To get faster on the bike, you need to increase the overall strength of your glutes, abductors, adductors and back extensors. Strengthening these muscles will also improve your balance and stability, which can help you with cornering, descending, or riding without hands in order to remove your cycling jacket.
Incorporate these five exercises into your weekly workout routine to build the strength you need to power through your cycling season.
Clamshells1 of 7
Strengthens: Abductors, gluteus medius
What it helps: Knee/pedal alignment; balance on the bike.
1. Lie on your side with your knees slightly bent. Keep your legs and ankles together. Rest your head on a pillow or an outstretched arm to maintain neutral alignment of the cervical spine.
2. Keep your feet together as your separate your knees slowly, opening your legs like a clam. You should feel the muscles on the side of the buttock.
3. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Flip over to the opposite side and repeat.
Tip: If you don't feel a burn on the side of your hip/buttock, change the position of your feet until you've targeted the area.
Side Step2 of 7
Strengthens: Abductors, adductors, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus
What it helps: Stability and balance on the bike; increasing strength for climbing and sprinting
1. Tie a resistance band just above each ankle. The band should be tied so that there is a small amount of resistance from the band as you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Bend your knees into a half squat position.
3. Maintaining this position, take a lateral step (sideways) with the left leg. Your lateral step should be a few inches wider than shoulder width. Your feet should return to shoulder width before taking the next step.
4. Walk 10 to 20 feet leading with the left leg. Without turning, return to the starting position, this time leading with the right leg.
5. Start with one set of 10 to 20 feet with each leg. Increase to 2 to 3 sets with each leg as your strength improves.
Single-Leg Bridge3 of 7
Strengthens: Hamstring, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius
What it helps: Improves overall power on the bike
1. Lie on your back with your hands by your sides.
2. Push the heel of each foot into the ground and raise your hips. Your hips should form a straight line with the knees and shoulders.
3. Slowly lift your left foot off the ground and extend your leg. Keep your hips raised and level while extending the left leg.
4. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds and return to the starting position by reversing the steps.
5. Complete 2 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions with each leg.
TRX Leg Curls4 of 7
Strengthens: Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, back extensors
What it helps: Power and endurance on climbs; fatigue on long rides
1. Lie on your back and place your heels into the TRX cradles under the anchor point.
2. Keep your arms flat on the floor and raise your hips.
3. Tighten your stomach and gluteal muscles as you pull your heels toward your butt.
4. Stop when your knees are bent to a 90-degree angle. Pause for 2 to 3 seconds, then return to the starting position.
5. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 5 to 12 repetitions.
Tip: If you don't have TRX cables, use a stability ball instead.
TRX Single-Leg Squats5 of 7
Strengthens: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus
What it helps: Improves single-leg speed and power on the bike; balances single-leg weakness in the pedal stroke
1. Grab both handles of the TRX and face the anchor point.
2. Retract your shoulders and tighten your core.
3. Place your left foot forward and keep your right foot slightly behind.
TRX Single-Leg Squats Continued6 of 7
4. Lower your hips towards the floor as you lower your body weight on your right leg. As you bend, your hip crease should go below your knees. As you go deeper into the squat and it becomes more difficult to control, use your arms for assistance if needed.
5. Return to starting position and repeat. After you complete 3 to 4 sets of 5 to 8 repetitions, switch positions and repeat with the left leg.