List Of Cycling Exercises
Cycling is one of the most strenuous but rewarding forms of exercise one can do to improve their cardiovascular health. It's also a sport that only gets easier if you do exercises off the bike to improve your skills. Here's a list of exercises that are common among cyclists.
Making stretching a habit before and after cycling is the best way to ensure you have maximum flexibility and are preventing injuries to the best of your ability. Here are some key stretches you can do either before or after a workout:
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Piriformis Stretch
- Downward Dog
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Your hamstrings are going to get a lot of work if you take up intense cycling. That is why it's important to do exercises that adequately stretch out the muscle. To do a standing hamstring stretch, find an elevated surface that is either at or slightly below waist level. Put one leg on there fully extended and with your heel down. Lean your body forward toward the elevated surface to start feeling that hamstring stretch. Hold until you do the other leg.
Don't let the fancy name prevent you from doing this very important stretch. The piriformis is a muscle in your hip near your glutes, and it's important to work it to take pressure off your sciatic nerve. To do this stretch, find an elevated surface, like a long box or step, and place a leg on top with you lying across it and your otheleg slid back. Gently lean forward until you feel that tension and rise up.
The downward dog is an important exercise for stretching out your overworked lower back and core muscles. When cycling, these muscles are highly important, which makes taking care of them even more essential. To do the downward dog, start on your hands and knees and straighten your legs to raise your hips. While keeping your hands on the ground, contract your quads and push your hips back until your heels almost touch the ground. Straighten out to finish the stretch.
Upper Body Exercises
Cycling mostly involves your lower body and core, but having a strong upper body can help you maintain the necessary balance to stay upright on your bike. It's not the most important thing, but it's still necessary. In order to do just that, here are some upper body exercises that should help:
- Tricep Dips
- Diamond Push-ups
The push-up is a solid upper body exercise that is highly recommended for improving your general health. It works a plethora of muscles in your upper body, including pectoral muscles, triceps, and abdominal muscles. To do a push-up, lay down facing forward and put your hands on the ground, extending your arms to raise yourself up. Lower yourself down until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle, and then rise up. Repeat until you're done.
As long as you have a bench, a chair, or some type of elevated surface, you can do a tricep dip. It's a simple exercise that's great for targeting your tricep muscles. To do a dip, put your hands behind you but facing forward on the elevated surface and extend your legs forward. Lower your body using your arms until they're bent at a 90-degree angle. Rise back up to finish one repetition.
This is a more advanced version of the regular push-up and is more difficult, but it focuses even more on your arm muscles like the biceps and the triceps. In order to do a diamond push-up, get in a push-up position, but then put your hands together so they form a diamond shape. Then, do the usual push-up motion to complete one rep.
Lower Body Exercises
This is arguably the part of your body that you should be focusing on the most if you want to improve as a cyclist. The stronger your legs are, the more you'll be able to accomplish when on the bike, whether that's going for longer rides, generating more power on climbs, or another goal entirely. Here are some exercises designed to help build that strength:
- Single-leg Hip Bridge
- Press-up Hold-to-knee raise
Lunges are one of the leg exercises that are essential to include in any lower body workout. It's an exercise that targets multiple leg muscles, including your quadriceps, hips, and hamstrings. To do this exercise, start standing straight up and take one long step forward while keeping your other foot planted. Step down and bend both knees down to 90-degree angles. Rise up when done.
Single-leg Hip Bridge
Your glutes are vital to the success of your cycling workout, so doing exercises that help activate your glutes is useful for ensuring you have the best workout possible. To do a single-leg hip bridge, lie on the floor with your legs bent so your heels are planted on the floor. Lift one leg in the air and then with your other leg lift your hips using the glutes from your other leg. Be sure to switch legs to work both sides.
This is another great exercise for doing all-around work in your legs. By working your quads, hamstrings, hips, and knees via squats you can improve flexibility and movement. In order to do a squat, stand shoulder-width apart and start lowering your body like you're sitting. Go down as far as possible and rise up.
Press-up Hold-to-knee raise
The press-up hold-to-knee raise is a workout that also works your glutes, which should help cyclists who are focused on climbing. To do this exercise, start in the press-up position, which is the same as the push-up position. Pull one knee forward to the elbow on the same side and then straighten your leg. Alternate between legs to activate both glutes.
While the lower body is arguably the most important part of your body to work, it's almost equally as important to work your core, especially since that's what connects your upper and lower body. The stronger your core is for cycling, the better your results will be. In order to get better at cycling, these core exercises are key:
- Adapted Side Plank
Planks are one of the most highly recommended core exercises for cyclists. For cycling, it'll help produce more power from your core and keep you stable on the bike. In order to do this, lie forward with your elbows and forearms on the ground facing forward and your legs extended. Lift your hips up until your body is straight and parallel with the ground. Hold that position until you're finished.
It's not the most fun exercise, but it's also one of the best all-around movements one can do. It doesn't just work your core; it works your lower body and upper body equally while elevating your heart rate. Start with your arms at your sides and squat down, putting your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart. Extend your legs back and drop your hips and chest to the floor. Pull your legs back to your starting position to finish the rep.
Adapted Side Plank
A lot of core exercises focus mostly on the abs, and while that is an important part of your core, it's important to work other muscles like your obliques to improve your cycling skills. The adapted side plank can do just that. To do this exercise, find a surface like a couch or box that you can put your elbow on in it and face your body towards the side. Lift your hips towards the sky so that your knee is the only thing touching the ground. Hold that position until done.