To make things easier this off-season, you should consider putting together a gym at home. A home gym means you can avoid the cold on your daily rides and build the muscle you need to tackle your spring century ride with confidence.
Fortunately, when it comes to home gyms for cyclists, minimalism is king. Sure, there's an investment up front but, if you smartly avoid infomercial machines that cost monthly installments of $29.95, in the long run, you will save money. Below, we've listed five pieces of equipment that should improve any cyclist's fitness. Buy the trainer and two of the following four items for a great off-season cycling gym.
Bike Trainer1 of 6
Whether it's rain, snow, fog or otherwise, you can't always cycle outside. Unfortunately, there's no substitute for cycling; a cyclist must hop in the saddle to stay in peak form. For this reason, every cycling enthusiast should own a bike trainer, and bike trainers are the least expensive option to simulate cycling indoors. There are three ways trainers give a cyclist resistance — wind, magnetic and fluid — all of which provide a great workout for cyclists while avoiding the frigid weather.
Pull-up Bar2 of 6
If you like to keep it simple and you have a smaller budget, the pull-up bar is all you need. Body weight exercises offer a chance to do your workouts anywhere and whenever you want. Chin-ups, pull-ups and hanging leg and knee raises are great upper body and core workouts. Add in squats, lunges, pushups, planks and at least a dozen other quality body weight exercises, and you have a great way to cross-train and improve your performance.
TRX Suspension Trainer3 of 6
A favorite among the endurance community, the TRX uses your body weight, gravity and changing angles to increase or decrease the difficulty of an exercise. Interested in improving the strength of your abs this off-season? The TRX offers a variety of ways to crush your core, which will take pressure off your legs for your next long ride. The TRX is affordable and easily stored. However, this equipment does require an anchor point for use. If you aren't looking to do 300 lb. squats, the TRX is a must have.
Dumbbells4 of 6
Dumbbells are versatile and allow cyclists to build some real strength this off-season. Four to five pairs of dumbbells in five- to 10-pound increments will cover everything you need. Squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses and renegade rows barely scratch the surface of the exercises you can do. You can also add explosive exercises like the single arm snatch, clean, and clean and jerk. Dumbbell training can be fun, and you can perform most exercises without someone spotting you.
Kettlebells5 of 6
Similar to body weight exercises, TRX and dumbbells, kettlebells offer a variety of exercises. If you're looking to build your conditioning this off-season, look no further than kettlebell training. The ballistic exercises use the entire body, which will scorch calories and improve your core. Cyclists, be forewarned, kettlebell workouts can be brutal, so make sure you are up to the task. Having four to five kettlebells is a great starting point, and you don't need much room either. And, word to the wise, make sure you buy plenty of chalk—your hands will need it.