Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Three Strength Exercises That Will Change Your Cycling

Three Strength Exercises That Will Change Your Cycling

During the winter months, I often hear triathletes talk about getting in the weight room. Unfortunately, many do ineffective exercises, and don’t make strength training a regular part of their year round training plan.

If you are a master’s athlete, you need to stay strong if you want to maintain or increase strength and speed, while staying injury free. Fast twitch muscle fibers atrophy rapidly if not stimulated. The safest and most efficient way to maintain joint range of motion, tap into the fast twitch fibers, strengthen ligaments and tendons, as well as improve joint stability, is to hit the weights correctly.

Before implementing the exercises below, you should have a good strength base (2 to 3 full body strength sessions for 3-4 weeks). I would also recommend getting some coaching on the exercises outlined her by a qualified strength and conditioning specialist. It is important to find someone who can coach you on the proper technique with these lifts.

Exercise 1- Deadlift
For cycling, the deadlift (DL) gets the nod over the squat, because the bar is held in front of the body. This requires the low back muscles (erector spinae) to stabilize the lumbar spine as you drive the heels into the floor. It is critical that you maintain a neutral spine, and do not round the back.

If you have access to a trap bar, they are very effective in developing good technique.

Exercise 2- Single leg squat on a slide (SLSs)
Probably the single best lower body exercise for triathletes. Single leg exercises require each leg to contribute equally, and forces the core to stabilize during a single leg motion, which is different than executing a double leg exercise. The SLSs also offers dynamic flexibility for the hip flexors, critical for fast efficient running.

If you do not have a slide board, a frisbee on carpet, or a towel on smooth flooring will work just as well. Loading can be provided by holding a stick or bar behind the head or extended above the head, holding dumbbells, or attaching a cable to a waist belt.

Exercise 3- 1 leg good morning (1LGam)
The 1LGam is a hip pulling exercise that targets the hamstrings and glutes while in a single leg stance. It combines the benefits of the DL, along with the advantages of the SLSs. It is important to keep a neutral spine and to move only from the hip while keeping the non working leg straight and inline with the torso.

By pairing up the above exercises with a upper body exercise, you can create a very effective and time efficient training plan. A program may look like this;

Pairing 1 Deadlift 3x8
DB chest press 3x8

Pairing 2 Single leg squat on slide 3x8
Pull up 3x8

Pairing 3 1 leg good morning 3x8
Horizontal cable row 3x8

Here are links on Youtube to the exercises discussed above.
Single leg squat on slide
1 leg good moring