It’s more than likely that you’ve noticed the lean physiques of professional cyclists. But, did it occur to you that that isn’t just the product of a lean diet and riding? Most professional cyclists use weight training as an integral part of their training plans to increase their power to weight ratio.
Weight training helps to increase your muscle mass, and lean muscle burns more calories, which means your metabolism will increase fat burning. So you will be stronger and leaner.
Rather than just going and using all the machines at the gym, body weight and movement specific exercises will be more effective. Your goal is to get strong while retaining flexibility and motion, not just build mass. Below are some of the best weight training exercises you can do to up your game.
Begin each exercise with zero or minimal weight until you are comfortable with the movement. You should aim for 2-3 rounds of the entire circuit with 12-15 reps to begin with. Weight should be added so that you can comfortably do these, plus a few extra. Work at a quick pace, but be sure to keep your movements deliberate and don’t compromise your form for speed. Take a small rest interval between exercises.
This exercise primarily works the glutes and quads. Pick a box so the knee gets close to 90 degrees of bend (flexion). Step up onto the box using the heel and glute (butt) muscles of the leading leg.
Squats work the quads and glutes. They will make you a stronger climber and help you pedal through headwinds. When you pedal you use primarily the quads and the glutes (butt muscles). The squat is a two in one exercise as it strengthens the glutes and quads simultaneously. In this way they will each be as strong as they need to be in proportion to each other.
Lunges are excellent for glutes, quads and hamstrings. Holding a set of light dumbbells over your shoulders will necessitate using your core muscles to stabilize as you lunge forward.
This exercise primarily works hamstrings and the low back. Start with a hanging, or Romanian, deadlift where you start standing up straight and the bar/weight is in the hand, ie. not from the floor.
Inverted pull ups
As a change from traditional push-ups try inverted pull-ups. Using a smith machine or squat rack and hang from it with your feet stretched out in front of you. Pull up keeping your body straight and lower slowly.
The plank has become the classic core exercise as it works on the strength and stability of your abdominal muscles. They may be done either with both elbows on the ground or as a side plank using one hand to support your body.
As with any exercise work into them gradually. If you have history of knee or back injuries talk to your doctor first. They may be able to set you up with a physical therapist who is able to modify the exercises to accommodate any prior injuries.