If you’re a cyclist, particularly if you train for races, then chances are you’re working on very specialized athletic goals. Usually, these goals involve training the legs. You’re working on your quads, optimizing your pedaling technique, and tracking your times and distances.
But working out on your bicycle isn’t the only thing you can do to become a better cyclist. Spending time in the gym can also help, for a variety of reasons.
1) Improve Range of Motion
Yes, you use your legs when cycling but you use them in very specific ways. Taking the time to work on your range of motion and strengthen muscle groups that aren’t fully activated when cycling (like the glutes) improves overall fitness and can help you become a stronger cyclist. This means both stretching and strength training. You can even use your rest days for some of this by incorporating gentle yoga stretches.
2) Better Endurance
As people age, muscle mass, bone density, and joint health can suffer, particularly if you’re not making time for exercises that target those areas. Spending about two days in the gym each week (depending on what works for your individual schedule and goals) is a good start. A consultation with a personal trainer here at Extreme Studio Performance will help you develop a strength training program that helps you meet your cycling goals.
3) Strengthen Upper Body
Cycling doesn’t work out your upper body very much, but working on core and upper body strength can have big payoffs for cyclists. You need upper body engagement to maintain a proper cycling position. Focus on resistance training that’s suited to your body and fitness goals.
4) Improve Wrist Position
To avoid injury, keep your wrists straight and elbows flexed when you’re riding a bike. If you struggle keeping your wrists straight, then you might have weak wrist flexors. Stretches and strengthening exercises—including working with lightweight dumbbells—can help strengthen your wrists and improve wrist position when cycling.
5) Cycle in Poor Weather
Another benefit to joining a gym is that you have access to stationary bikes so you can keep cycling in poor weather. You might already have the equipment to do this at home, but if not it’s one of the many benefits of going to a gym. And if you come to Extreme Studio Performance, we’ve got the latest in top-quality exercise technology to support all your fitness goals.