What is the Cuban Missile's secret weapon for increasing power and sprinting speed? Functional dynamic training focused on core strength and awareness.
In the offseason, Ivan Dominguez trains in the gym for one to 1.5 hours two days per week. Typically, he warms up with a ride to the gym. His workout includes exercises to improve overall strength, multi-directional strength, core strength, fast twitch and general cross training. These exercises improve bone density, which is generally low in cyclists, and provide bilateral evenness with single leg exercises.
The focus is to build strength, not mass. His exercises are continually changed to minimize accommodation. Proprioceptive (unconscious position sense) challenge is added whenever possible. He usually does 10 to 15 repetitions for each exercise.
A Sample Strengthening Program
Definition: The warm-up is a 15- to 20-minute spin on the road bike. A warm-up can be any low-impact, slow-speed and repetitive exercise with the arms or legs.
Time/Sets: 15 to 30 minutes before every exercise session.
Purpose: Slowly elevate the pulse and increase body temperature to prepare the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems for heavier load.
The importance of core strength cannot be overstated. The "core" includes all of the front and side abdominal muscles as well as the small stabilizing muscles of the hip/pelvis, spine and ribs. A strong and stable core is the foundation for power in the arms and legs.
A) Exercise: Swiss Ball Pikes and Knee Tucks. Prone (face down), one and two legged
Description: Dominguez's trainers put him in push-up position on the floor with his toes up on a Swiss Ball. He then pulls his knees towards his chest with bent knees (knee tucks), or the ball toward his chest with locked knees (pikes). For a modification, he pulls his knees to his chest and makes circles with his feet and knees on the ball. For superhero difficulty, all the above can be executed with one leg.
Caution: Pikes move you into a weight-bearing position on your hands and require very good balance.
Time/Sets: 2 sets of 10 to 12 each.
Purpose: Core muscle strength, including abdominals, obliques, transversalis and hip flexors.
A) Swiss Ball Pikes and Knee Tucks
B) Exercise: Lunges with Rotation Holding a Medicine Ball
Description: Dominguez holds an eight-pound medicine ball with straight arms at 90 degrees. He then coordinates each lunge with a 90-degree twist in the direction of the bent knee.
Time/Sets: 10 steps, 3 times
Purpose: Strengthening of the core muscles, quadriceps, gluteals, scapular stabilizers and shoulders. This exercise hits just about everything.
B) Lunges With Rotation Holding a Medicine Ball