anti-rotation press. This will require you to use a cable machine or a resistance band affixed to a steady object.
Some cyclists never finish a ride without an aching back. More often than not, this is not a sign of aging but weak low back muscles. To toughen up your back muscles and combat the pain you experience when you ride, you can perform foam rolling which will tend to loosen your quadriceps and hip flexors. Otherwise, you can also try doing dead bugs that will not only strengthen your back but your core as well. Rest assured that with these exercises, you will be able to strengthen the weak areas in your back and lengthen the tight areas.
Arms, Wrists, and Hands
When it comes to your arms, wrists, and hands, you may face various problems as a cyclist. This can be attributed to the fact that when you ride your bike, there is a great chance for you to balance your weight or steer around corners, causing excessive stress on your arms. More often than not, extended periods on your bike can worsen this problem.
To ensure that your arms, wrists, and hands are strong enough to be able to withstand the pressure of riding a bike for a prolonged period, you have to toughen them up. In this case, one of the best exercises that you can do is the semi-plank which will encourage your core and shoulder blades to support your upper body. In effect, this will cut the loading on your hands when you ride.
Both your upper and lower legs need to be strengthened as these are crucial for cyclists. One of the most common problems that cyclists face in their upper legs is tight or painful hip flexors. This can be attributed to the fact that your hips are never fully flexed or extended so your hip flexors can pretty quickly tighten up when you ride your bike.
On the other hand, you may already have encountered cramps or lower leg pains. To address these issues, what you can do is to perform couch stretches for your upper leg, as well as soleus stretches for your lower legs. Otherwise, you can opt to do dumbbell split squats to strengthen your upper legs or gastrocnemius stretches for your lower legs.
Riding a bike involves extensive knee bending which is why it is common for the knees of a cyclist to ache. Apart from this, other reasons why your knees may feel pain include a bad bike fit, shoe changes, a slipped seat post, or even a sudden increase in training. In this case, what you can do is to strengthen your knees instead by performing single-leg glute bridges that target your gluteus max. This is a powerful cycling muscle that you need to develop as a cyclist.
As a cyclist, your feet are not immune to injury even if it is less stressed compared to runners. One of the most common problems that cyclists encounter when it comes to their feet is lateral foot pain or numbness. More often than not, this stems from ill-fitting shoes that you use when you are riding your bike. To help combat this, you have to make sure that your shoes properly fit. In addition to this, you should also exert the effort to perform short foot stretches as well as heel raises because this will help build your feet muscles.
When it comes to strength training tips, you need to focus on different aspects of your body such as your neck and shoulders, as well as your core, back, arms, wrists, and hand. You should also never forget training your legs, knees, and feet as a cyclist. All these are geared towards slowing down your body’s natural aging process that can weaken your bones and muscles, preventing you from riding your bike seamlessly and efficiently.