Strength training can greatly improve your biking ability. To get the most out of your off-bike workout, warm up with some light aerobic exercise and do a little stretching, recommends Ed Burke, author of “Serious Cycling.” The specific exercise you choose will depend, in part, on what phase of training you are in. Some exercises are good for all phases.
Squats are an important exercise in all phases of training, according to Ed Burke. Just adjust the intensity, depth and speed at which you do them, depending on what phase you are in. Begin with your feet hip distance apart. Make sure your back stays flat during the entire exercise. Use a controlled descent, lasting one to three seconds, as well as a controlled ascent, rather than bouncing back up. When you are building your foundation, do full squats. When you are working on power, try speed squats in which you descend regularly, but come up quickly.
Trunk curls are useful throughout all training phases as well. Lie on the floor and place your legs on a bench at the calf. They can be crossed or next to each other. Cross your arms over your chest. Contract your abs slowly and curl up to touch your elbows to your knees. You will move six to eight inches, advises Burke.
Work your glutes with single-leg stability curls and step dips, Andrew Pruitt, Ed.D., director of the Boulder, Colorado Center for Sports Medicine tells "Bicycling" magazine. Do 15 repetitions before you switch legs for each exercise, and work up to doing three sets. Glutes are important, because many aches and pains that cyclists feel lower in their legs are derived from weakness in this muscle group.
To do the single-leg curls, lie on your back. Keep your shoulders flat, place your arms at your sides and extend your legs. Place your ankles on a stability ball. Raise one right foot from the ball. Squeeze your glute muscles, lifting your hips from the ground, and bend your knee on the leg that’s on the ball. Pull the ball toward your rear end with your heel, and then slowly return it to the start position.
Do the step dip by standing on the edge of a 12-inch step while holding dumbbells. Plant one foot and let the other hang free. Pull your belly button in toward your spine. Lift your chest and keep your back straight. Lower until the leg on the step bends 45 to 90 degrees. Return to the start.