Injury, torrential downpours, and blizzards are no excuse for slacking off during your bike training time. You’ve got to stay on top of your game every season even when you’re in recovery mode. Here are a few exercises to help keep you in shape and increase your cycling skills even when you can’t get on a bike.
The Wrestler’s Squat
Keeping your legs on point and capable of bearing tough loads is the focal point of the wrestler’s squat. Not only does it help develop leg strength and endurance, but it also helps your balance and focuses your core.
It’s simple to do, in theory. Kneel on the floor or on an exercise mat and slowly, one leg at a time, step up into a squatting position. Your legs should never be straight during this process, and you shouldn’t be standing straight up either. Now, one leg at a time, step back into the kneeling position. Continue this for at least 60 seconds, go for two if you can, and alternate the lead leg halfway through.
One-Leg Bridge Changeovers
Don’t skimp out on blasting the glutes while you’re taking time off the bike. This exercise is also great as a warm-up before going for a ride once you’re back in the game.
Lie on your back and place both feet flat on the floor. Your arms should be flat on the floor or lying across your chest. Now, push your pelvis up off the floor so you’re creating a flat plane from your knees down to your chest. Holding this position, lift your right leg into the air until it’s straight. Squeeze your left glute tight and hold for three seconds. Lower it back down and repeat with the opposite leg.
Continue for 60 seconds.
This might sound a little silly to people who aren’t used to it, but skipping rope is actually a great way to build calf strength and increase your endurance. Unless you’re sporting a gnarly ankle or knee injury you should be able to pull this off.
To amp up the exercise, with each skip drive your knee up toward your chest and back down, alternating legs every few skips. Do this for five sets of 12 reps, or 60 seconds.
You don’t have to get fancy to increase your cycling skills, and lunges are a great cycling-specific exercise to help increase your quad strength. They’re also good for increasing hip flexibility and strengthening the hamstrings, so make sure to fit them into your workout program.
It’s important to remember when doing lunges to avoid jerking movements or extending your knee too far forward. A slow, controlled lunge with the front of the knee lining up with the edge of your toe is the goal. Aim for 5 sets of 15 reps without weights when you’re starting out.
Look for Alternatives
If you’re nursing a sprain or hip injury, consider switching to an elliptical or stationary bike at a low level until your body can take more strain. If you’re simply going out of town for business and can’t take your bike with you, enroll in a local spin class for the day.
You need to find ways to get your heart rate up and keep burning fat while you’re sidelined from your bike, just don’t hurt yourself trying to do so. Jogging and running are acceptable options, but they won’t give you the same range of motion in your legs as cycling will. It’ll do in a pinch, though.
Most importantly, remember to stretch your muscles and keep them in shape so you’re ready to go once you’re all healed up or once that snowfall has melted into oblivion.