The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists

As cyclists, we all long for that extra strength to break from the pack or catch up with our opponents in a race. And while cycling is the best workout for improving our cycling fitness and helping us improve our skills, hitting the gym is the only way we can improve our strength. But deciding which are the best strength exercises for cyclists can be quite challenging. After all, there are numerous exercises and workouts that can help cyclists improve their strength.

Therefore, when picking the right strength workouts, you should start by examining which parts of the body need strengthening. When cycling, you use one leg at a time; therefore, you need repeated force production to pedal. You also need a strong core to handle the bike, especially when tackling tough terrains. Therefore, your workouts must address these needs. So here are some of the best strength workouts you can do at home or in the gym.

Top 5 Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists

1. Planks With Variation

Plank is a unique exercise that works your willpower, upper body, and core. The plank is a great workout for cyclists as it focuses on both sides of your body separately. Plus, it’s ideal for your hips as you have to keep both sides level, making sure that no side dips. And just like press-ups, the plank has numerous variations that you can try to make the workout as hard or as easy as possible. Therefore, Cycling Hacker recommends that you start with the basic one on the floor, and once you have mastered the technique, you can try other variations.

The exercise: start by lying down facing the floor with your palms facing downwards under the shoulders. Push your body up as if you are doing a push-up, and then hold the position while engaging the core, leg, back, and shoulder muscles. Try and hold that position for as long as possible and then repeat a few times. If a full plank is challenging to you, you can try resting on your elbows instead of extending your arms or putting your knees on the floor.

You can make it more challenging by introducing a gym ball. All you have to do is start with the plank position with the feet on the gym ball and then start pulling the ball towards you using the core muscles. Hold the ball in that position for a while before rolling it back to the starting position. 

2. Push-ups

Being able to easily handle your weight is crucial when it comes to cycling, as it will help you absorb the impacts while cycling downhill. And one of the best exercises that can help you handle your weight is push-ups. If you have trouble with push-ups, then you can start by putting your hands on a chair or steps. And then work your way to full push-ups, and the more consistent you are, the quicker you’ll perfect it. With time you can start incorporating balance or weights into your routine.

The exercise: move in the plank position and then engage your core and lower your body by bending your arms. Hold the position without allowing your body to touch the ground and then return to the starting point. But it’s crucial that you keep your core tight, your back in line with your head, and your entire body straight.

3. Squats

Squats are very important for cyclists. They works on every muscle in your legs, knees, and hips, helps with athletic movements, and increases flexibility. And if done correctly, this workout will help your muscles grow while giving you the needed strength.

The exercise: you can start with three sets of ten reps with about a 90-seconds rest between each set. To do the squats correctly, you should stand by placing your feet shoulder-width apart and lower the body to a sitting position by simply pushing your hips backward and bending the knees. Lower your body as far as you can, hold the position and then rise.

4. Lunges

Lunges are ideal for cyclists who want to increase their on-bicycle strength. This workout exercises each muscle on your lower body, particularly the hamstrings, quads, and hips. In fact, lunges are ideal for individuals who plan on working out at home. In the gym, you can mix it up with things like walking lunges and weighted lunges. But make sure you keep the core straight with the head straight and lead with your chest while ensuring that the knees never go beyond your toes.

The exercise: you can start with three sets of ten reps with about 45 seconds of rest between the sets. Start by stepping forward from a standing position with your right leg. And then bend your left one until its knee is almost touching the ground. Finally, you can push yourself up using the right foot and repeat this procedure with your left foot.

5. Deadlifts

The deadlift is a unique exercise that activates your core, back, and leg muscles. Deadlift is a simple routine that will help increase your power and overall muscle strength while supporting the critical movements necessary to make you a fast and efficient cyclist. The deadlift is an ultimate compound movement that is considered one of the best strength exercises for cyclists.

The exercise: you can start with 4 sets of 8 reps with about a minute rest. Stand in front of the barbell and then squat and grip the barbell. Make sure your forearms can easily brush the outer part of your thighs. And then push your shoulders back and lift the weights until the barbell levels with your thighs. Hold the position for a while and lower the weight before repeating the same procedure.

