Many of us cyclists do not like to go to the gym and we’d rather invest in a bike or cycling apparel than buy weights or kettlebells to exercise at home. However, doing strength training and adding a 15-20 minute core workout routine will not only improve your cycling performance, prevent injuries and pain, but also help you become a healthier person. That’s why we have come up with this simple exercise routine that can be done at home when the weather is bad and we can’t go out cycling, or it can become part of your training plan. The routine consists of these 8 exercises:
- Single Leg Crunch
- Boat Pose
- Side Plank
- Spine Extension
- Mountain Climber
If you spend 2-3 minutes on each exercise, the workout will take 20 minutes. If it seems too much, choose 5 easy ones, start off slowly and add others or try the variations we suggest for some extra difficulty.
Single Leg Crunch
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor or on a mat with one knee bent and arms straight. At the same time, lift your head, neck and shoulders off the ground and raise the straight leg to the height of the knee of the other leg.
How many repetitions: Start with 15 repetitions per each leg. Lower the leg more slowly or do more reps to increase the difficulty.
Which muscles work: The entire abdominal area and hip flexors.
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor or on a mat with legs and arms straight, palms flat on the floor. Raise your shoulders slightly to engage the abdominals. Lift your legs about 15-20 cm and cross them alternately. Cross twice for one full scissor.
How many repetitions: Start with 30 scissors. The more repetitions, the more difficult the exercise, but the height, the speed and width of crossing your legs are also important. The lower the height, the speed and the larger the width, the more effort you have to make.
Which muscles work: It focuses primarily on the abdominals, secondarily on the hip flexors, lumbar area and quadriceps.
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor or on a mat. Arms outstretched along your body with palms on the floor. Bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor about 15 cm from your butt. Engage glutes and abdominals and raise your butt until your body is straight. Hold for a few seconds, lower your butt a few centimeters and raise it again. All movements should be done by engaging your glutes and abs.
How many repetitions: Start with 30 repetitions, but as it is one of the easiest exercises, you can do more reps or add some extra weight in the abdominal area to increase the difficulty.
Which muscles work: Mainly the gluteus muscles. To a lesser degree the abdominals, lumbar area, quadriceps and hamstrings.
How to do it: Lie face down on the floor or on a mat. Rest your elbows and forearms on the floor. Lift your hips to place your entire body, from feet to head, in a straight line. Look at the floor, engage your entire core to maintain the straight position and take a deep breath. Hold for 20 seconds and rest.
How many repetitions: Start with 5-6 repetitions. There are many variations for a more advanced level. Holding longer is the most basic one, but you can also raise one leg or place the feet support point a bit higher. Another option is to use your hands instead of your forearms, bend your elbows and hold for a few seconds.
Which muscles work: Mainly the abdominals, lumbar area and shoulders, as long as you do the exercise leaning on your elbows and forearms. If you use your hands and bend your elbows, you’ll do extra work on the shoulders and arms.
How to do it: Sit on the floor or on a mat. Heels on the floor and legs together. Put your hands next to your buttocks and lean your upper body backwards up to 45 degrees. Engage the abdominals. Lift straight legs up to 45 degrees and move the hands up, raising straight arms toward the shoulders. Hold the position.
How many repetitions: This exercise requires balance and abdominal strength so start by holding on for 10 seconds and work up to 1 minute. If you can hold the position easily, you can lower your upper body and legs down and return to the position as if you were doing push-ups.
Which muscles work: Hip flexors, abdominals, adductor muscles, quadriceps and back muscles.
How to do it: Lie on your left body side on the floor or a mat. Legs together, one on top of the other until your feet. Put your left elbow and forearm in a straight line with your shoulder. Place your right hand on the right waist side and raise the hips into a straight line. Hold the position.
How many repetitions: Start by doing 5 repetitions, 10 seconds each per one side. To increase the difficulty, hold the position longer or increase the repetitions. To go a little further, lift one leg and raise your arm when you are bracing the core.
Which muscles work: The abdominal area, mainly the oblique abdominals, plus the buttocks to a lesser extent.
How to do it: Lie face down on the floor or on a mat. Place your hands at your sides against your body. Lift your torso and legs off the floor at the same time. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position. Face the floor, do not look forward.
How many repetitions: 20 repetitions at the beginning. More repetitions and holding the position longer mean a higher the level of difficulty. Another option is to stretch the arms in line with the head and raise the left arm at the same time as the right leg.
Which muscles work: Mainly the lumbar area, but also the glutes and hamstrings.
How to do it: Face down on the floor or mat. Hands placed slightly outside the shoulder line. Lift yourself up as if you were doing a plank and form a straight line with your body. Bring your right knee as close to your chest as possible. Hold the position for a moment and then place the foot on the floor again, returning to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
How many repetitions: Alternate legs for 1 minute. The longer and faster you do it, the harder it will become.
Which muscles work: This exercise mainly targets the abdominals and, to a lesser extent, the calves, chest, hamstrings, lumbar area, quadriceps and triceps. It also stabilizes the pelvis by simultaneously activating the hip flexor, as the leg movement is similar to cycling.