The main goals of any strength and conditioning programme for cyclists should be to improve performance and prevent injury. For this you need to establish good form, increase power and develop endurance. These three but simple exercises are a good place to start.
Thread the needle
As cyclists we spend a lot of time in flexion, hunched over our bike for hours on end. This can cause problems with and stiffness in the thoracic spine and shoulders. Threading the needle is a great flexibility exercise to undo this flexed cycling posture and opens up the chest for more efficient breathing.
In four point kneeling reach one hand through between the other hand and knee. Place the elbow on the floor and push on the elbow to create the stretch, release and reach the same hand up to the ceiling to stretch the front of the body
We’ve talked about the importance of core before, it is key to developing endurance and avoiding injury with many long hours in the saddle. The side plank develops lateral core strength for general robustness.
Lie on your side supported on a single bent arm with slightly bent legs. Activate your core by drawing in your stomach and lift your hips so that your body is straight and your weight is taken by one arm and lower leg. Hold your arm straight up and hold this position without dropping your hips or twisting. The side plank can be progressed by straightening the body into the full side plank and adding a rotation with the wrapping and unwrapping the upper arm around the body with or without a weight such as a water bottle.
Bridging is a great exercise with two purposes. It opens up hip flexors which are often restricted in cyclists from may hours in a flexed position, and also teaches you to recruit the gluteal muscle group, specifically gluteus maximus, which are key to powerful pedalling.
Lie on your back with bent legs and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Drive up your hips, tucking your pelvis and aiming to lift your spine off the floor one vertebra at a time. Reverse the lift keeping your glutes engaged but don’t allow your bottom to touch down before driving back up again.
The BikeFit exercise programme has been developed specifically for the dedicated cyclist to build specific strength and endurance for improving cycling performance while at the same time reducing the risk of common cycling related injuries by addressing the physical issues that are caused by spending many hours in the saddle.
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