CYCLING FITNESS WITH ADAM COPLEY: OFF-BIKE EXERCISES
Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING blog. Over the coming weeks I will be introducing you to the world of cycling specific fitness. Highlighting the importance of training on and off the bike. As well as covering mindset, nutrition and all things cycling.
As a keen cyclist and mountain biker. It is my passion to see cycling become as inclusive as possible. welcoming people into the world I love and also doing my bit to help these people be the best version of themselves.
Whether you ride for fun, fitness or to compete, I hope this blog will provide you with some interesting reading.
This week I want to expand on what we talked about last week, going on the theme of improving your riding with gym based and none gym based exercise. This week we are talking about the main cycling muscle group, the lower body. Let’s get into it:
Without sounding too obvious, the legs are your primary propellent in cycling. They power you on the flat, you have to dig in deep and get the max out of them on the climbs and provide you with rapid boosts of pace on the sprints. All of this comes from the power you can generate from your legs.
Working on your legs outside of cycling can have massive benefits to your riding. Building your endurance, and power ultimately making you a more rounded athlete. So, with the obvious being mentioned. What gym based and none gym based exercises can you do to improve your performance on the bike?
The gym is full of equipment, and you can be forgiven for looking around and thinking “where do I even start”?
My favourite exercise for cyclists in the gym is the box squat, mainly for the fact that this is a valid exercise for anyone, no matter how long they have trained for. It is great for increasing a beginner’s confidence in the squatting movement. And it is great for pushing high level trainers through their paces at the same time.
The box squat is also a much more leg focused exercise than the regular squat. It is also easy to match the depth of the exercise, so the clients’ legs match the angle of the thigh at the top of the pedal stroke. Making it a very specific exercise for cyclists.
Working on your legs in the gym will make you a more powerful and strong rider, ultimately increasing the average watts you can put out on the bike. Which will increase your average pace.
Strengthening up your body with squats will also develop lower back strength and can reduce the risk of discomfort and pain when riding and, if you want these benefits. The box squat is a great place to start.
But what about at home?
When looking at how to improve cycling at home a number of exercises popped into my mind. You could squat, or work your core but for me the most stand out area to work at home is the glutes (the bum). Due to the nature of modern life, people sitting down a lot at work, sitting down on their bike and while they drive it is quite common for the glutes to switch off and become inactive. This will reduce the amount of power you can put through the pedals and can also be the reasons you don’t feel so comfortable on the bike too.
One of my favourite exercises you can do at home for this is the side hip abductor (pictured below). This is when you lay on your side, legs straight. And raise one leg up like a scissor (pictured). This is a great activation exercise, and you will actually find a lot of riders do this as part of their warmup routine before they go on a ride. Keeping the glute’s active is key in cycling and this exercise is a really easy, and simple way to do that.
When it comes to training your lower body, there are literally hundreds of ways you can do this. And picking two of the best ways to go about it was no easy feat. But I hope you like the exercises in this blog and if you feel like I missed one, let me know via my social media links!