Winter is the ideal time to concentrate on strength and conditioning work. With in-the-saddle time inevitably diminishing as the weather worsens, the off-season presents real opportunities to build your core and pedalling muscles.
Many pro riders use a routine like this one all year round, but focus on it harder during winter.
Tom Barras, a long-time domestic pro now riding with NFTO, says: ”I really can’t understate how useful these exercises are.
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“Inevitably, bike riders focus on legs. But a conditioned core provides the solid platform for pedalling. Exercises like these will make you stronger on the bike, in and out of the saddle, and they can help ward off or alleviate common injuries such as lower-back niggles.
“I do a routine like this weekly in season and up to three times weekly in winter.”
We asked Barras to devise a routine that needs hardly any specialised equipment. A mat will make life more comfortable and a small pair of 2kg weights would help make some of the movements more effective.
This exercise targets many of the most important pedalling muscles. It also works the core muscles, which are vital for maintaining good form on the bike.
This exercise is one of the best all-round movements that a bike rider can do. The core is targeted specifically and a strong core helps create the best platform for pedalling.
This is called a compound movement because it targets multiple muscle groups. It’s a great all round exercise for cyclists and focuses on the sometimes neglected upper body. It also benefits the whole core.
A great alternative to the traditional sit-up, this exercise targets abdominal muscles – both external and internal and the hip flexors. Conditioning these build general strength and stability on the bike helping with form and fluidity in and out of the saddle.
If you’re only going to do one movement, do this one. The squat is power exercise for cyclists and perhaps the corner stone of your strength regime.
The Side Plank
The use of a light weight puts dynamism into the plank, adding instability and increasing effectiveness.
This targets all the big core muscles and helps to build a solid platform for pedalling.