Five exercises to help you cycle stronger

This off-the-bike workout from endurance coach Steve Whittle will help to boost your performance in the saddle.

1. Bulgarian split squat

Why? It’ll help to strengthen and stabilise your glutes and hamstrings, which are crucial muscles for cycling.
How? Standing tall, place one foot on a step behind you, then bend your front leg to lower your body, keeping your chest up and front knee over your toes. Drive back up through your front foot to return to the start.
How much? Perform five sets of 15-20 reps on each leg.

2. Bird dog

Why? It’ll build a strong core, which will help to improve your posture on the bike and increase pedal efficiency and power transfer.
How? Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees with your face down and hands directly beneath you shoulders with arms extended. Straighten and lift your left leg and right arm simultaneously, then lower under control and repeat with the opposite limbs.
How much? Perform five sets of 10-15 reps on each side.

3. Lunge with arm raises

Why? Spending hours on a bike often leads to a tight chest, back and shoulders. This dynamic stretch will help to lengthen and loosen them.
How? Standing tall with your core braced and your arms by your sides, take a big step forward and lunge down until both knees are bent at 90°, while simultaneously bringing your arms forward and upwards directly above your head. Push off from your front foot to return to the start position while lowering your hands, then repeat on the other leg.
How much? Perform five sets of 15-20 reps on each leg.

4. Walking plank

Why? It’ll help to strengthen your core and shoulders
How? From the top of a press-up position, lower into a plank position one arm at a time, keeping your body straight, then reverse the move to the start to complete one rep.
How much? Perform three sets of ten reps.

5. Door frame stretch

Why? It’s another great posture-corrector to help counteract all the time you spend hunched over a pair of handlebars.
How? Gripping either side of a door frame, carefully lower and lean your upper body forward till you feel a stretch in your pecs.
How much? Hold the stretch for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds and repeat.

Steve Whittle   is an endurance and nutrition coach with over a decade’s experience. For more information, contact him on Twitter @coach_whittle  

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