Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the public are being encouraged to reduce the amount they use public transport and walk and cycle more instead. Most towns and cities have now increased the number of cycle lanes they have and made sure they are clearly marked. These measures have been put in place to help keep everyone safe and healthy and reduce their exposure to Coronavirus.
Some of us have switched up our home workout regime during lockdown and discovered our love of road cycling, whereas others have always been keen riders and enjoyed being out on the road even more.
For improved performance, health benefits and injury prevention, you should always include strength training off the bike as part of your cycling routine. Here, we detail 11 home exercises to do during lockdown that will help you become a faster cyclist.
Home Workout Exercises To Help You Cycle Faster
Lifting weights at home is a key part of your off-bike training regime. It will help you cycle faster and helps retain muscle volume as you age. This means you can continue to ride quickly throughout your life. Including strength exercises also helps protect against injury. Plus, it also only takes a few hours each week.
During the cycling off-season, try and lift weights two or three days each week and aim for strength gains. To retain the strength you’re building while riding in the spring and summer, lift once or twice per week during this time. Don’t worry about pushing the intensity too much.
For those of us that prefer to use weights and gym equipment, but aren’t quite ready to return or weren’t able to invest in workout gear during lockdown. Fear not – you can get creative and use everyday items such as laundry detergent bottles, food tins, cutlery tied together or socks filled with pebbles.
Take a look at our tips for getting the most out of your home weightlifting and off-bike exercise cycle routine.
Time it Right When Cycle Training
Make sure you only lift weights once you get yourself properly warmed up, but not tired. You should also include gentle stretching into this routine as well. Depending on the time of the year, your cycling warm-up rides should last about 20 minutes in winter and 10 to 15 minutes in spring and summer for the whole routine.
Get a Leg up on Training on Cycle Training
During the spring and summer months, riding usually provides enough of a workout for your legs. If you want to push yourself harder, try squats on the bike, or using a slightly larger than normal gear on climbs or when cycling into the wind.
Be sure to warm up carefully before doing this and don’t try it if you have knee problems. In winter, simple exercises, such as lunges and step-ups can keep your quadriceps strong alongside running. All of these exercises will make you cycle faster in the long run.
Don’t Ignore Your Core When Cycle Training
Start with hold times of 30-60 seconds per round of core exercises and progress to 60-90 second hold times as you go through offseason cycle training.
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on floor. Lift hips up to ceiling whilst engaging your glutes. Return to the floor.
Start on both your hands and knees. Extend your right arm up in front of you at the same time as lifting the left leg out behind you. Return to floor and change to the other side.
Lie on your back with your hands directly above your chest and knees above your hips. Extend your right arm to perpendicular to the floor at the same time as extending the left leg (without touching to the floor). Pull both limbs back into centre of the body and switch to the other side.
Lying flat face down on the floor, with the elbows beneath the shoulders, lift your body weight up onto both your forearms and either knees or toes. Lifting one leg can add a degree of difficulty to each set and further target the lower back.
Renegade rows are great choice for cycle training. They can provide a full body workout that target similar muscles as the plank, with the addition of the upper back and arms. Rows will help build great endurance within your upper body when on your bike.
In a strong plank or half plank position with dumbbells or home workout alternative weights in each hand. Row right arm into the body, keeping the elbow close to the side of the body and maintaining square hips.
Return to floor and repeat on left side. To add a level of difficulty to your cycling workout regime, add a push up between reps.
Kettle Bell Swings
When speaking about power endurance, kettle bell swings are the first exercise that comes to mind. Proper technique is important, so start with a lighter weight and progress from there.
Keep your core strong, back straight and thrust from your hips and lower body, propelling your arms and weight to swing forward. Kettle bell swings will target some of the most common areas you use when you cycle, the quads, hamstrings and hips. Perform swings with an explosive movement and hold onto the kettle bell or your household alternative weight tightly!
Single Leg Deadlifts
These deadlifts target the hamstrings and hips. Incorporating single leg exercises into your regime helps correct muscle imbalances. This is because each leg is forced to support the load independently when on the cycle. Using either kettlebells, dumbbells or your household items in your right hand. With a straight or slightly flexed back, your left knee slightly bent and your core engaged, tilt forward from your pelvis, lifting the right leg behind the body until parallel with the floor. Return to start position and then repeat 10 times. Switch to the other leg and repeat exercises. Ensure each rep is performed with a slow, steady movement.
Squats should be a staple of your off-season cycle training regime. Front squats work the hips, quadriceps and hamstrings and are great for your maximum strength and muscle endurance phases. Hold barbells, kettle bells or any other weight loaded in front of the body. Squat down to a 90-degree angle on the knees, sitting the hips backwards and maintaining a strong core. Then drive back up to start position and repeat 10 – 15 reps.