Why Every Cyclist Needs Off-Bike Workouts
For all the Cyclists out there, we get it! The thrill of the wind against your face, the rhythmic pedaling, and the open road. But here’s a little secret: complementing your rides with off-bike exercises can be a game-changer.
The Repetition Dilemma
Cycling, while exhilarating, is a repetitive motion, primarily in a forward direction. As Paul Warloski, a seasoned cycling coach from Milwaukee, points out, this means many muscles are left out of the party. And that hunched position? It can lead to tight hip flexors and potential back pain if your core isn’t up to the task. Bekah Rottenberg, an Oregon-based fitness guru, echoes this sentiment.
The Mountain Biking Challenge
Mountain biking, with its prolonged standing, presents its own set of challenges. Distributing weight unevenly on your feet can lead to muscle imbalances, increasing injury risk. But don’t fret! The solution is simpler than you think.
Strength and Mobility: The Dynamic Duo
By blending strength training with mobility exercises, you can enhance your cycling prowess, reduce injury risks, and feel rejuvenated. Warloski emphasizes the benefits of strength training, especially for bone health, given that cyclists often face bone-related challenges.
Rottenberg chimes in, “Almost every cyclist could benefit from a bit more weightlifting.” And let’s not forget mobility exercises to counteract the stiffness from prolonged cycling.
Top Exercises Every Cyclist Should Try
Ready to diversify your fitness routine? Here are some underrated exercises to consider:
1. Hip Bridge with Alternating Dumbbell Press
This exercise counters the prolonged hip flexion from cycling, alleviating issues like sciatica. It also challenges the core, mimicking the action of pulling on the handlebars.
2. Clamshell Raise
A variant of the side plank, this move targets your core and the often-neglected gluteus minimus and medius, enhancing overall strength and reducing injury risk.
3. Hip CAR
Got tight hips? The Hip CAR (Controlled Articulated Rotation) is your go-to move, helping counteract the tightness from long rides.
4. Single-Leg Deadlift
This exercise promotes hip extension, providing a counterbalance to the hip flexion from cycling. It also strengthens the glutes and legs, enhancing cycling efficiency.
5. Quadruped Hip Adductor Rock
This mobility drill stretches your adductors, countering the effects of a locked cycling position.
6. Bulgarian Split Squat
This squat variation strengthens your lower half, enhancing power generation and alignment during cycling.
7. Side Plank
Strengthen your obliques with this classic move, enhancing overall core stability and preventing side-to-side shifts during cycling.
8. Single-Leg Hip Thrust
Activate and strengthen your glutes with this exercise, tapping into your “second tank” of power.
9. Turkish Get-Up
This full-body exercise enhances coordination, mobility, core strength, and shoulder stability, preparing you for unexpected challenges on the road.
10. Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
Boost your leg power and core strength with this dynamic move, perfect for sprint training.
While cycling is a passion for many, integrating off-bike exercises can elevate your performance, safeguard your health, and enrich your overall fitness journey. So, the next time you think of skipping that gym session, remember the benefits waiting for you off the saddle!