Spending long days in the saddle is the most obvious way to increase your endurance, but Tour riders also take to the weight room to help boost their fitness. Being strong, believe it or not, will help you through lengthy cycling events.
Here is a list of strength exercises Tour riders integrate into their training plan to increase their endurance.
Barbell Squats1 of 8
Done correctly, there isn't a better exercise. Place the barbell on your upper back and take a few steps away from the rack. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with toes pointed out 30 degrees. Push your butt back and down while keeping your knees over your toes. Squat down so your hip crease is just below your knee. Next, drive your hips up toward the ceiling. Remember to keep your head down, with eyes looking at the floor in front of you.
5 to 8 reps, 3 to 4 sets
Step-Ups2 of 8
Face a bench or box holding a pair of dumbbells. Put your right foot on top of the bench and put all of your weight on that foot to stand up. Stand tall on the bench with both feet and then lower yourself back to the floor with your right foot. Repeat on your right side before switching to your left side.
5 to 8 reps per leg, 3 sets
Side Lunges3 of 8
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and lunge to your right, keeping your chest up and your arms to your side (Note: Before you lunge, make sure that your torso is engaged.). As you enter the lunge, make sure your knee and foot are facing the same direction. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg.
12 to 16 reps total, 3 to 4 sets
Renegade Rows4 of 8
Place a pair of dumbbells shoulder-width apart on the floor, and get into a pushup position. With your torso rigid, lift your right arm in a rowing motion. Return to the starting position and repeat on your left side.
8 to 16 reps total, 3 to 4 sets
Ab Wheel5 of 8
Kneel down and grab the handles on your wheel. Roll forward as far as you can go while maintaining a tight torso. Return to the starting position and repeat.
5 to 10 reps, 3 to 4 sets
Back Extensions6 of 8
Lie prone (facedown) with your toes on the floor or against a wall to help with stability. Place your hands behind your head and raise your chest up by hyperextending your spine. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
8 to 12 reps, 3 to 4 sets
Chin-Ups7 of 8
This simple yet effective exercise should be a staple in your program. Grab the chin-up bar with palms facing you and pull yourself up so your chin clears the bar. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Make sure your reps are in the full range of motion—all the way up, all the way down.
3 to 10 reps, 3 to 4 sets