Here's the goods, no fluff, no sales pitch. Just straight actionable performance-boosting exercises you can add to your routine in 2020. Brought to you by Max Stedman
The absolute classic, used to increase leg, glutes, and core muscle strength, super effective, easy exercise. Regular squat training has been found to have increased cycling economy and maximal aerobic power without an increase in Vo2 max! So, with these, you get more power and don’t even have to breathe harder. Start with no weights, put shoulders on the bar, slightly shrug then to stop the bar resting on your bones. Perform 2-3 sets of 8 – 10 reps. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, squat by lowering the body, pushing knees out and moving hips back. You want to concentrate on explosivity.
2. Plank & Side Plank
Simple and effective, as the old saying goes, you can’t fire a cannon off a canoe. So, you need both strong legs and a strong core as a cyclist. Working the upper body and core stability. Keep back flat when front planking. Perform 1-minute front plank, 1 minute left side, 1-minute front then another minute on the right side.
3. Dorsal raises
They look funny, but they work. There is no point in having a strong core without a strong back to support it, a lot of people make the mistake of concentrating on the abdominals, and you can end up causing damage to your lower back and spine if you only concentrate on the anterior of your body. Do 3 sets, 15 reps in each, hold head your up for 3 to 5 seconds before lowering.
When doing these, and the pain starts to come in, think about the last 20 seconds of a climb or event when you’ll be able to drag yourself out the saddle and accelerate away to the finish due to your improved upper body strength endurance! These are a full-body workout that target similar muscles to the plank, with the addition of the upper back and arms. To add a level of difficulty, add a push up between reps. Perform 15-30 reps per set, 3 to 5 sets.
5. Leg Lifts
Strength endurance of the abdominals and more importantly the hip flexors. Hip flexors are one the key muscles in the cycling pedal movement, constantly moving, never resting, they never fully extend or contract, but they need strong fatigue resistance. If yours are weak, it won’t be long till you find out about it. A simple variation includes placing hands overhead to target the upper abdominals. Perform 8-15 reps per set with a goal of 3-5 sets.
6. BOSU Ball Squats
Something recommended to me by sports therapist and ex domestic pro cyclist, Simon Gaywood, is stability exercises. Your vastus medialas, sartorius, gracilis and the other muscles that make up the inner thigh, all help stabilise your quadriceps through the pedaling motion, especially during maximal seated efforts. As these get tighter your legs almost feel blocked and horrendously tight. So, you got to train them up, and increase their fatigue resistance.
This is where your BASU ball squats come in, stand on the ball, in the middle, with your feet about a foot apart, and squat as you would, with arms in front of you, this is all about being smooth and slow. Start adding weights to increase difficulty when this becomes too easy. Aim for 8 to 10 squats, and 3 to 4 sets.