Too many cyclists with bulging quads still struggle with a squishy core, wobbly hips, or stiff shoulders. On the bright side, fixing those issues will make you a more efficient rider, says Darcy Norman, a trainer with Athlete's Performance in Phoenix. Stand in front of a mirror or grab an observant friend and take these tests—the same ones Norman gave every member of team HTC-Highroad last year. If you fall short on any of them, do the corrective moves on nonride days or as a warm-up on ride days. You'll come out pedaling stronger than ever.
Test Your: Hip and Quad Strength
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms in front of you. Lift your right foot a few inches and lower your body as far as you can into a squat by pushing your hips back and bending your left knee. Return to start. Switch legs.
Your hip should not push out to the side.
Your knee should not collapse inward.
Improve It: Place a 6-inch-high stack of books on a chair. Repeat the test, lowering only until your butt reaches the books. Return to start. Do 15 with each leg. Over time, remove each book until you can squat correctly all the way to the chair.
Test Your: Hip Mobility
Lie faceup on the floor and, one at a time, raise each leg toward the ceiling until it's perpendicular to the floor.
If neither leg rises more than 50 to 60 degrees, both hips are weak.
One leg goes higher? Then it's stronger and more mobile; you'll lack power on the opposite side.
Improve It: Lie on your back, arms out to the sides, and lift both legs perpendicular to the floor. Lower your left leg to the floor. (Prop your right leg on a stationary object, if needed.) Raise your left leg back to start. That's one rep. Do 10 on each side.