To help you build a strong base over the off-season, we have provided you with a weekly exercise guide, filled with workouts designed specifically to target core muscle groups specific to cycling.
This exercise guide has been created in collaboration with Vélo Cartel, one of our premium retailers in Canada. Developed by the 2016 Canadian National Road Race Champion, Bruno Langois applies his in-depth experience from racing in the peloton and coaching World Tour riders to help you translate your off-season strength training into on-the-bike results.
EPISODE 1: CORE CARTEL X PNS BALANCE COLLECTION
A strong core is essential to being fast and efficient on the bike. You can develop your leg strength but without stabilizing your torso, hips, and pelvis you will not be able to apply that same force on the pedals. Also, in order to maintain an aerodynamic and smooth position a strong core is important to avoid pelvic rotation or rocking on the saddle.
A key exercise that I choose to work on my core is the plank because it has a highly specific application to the cycling dynamic. The isometric contraction from a plank corresponds to the motor pattern used when riding your bike. While there is no movement directly from the core when pedalling it is used to create a lot of static tension, especially at higher power outputs. Basically, it is the link between your lower and upper body and needs to be really solid.
The variations I add to the lateral plank are meant to increase the level of difficulty while also activating the hip flexors which are involved in the pedal stroke, but frequently underused.
EPISODE 2: ACTIVE MOBILISATION CARTEL X PNS BALANCE COLLECTION
Having adequate flexibility is important to perform in any sport. As a cyclist, having good mobility can prevent injuries and increase the range of your motion to pedal comfortably.
If you want to be a complete cyclist, your neuromuscular system needs to be correctly activated and fired up to apply force on the pedals so there is no loss of power. In today's episode, you will be introduced to a key exercise that will challenge and improve your hip mobility: Shin Box with a transition to a lunge. The variations and extra positions added to a standard Shin Box are there to help recruit more essential muscle groups that are used and often overused on the bike.
Rotation in the hip is crucial and often underestimated because it is not a specific movement involved when riding our bike. It forces us as cyclists to work outside of a one-dimensional linear plan. Think of the human body as a chain that has its links interconnected. If there is a weakness or a tightness in one link, the entire chain will be affected. Increasing the flexibility of your hip, pelvis and sacroiliac area will allow the majority of cyclists to be more fluid on the bike.
EPISODE 3: LEGS CARTEL X PNS BALANCE COLLECTION
In order to have excellent power and results on the bike, lower body stability and strength are essential. Maintaining stability while forcefully pushing and pulling can be a differentiating factor between two otherwise equal cyclist.
In this episode, we will present two exercises. These two movements were specifically chosen to improve lower body stability and strength. We start with the single leg Romanian deadlift. This will challenge your static and dynamic balance, as well as your proprioception and stretching, making it a highly functional exercise. The focus for this one is to develop the posterior muscle chain. Again, balance is by far the most difficult factor to master in this exercise. The second exercise is the single leg box squat to build strength in your quadriceps and glutes. It will also stabilise your entire foundation and help you push more efficiently on your pedals.
EPISODE 4: FULL BODY CARTEL X PNS BALANCE COLLECTION
In this episode, we are going to present you two total body movements that are going to require the integration of the majority of your muscles. The goal behind these two exercises is to make sure your entire body is ready to endure what the road brings you. If you want to be perform in all conditions (road, gravel, track, rain, snow, sand, etc.) a great overall physical shape is essential.
This being said, I came up with our favourite and most effective exercises for cyclists. The Inchworm to pushup and the Superman with arm rotation. In the first one, shoulders, pectoral, core, glutes, and hamstrings are solicited. In the second, the triceps, shoulders, upper-lower back, glutes, and hamstrings are being put to the test. These two movements and all the previous ones have been specifically chosen to make you a better and more complete cyclist. Now, are you ready hit the road and conquer those difficult miles, the rest is up to you!