Time to Read
Points of Interest
- Calisthenics for building strength
- 5 Exercises to perform [plus videos]
- The Routine
In order for you to improve your cycling performance, you not only need to build speed and endurance, it is also important to build your strength. You have to strengthen your muscles in order for you to cycle better and avoid injuries. The good news is, you don’t really need to leave the comforts of your own home or get any complicated equipment to do so. You can build muscle with calisthenics, a form of exercise that only uses your body weight as resistance.
It is a common misconception that the only way to build muscle is through pumping heavy iron, but keep in mind that cyclists do not need massive muscles for aesthetic purposes like bodybuilders. What you need, however, is to strengthen the muscles that can support you while you are cycling. You can achieve this by practicing the following body weight exercises.
The push-up is a classic exercise that builds the strength in multiple areas of your body. This exercise targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps which can then support you on handlebars. Additionally, this exercise is great in helping you put more power when you cycle as it improves stability as well as your core strength.
When performing the push-up, your starting position should be in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists. Bend your elbows to lower your chest down to the floor then push back up to your starting position. Make sure that when you lower down, your elbows are at a 45-degree angle and when you push up, your hips are in line with the rest of your body. You should also keep your core, glutes and legs engaged throughout the exercise.
You can easily modify the push-up to make it easier or more difficult. You can put your knees on the floor to lessen the intensity of the exercise. To make it more challenging, you can perform several push-up variations that will intensify the exercise.
Here is the video of the Push-up exercise
This move may seem like an easy exercise but in reality, it is an amazing workout that will strengthen your lower back, glutes and spine muscles. This is important because when you cycle, the muscles that run along your spine are always flexed forward and stretched all the time.
To perform this exercise, you must lie face down on a mat. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you, with your palms down. Next, Squeeze your glutes and simultaneously lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor. Hold this position for 2 seconds. Lower back to the starting position and repeat the move. You can make this exercise easier by lifting one arm and leg at a time.
Here is the video of the Superman exercise
The jump squat is a full-body exercise that not only builds your muscles but also gives you a cardio workout when done repeatedly. This exercise strengthens your quads which can add power to your pedal stroke. It also adds impact which can help build bone density, which you cannot achieve by cycling alone.
To perform this exercise, your starting position should be as if you’re performing a classic squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out. You can clasp your hands in front of your chest for balance. Then, squat down bending your knees, pushing your hips back until your butt drops below knee level. Then, rise back up by explosively jumping off the floor, then land back into the squatting position and repeat.
Here is the video of the jump squat exercise
The shoulder bridge is a move that will strengthen your glutes which can aid your stability and eliminate back pain when cycling. This exercise also targets the muscles on your abdomen and hips.
To do the shoulder bridge, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, keeping them hip-width apart. Then contract glutes and lift your hips up so your body resembles a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Your thighs should be parallel and your arms at your sides as you do this. Hold the position for about three seconds before going back to the starting position.
Here is the video of the shoulder bridge exercise
The lunge is a straightforward exercise that is great for working out the hips, quads and hamstrings. This is an exercise that can help you increase and develop your cycling power because just like cycling, it works the lower body one leg at a time.
To correctly perform a lunge, start by assuming a standing position and step forward with your right leg. Next, bend your left leg until your knee is almost touching the floor, then push back into a standing position using your right foot. Repeat the movement with other leg. Make sure you’re core is engaged and your back is straight while doing the exercise.
Here is the video of the lunge exercise.
Perform 10 -20 reps of each exercise. Move on to the next exercise, circuit style with minimal rest in between exercise. You can then repeat the entire circuit at least 3 times.
For best results, do this workout at least 3 times in a week.
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body.
After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.
If you found this an interesting read, you may like to check out our other blogs on training and nutrition here. The following blogs may be of particular interest if you are a cyclist