A Strength Workout for Cyclists Who Hate Strength Work

Peter Glassford
by Peter Glassford
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A Strength Workout for Cyclists Who Hate Strength Work

Post-ride strength training is useful for getting that pesky, but important, off-bike strength and mobility work in. If you are an athlete who skips strength training, frequently says you ‘should stretch’ or deals with lots of injuries, this post-ride core routine is the secret weapon you’re looking for.

The goal of this extra time is to expose your body to more variety than you get on the bike, work on any weak points you have (sore knees, back, psoas, IT-band etc.) and prepare your body for the loads and ranges of motion you will experience in a crash or when your kids jump on your back.


A yoga mat, carpet, workout flooring or grass are all good options for this workout. I suggest barefoot to get your feet out of those narrow shoes.


Start with 10 repetitions as a goal and adjust until you find challenge in each motion by adding/removing weight, changing position, increasing the range of motion or by adding reps to see progress each week.


Lay on your back, take a few breaths then put your feet flat on the ground, lift your hips up and keep your glutes tight. Focus on squeezing your glute muscles to open up the front of your hips and contract the hip muscles. Cyclists often complain of ‘tight glutes’ and I find this movement helps. Hold and squeeze at the top for 2 counts and then lower slowly.


Roll onto your chest and put your hands on the ground near your armpits, this position will challenge your arm to get behind your body, which is a range of motion cyclists don’t use very often. The pushup can be done anywhere and anytime so it is a great movement to practice often. If you think about cornering, sprinting or bunny-hopping, you can see where having a stable base to exert force is important. The pushup challenges you to work while holding your body stable in a plank, which recruits many muscles and requires focus to coordinate your breathing. Inhale as you lower, exhale as you push yourself up off the ground each time to ensure you are breathing.


Lay on your stomach, leave your hands narrow and think about pulling your bent elbows ‘into your back pockets.’ Cyclists will find benefit in curling their chest off the ground using their back muscles. This moves you out of your forward-flexed cycling position and into an active, extended position. This is like sphinx pose in yoga, done actively with no hands. For bonus points, pause at the top and hold for 10 seconds on your last rep.


Lay on your side with your forearm on the ground (ideally padded). Stack your feet on top of each other and lift your hips so you are straight from your nose to your toes. Now shift your top foot back so that behind your bottom foot and, keeping your body straight and both legs straight, lift your top leg up. You should feel this motion on the side of your hip/glute around your back pocket area. Placing your top hand on that area can help cue this small but challenging motion. Hold for 10–30 seconds. Repeat on another side.


You will need something to row, pull on or hang from. A band, pullup bar, dumbbell or kettlebell are standard, but use your imagination to get this done (bricks, inner tubes, water-cooler bottles etc.). Pulling is another great way to open up the front of your body and strengthen the back of your body. The pullup, like the pushup, requires tremendous full-body strength and coordination and should not be overlooked by cyclists simply because our legs move the pedals around.


Start in a split-stance position with one leg in front of the other hip-width apart, which requires balance to open your hips and strength to control the movement up and down. Make it harder by doing walking lunges across the yard, gym or living room.


This is a challenging move you should ease into because it pushes you into a different range of motion as you move from side to side. Assume a wide stance with your toes pointed forward and drop your hips down over one foot so your knee is over your ankle and your opposite leg is straight. Keeping your torso lifted and eyes forward, slide over to the other side slowly and then back.


Feel free to substitute and tweak this to your setting and preferences but make it a routine! Make this as painless to do anywhere as you can. Don’t overcomplicate it, do something and see if you notice improvements in your strength, energy, posture or injuries over the next month or two.

About the Author

Peter Glassford
Peter Glassford

Peter is a cycling coach and registered kinesiologist from Ontario, Canada. He travels frequently to work with athletes at races, camps and clinics. He also races mountain bikes for Trek Canada and pursues adventure in all types of movement. Follow @peterglassford on Twitter, or check out his online and in-person coaching at www.smartathlete.ca.


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