cycling workout

Most cycling workouts are constructed poorly. Most of the cycling workouts that I see consist of perpetuating muscle imbalances, reinforcing postural distortions and never focus on the actual needs of the athlete. A true cycling workout will work toward correcting the repetitive movement patterns associated with cycling and will encourage proper muscle recruitment patterns though all planes of motion.

Let us just be real for a minute here, cycling is bad for you. Yup. That is correct. Any cyclist who does not perform corrective exercise and apply corrective stretching WILL get hurt, WILL move improperly, and WILL be in pain. It is inevitable.

Why?

Cycling puts the body in a very unnatrual position for very long periods of time. You are seated, hunched over, your abdominals are contracted, your shoulders are elevated, your arms are internally rotated, your hip is flexed, your head is bulled up and protruding forward, and you repeatedly flex and extend the knee for hours on end.

All of the muscle associated with this body position and movement will become tight and the antagonist muscles (muscles that work opposite) will become weak.

*Remember, muscle is responsible for moving bones so if an imbalance occurs between agonist and antagonist muscle groups the dominant muscle will pull a person’s posture out of place.*

This is why most cyclists have elevated and rounded shoulders, bulled and protruding heads, internally rotated arms, and very tight abdominals and hip flexors.

On top of it, many cyclist have over use injuries in the knee and have a high occurrence of developing IT band syndrome. This is where the IT band becomes tight and inflamed from moving over the bone during repetitive knee flexion and extension.

itband.2.anat

So How Does a Cyclist Avoid These Problems?

1. Stretch the Associated Tight Muscles: Stretch the chest, lats, biceps, upper traps, hip flexors, quads, traps, abdominals and the IT band.

2. Strengthen the Antagonists of the Tight Muscles: All of the muscles of the posterior chain need to be strengthened. These would include the glutes, hamstrings, scapular adductors and the lumbar and thorasic extendors. Examples of exercises for this would be:

Deadlifts
Over Hand Rows
Reverse Flies
Back Extensions
Stiff Leg Deadlifts (SLDL)
Glute Bridges

Many cyclists perpetuate their problems by over training the already over trained, tight and dominant muscles. Exercises to avoid would be:

Bench Press
Over Head Press
Shrugs
Push ups
Crunches
Leg Extensions

Train Outside of the Sagittal Plane of Motion

When someone does a lot of cycling they become very strong in the sagittal plane. The nervous system becomes very accustomed to recruitment patterns in this plane of motion.

This is both good and bad. It is good because it will make you a more effective cyclist, but it is bad because once you get off the bike and move around during real world activities (which occur in all planes of motion) your chance of injury increases dramatically.

The reason behind this is because your body becomes accustomed to firing muscles for movement in the sagittal plane, but becomes inefficient in movement patterns outside of this plane.

This will result in injuries once you translate your workouts to activities like playing basketball, agility work, or even changing direction while jogging or walking.

To accomplish proficiency in all planes of motion add these types of exercises to your work out:

Side lunges
Diagonal lunges
Lunges with twists
V sit and twist
Cable Rotations
Cable Ax Chops (bottom and to top)
Rotational Cable Rows

How to Apply this Information

I have you covered there! Here is a basic two day split cyclist workout.

Workout A

Warm up
3-5 minutes of light cardiovascular work that is not biking

Static Stretch: Hip flexors, abdominals, upper traps, pecs, quads, lats, IT band

Resistance Training

Deadlifts: 2-3 X 5-8
Side Lunges: 2-3 X 8-10
Bent Over Over Hand Rows: 2-3 X 5-8
Reverse Flies: 1-2 X 10-12
Cable Rotations Left: 1-2 X 8-10
Cable Rotations Right: 1-2 X 8-10
Back Extensions: 2-3 X 10-15

Cool down
3-5 minutes of light cardiovascular work that isn’t biking

Static Stretch: Hip flexors, abdominals, upper traps, pecs, quads, lats, IT band

Workout B

Warm up
3-5 minutes of light cardiovascular work that isn’t biking

Static Stretch: Hip flexors, abdominals, upper traps, pecs, quads, lats, IT band

Resistance Training

Sumo Deadlifts: 2-3 X 5-8
Stiff Leg Deafts: 2-3 X 8-10
One Arm Cable Row with Rotation: 2-3 X 10-12
Diagonal Lunges: 2-3 X 8-10
One Arm Over Hand Dumbbell Row: 2-3 X 5-8
Ax Chops Bottom to Top: 2-3 X 8-10
V sit and Twist: 2 X 20

Cool down
3-5 minutes of light cardiovascular work that isn’t biking

Static Stretch: Hip flexors, abdominals, upper traps, pecs, quads, lats, IT band

Suggested tip: Download the workout template and keep track of your workouts. You can save it right to your phone for easy storage and access.

Click HERE to Download the Workout Log

If anyone has any questions or concerns please let me know by commenting below. I would be glad to help you!


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