Cyclists rarely give their upper bodies much thought, but the stretched-out position of road riding places a unique stress on the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
By strengthening these areas, you'll become more resistant to fatigue. Try these recommended upper-body moves. Do two or three sets of 10 reps twice a week in the off-season, or once a week if you're putting in big miles on the bike. (Remember your core--strong abdominal and back muscles are also essential for fighting fatigue. Try these Power Moves for Your Core to boost total-body stamina.)
Standing Shoulder Press
Stand with your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand so that one end is touching the outside of each shoulder and your palms are facing forward. Inhale, then press the weights up as you exhale. Keep your chest high and eyes forward. Don't roll your head down or hunch your shoulders. Return to the starting position.
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Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, palms facing forward. Pull your body toward the bar until it touches your chest just below the collarbone. If it's been years since your last pull-up, don't be surprised if you can do only one (or none). If that's the case, use the standing lat pulldown machine, which will let you lift a lower percentage of your body weight. Gradually transition to pull-ups as you gain strength. (Remember to incorporate these Four Stretches for Cyclists to prevent injuries.)
Squat Row with Cables
Hold a cable handle in each hand and walk backward from the machine far enough that you can complete the movement without losing tension on the cables. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended at shoulder height, then lower your hips into a squat. Return to a standing position while pulling back on the cables until your wrists reach the sides of your chest. Extend your arms as you lower back into a squat.
See the complete upper-body workout routine for two more arm and shoulder moves.Search for a cycling event.