There are a ton of resources online (some on this site) describing a wide variety of core and strength training moves for cyclists. I’m trying to whittle all that down into a twice weekly off season routine that will activate and strengthen the important muscle groups efficiently and effectively as possible.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Comments, suggestions welcome:
Plank Variations (plank, side plank with trunk rotation, spider man planks), 3 min series
Back Variations (Supermans, Swimmers, Ys, Ws,), 3 min series
Dead Bugs / Bird Dogs, 2x15
Leg Lifts, Single & Double, 2x15
Hip Lifts / Hamstring Curls, 2x15
Weight Lifting 2 sets, 10-15 reps of everything (fewer reps when starting heavier weights)
Squats / Goblet Squats
Single Leg Deadlifts
Side or Courtesy Lunges
Bent Over Rows
Push Ups (working up to 2x20)
Overhead Dumbell press
pull ups/pull downs
I was about to post a similar question, but asking @steveneal for some advice. He wrote up a basic twice-weekly plan here that looks like the following:
Each set of exercises is done as follows: 5 sets of repeats, exercises done back to back with 1-minute rest between sets.
Day 1 10 x goblet squat (quad dominant) 10 x pushup (horizontal push) 8 x split squat, each leg (quad dominant) 10 x ring row (horizontal pull)
Day 2 10 x trap bar deadlift (hip dominant) 8 x pullups (vertical pull) 10 x stepup (hip and quad dominant) 8 x tall kneeling curl to press (vertical pull and push)
I’m completely new to weight lifting, so I was curious about how you decide on the initial weights to use. Also, @steveneal does “5 sets of repeats, exercises done back to back” mean 50 goblets squats (5x10) followed immediately by 50 pushups (5x10) on Day 1, etc.? Thanks!
Interesting. Matches up pretty well with my plan except for the side lunges in my list. I was encouraged to include those to get out of the simple vertical plain a bit.
Those 5x10 sets are great for the base training phase. They’ll build a lot of muscular endurance. I would typically move onto fewer reps/heavier weights during the build phase, and then back down to higher reps/sets during the season, once a week.
There is a bit of trial and error in choosing your starting weights, but for the first 3 weeks, I recommend focusing on form. Use light weights, maybe add a bit each week, and just get the movements right. Squats, deadlifts, rows, and even push-ups can hurt you more then they help you if you execute them incorrectly. I learned those movements in a strength training “class” over a number of months. But there are good resources online too.
Regarding squats if you haven’t ever use a sandbag for squats you should try. When taught to do this correctly, it will fix many issues in a squat that coaches try for months correct in athletes. This exercise will also greatly increase your ability to deadlift. Simple and effective and much cheaper than weights.
Goal would be to eventually be able to carry your bodyweight for 400m and be able to squat the sandbag 10 times with flawless form.
If you want to know what muscles this works, try it you will know the next day. You will then know exactly where a number of different core muscles are as well as the various glute muscles.
Here is a link to any video I have ever done many go back over ten years, but many if not all of these would still be good for many in a program if used in the correct way.
Here is a link to any video I have ever done regarding a strength exercise, many of these go back over 10 years
I think the one thing that I would like to add is this.
Many of us work on core … either overall body or static, during a strength routine. Often during the strength routine you aren’t breathing too hard really, if at all.
There aren’t many sports that require core stability when you aren’t breathing hard.
I would recommend either:
Incorporating a hard effort ( I use an airdyne ) that gets breathing high quickly then do a core set.
OR BETTER STILL
When you are doing intervals, jump off the bike when you are breathing, and do some core-focused work while you are breathing hard.
This can be done once you have a good understanding of what BRACING actually is during strength. Then you can move into bracing and breathing which will serve you much better during sport.
Are you trying to incorporate all of these into one session?
Here’s my routine, I will do Day A on Wednesdays and Day B on Saturdays or Sundays for a 3 week cycle, and then change the primary workout to something different, but similar, example: reverse lunges shift to split squats and single leg deadlifts shift to traditional barbell deadlifts :
Reverse Lunge (primary)
Single leg Deadlifts (primary)
Core Work (2-3x per week)
KB Around World
As a MTB and cross racer/rider, I do many of the exercises above while balancing on a Bosu. A few I try to do while balancing on a Swiss ball. This builds balance, hand-eye coordination and core strength. It has really improved my off road riding in many subtle ways. If you are looking for examples and inspiration, check out a few work out videos from Kate Courtney and Nino Schurter. Kate Courtney Bosu Nino Schurter balance
I saw that the man himself is on the forums now… I have read all of @HVTraining stuff (articles, books, etc…), went through his training peaks courses and even one of his coached 8wk programs. IMO It’s by and far the best approach to core strength training for cyclists.
What I’m getting at is that it’s not just the exercises you do for your core but how you activate it.