Final Thoughts for Cyclist

Cycling is a fun activity with numerous health and mental benefits. And when done correctly, cycling can do more than help you stay fit. Cycling can help you lower your stress level. And the only way you can tackle long and tough terrains is by improving your strength with the above simple workouts. But make sure you don’t hit the gym immediately after you have finished cycling. You should allow yourself at least 6 hours between cycling and strength workouts.  

Use Jefit to Track Your Strength Workouts for Cycling

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. In addition, the app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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More Push-Ups Means Less Likely to Get Heart Disease

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Did you know there is a direct relationship between push-ups and heart disease? As it turns out, the maximum number of push-ups you can do, in one attempt, can predict illness in men.

Many athletes and gym-goers alike are interested in how much weight they can lift. Especially, when it comes to exercises like deadlifts, bench press, squat and various Olympic lifts. You hear numbers like “1-RM” often used. This refers to one-repetition maximum or the most weight an individual can lift for one repetition.

There is a research study re-circulating on the Internet regarding the number of push-ups men can do and the impact it has on their health. The study reports that if someone can pump out 40 push-ups, in one attempt, they are less likely to develop heart disease. WOW!

A study was conducted by a group of researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The study tested and followed over 1,100 active male firefighters for a 10-year period. The average age of the men was 40 years old. The results found that men who could perform 40 push-ups were 96 percent less likely to develop heart disease a decade later compared to men who could do only 10 push-ups

JAMA Network Open, 2019

The Benefits of Push-Ups

Building up your capacity to perform more push-ups is beneficial to both a novice or an experienced gym-goer. The push-up exercise is a great compound movement that targets the chest, shoulders and arms. It can be used as part of a dynamic warm-up, used in a circuit, placed in a Tabata workout or added while traveling to maintain strength. Push-ups are also great for building strength or endurance depending on the experience of the person; this will depend on the speed or volume (sets x repetitions) of work performed.

Now that you know there are associated health benefits with doing more push-ups, you’re hopefully motivated to do more or get back into doing them. The number of push-ups is also an excellent indicator of your upper body fitness level.

Push-Up Test

First, test yourself to see how many push-ups you can perform in one-minute. You have basically two options, perform as many as you can and record the number. Option two, do a specific number of repetitions, recover, and continue until your minute is up. Note how well you did using the following guidelines. The key is to perform each repetition in a controlled manner, lowering your body until your chest is a few inches from the floor or the arms are bent at 90-degrees. Here are a few guidelines to see how you initially rate. Don’t worry if you do not score high first time out of the gates. Be more focused on your score following four-weeks when you’ll test yourself again using the scoring format below.

Below Average: less than 15 push-ups

Average: 20 push-ups

Good: 30 to 35 push-ups

Excellent: 40 to 50+ push-ups

4-Week Push-Up Plan

If you are looking to improve upon the number of push-ups you can do, try this 4-week plan.

Week 1: Perform 8 sets of 8 repetitions of pushups. Use strict form. Rest two to three minutes between sets. Perform 2-3 workouts during the week.

Week 2: Complete 6 sets of 10 repetitions with 1-2 minute of rest between sets. Perform 2 workouts.

Week 3: Do 4 sets of 15 repetitions with 1 minute of rest between sets. Focus on performing slow eccentric contractions (lowering phase) with each repetition. Think about lowering your body using a 3 count and “explode” up on a 1 count. Perform 2-3 workouts.

Week 4: Complete 4 sets of 20 repetitions using two minutes of rest between sets.

Week 5: Test Yourself Again

New 4-Week Push-Up Challenge on the Jefit App

Check out this new program on the Jefit app that will help you increase the number of push-ups you can do in 4-week. Jefit is very interested in finding out who can improve the most in this area. We are not interested in the number you can do initially. We are, however, very interested in your improvement after trying our 4-week plan. Let us know how many more push-ups you can do four weeks from now! Try our Jefit 4-Week Push-Up Challenge program – it’s for all fitness levels.

Record and Track Your Push-Ups Using Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout plannerschedule, and exercise routines. It also comes with like-minded people who can help you decide what to eat before and after a workout, share training tips, advice, and wins. Use the Jefit app to get on track with your fitness goals, and join our members-only Facebook page here!

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