Right now is a great time to find effective ways to improve your cycling by working out at home. A simple way is to incorporate resistance band training into your workouts. Strength training for your cycling will increase your mobility, flexibility, and power on your bike. In this post we share some excellent exercises that you can do at home. All you need are some resistance bands (for some of these exercises) and some suitable footwear.
In these exercises you use your body weight to build cardiovascular strength, while targeting the muscles in your legs and your core. Your legs provide you with power for cycling, and your core helps you with balance and support. Increasing your cardiovascular strength will help you go the distance in bike rides and races, with less fatigue.
The Warmup before Your Resistance Band Workout
It’s essential to warm up for at least 10 minutes before doing your workout so that your body is ready to exercise and you avoid unnecessary injury.
Try 10 minutes of cardio such as jumping jacks, jogging, or running on the spot, all of which get your heart rate up quickly.
Squats are excellent exercises to build your leg strength so that you can cycle further. They also help strengthen the cartilage around your knees. A singe squat is a compound movement that uses almost every muscle in the core and lower body.
You can use a hip circle band for squats – just wrap it above your knees.
Be sure to keep your back straight, your hips back, and your shoulders back as you squat. Pause when you are squatting at the lowest point before gently coming back up for one rep. Repeat as needed.
Video showing Correct Squat Technique
If you are completely unfamiliar with squats, watch this video first. The right technique is essential to avoid injury if you are new to squats. It is worth putting in the effort, as most experts agree that squats are the single best leg exercise you can do. And possibly just the single best exercise of all, period.
Plank – An Excellent Exercise to Include in Your Resistance Band Workout
If squats are the best exercise in the world, then plank is probably the second best. And planks have the advantage that the form is relatively simple, and most people can do them. Plank is a perfect exercise for building core strength, which will help you be a more efficient cyclist. Your shoulders and lower back also get a good workout, and you can even wrap a resistance band around your ankles to work your lower legs simultaneously.
To do a plank, lie on the mat face down with your weight on your elbows. Flex your feet with the weight on the balls of your feet (your legs are straight).
Keep your hips tucked in and look forward, keeping your neck straight. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Work your way up to holding a plank position for 90 seconds.
If you are using a resistance band around your ankles, you can lift alternating legs, pausing at the top of the movement.
Video Showing How to do a Plank
Plank Modification with Resistance Band
With this simple modification, use an exercise band to work your quads and improve your range of movement. While in plank position, simply loop the resistance band around both your feet, and then pump one of your legs forward as far as you can.
Lunges are excellent for cyclists because they target the entire leg, as well as your abs. Keep your upper body straight and begin with 15 reps on each side. Make sure that your knee doesn’t go further forward than your foot. Aim for 3 sets of 15-30 reps each.
To make lunges extra challenging, try doing a pulse downward before jumping to switch sides. Pulsing and jumping between lunges gives you an additional cardio workout at the same time.
Leg lifts work your hamstrings, obliques, and your hip flexors. Many cyclists find their hips become tight since their legs don’t extend out fully while cycling. By working on your hip flexors, you can help avoid stiffness after cycling and enjoy better balance when on your bike.
These leg lifts use resistance bands, and you can do them either lying down on a mat or standing up.
Begin by putting a resistance band around your ankles.
If you are standing, raise one leg out sideways while tightening your glutes. Pause when the band is at its most extended. Switch sides, then repeat as many reps as needed.
If you decide to do this lying down, you can do it either face down or on your side. The resistance band will also be around your ankles. Lift one straight leg at a time, pausing at the top of the movement before bringing the leg back down. Repeat for as many reps as needed.
Swimmers are tough to do but are an excellent way to strengthen your lower back. Many cyclists experience lower back pain, and swimmers help toughen up these muscles.
To do swimmers, lay face down with your arms and legs out straight as if you were about to swim. Raise your right arm and your left leg at the same time, then lower them and raise the left arm and right leg. Alternate while keeping your face lifted off of the mat with your back straight. You want to be ‘swimming’ for 30-60 seconds. Do these movements slowly, and you’ll see the difference.
Burpees with Pushups
Burpees with pushups will give you a full-body workout and will help increase your power on the bike. Note that this exercise is quite advanced – if you are less than very fit, start off with simple burpees, or even modified burpees. But if you are ready, watch the video below, and get ready to explode into super fitness!
Video showing Burpees with Pushups
You can click here to watch a video about how to do this exercise on Men’s Health here.
- Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, jump up, and then get into a pushup position. Do one pushup and then jump up to come into a low squat. Jump again to return to standing – that’s one rep.
- Do these as quickly as possible, aiming for 3 sets of 10-20 reps.
Good luck with building your strength indoors, in preparation for great cycling adventures outdoors!
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