Editor’s Note: Coach Dan Kehlenbach, a long-time coach of cyclists and other endurance athletes, and a certified strength and conditioning specialist, has graciously agreed to put together a monthly series of workouts for RBR readers. This workout features preparation exercises (Phase 1 & Phase 2 covered previously) before moving into the new Circuit workouts.
I encourage cyclists to use a foam roller on a regular basis to help with recovery, and to do the movement preparation exercises throughout the week apart from your normal workout to work on your mobility, something that nearly all cyclists can benefit from.
Phase 1 – Foam Roll
Using a foam roller can help improve the overall quality of your muscle tissue and to prepare it for the demands of the workout. There’s no one consensus on what’s the best protocol, but many cyclists can benefit by addressing quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, calves and upper (thoracic spine area) back. Start with 8-10 fluid strokes for each muscle group.
Phase 2 – Movement Preparation
Here is where we start taking your muscles through a specific range of motion to work on your mobility and muscle activation. It will also help get your body get ready for the workout. Aim for 5-6 repetitions of each movement.
Lie on your back as shown with one leg bent and the other leg at your chest. With your toes up, concentrate on activating your glute by pushing through your heel and lifting your hips up.
From a push-up position, walk your feet towards your hands using small steps keeping your knees slightly flexed. When you can no longer maintain that slight knee flexion, pause for a 2-count then walk your hands out with small steps back to the starting position.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, reach down and grab your toes. If you can’t grab your toes, go as low as you feel comfortable with. Drop your hips into a sumo-style position, keeping your elbows inside your knees. Pause for a 2-count at the bottom, raise your hands over your head as best as you can, and stand back up.
Shoulder Wall Slide
Place your feet about one foot in front of a wall. Lean back and make sure your hips, upper back and head are in contact with the wall. Reach up as high as you can and slide your arms down the wall. As you slide your arms down, make sure your elbows and hands (along with your hips, upper back and head) stay in contact with the wall.
Stand with your feet approximately double shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight to one side and drop your hips down and back, keeping your knee over your toes and your weight over your bent leg. Pause for a 2-count, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
From a push up position, bring one foot to the outside of your hand. Lift up your hand and drop your elbow towards your instep. Pause for a 2-count and return your hand and foot. Repeat on the other side.
CIRCUIT 1 – Static core exercise, dynamic core exercise, elastic (power-type) exercise
These exercises are performed in a circuit style fashion. After your mini-band walks, go right into the 3-way planks, then into the alternating box push-offs. Start with 2 rounds and work your way up to 3 rounds.
This is a great exercise to work the muscles that surround your hips. Place a light-resistance band around your legs as shown. Position your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and keep your knees slightly bent. Walk forward, back, left and right. Watch your posture with this exercise – always keep your torso upright and toes pointing straight ahead. The movement should come from your hips, so avoid using momentum while you step. Try for 10 steps in each direction.
This is simply a combination of the forward and side planks. Begin by holding a side plank, then switch to a forward plank, then roll into the opposite side plank. Remember to watch your form – a partner or a mirror can help. Work up to 30-second holds for each.
Alternating Box Push-Off
This is a tough one to depict with still pictures. Essentially you are pushing off a box with the top foot as you jump and cycle your legs (much like a pedal stroke!) Try and land softly between jumps. Start with short intervals, maybe 10 seconds or so and work up to 30 seconds. Here is a link to a video reference: (http://www.coreperformance.com/knowledge/movements/box-blast-alternating-continuous.html
These exercises are performed in a circuit style fashion – after your mini-band walks, go right into the 3-way planks then into the alternating box push-offs. Start with 2 rounds and work your way up to 3 rounds.
CIRCUIT 2 – Upper body and lower body strength exercises
Like circuit 1, perform these exercises in a circuit-style fashion. Start with 2 rounds and work your way up to 3 rounds.
Swiss Ball Dumbbell Chest Press
Lying on a Swiss Ball as shown, perform a traditional dumbbell chest press. Try and keep your hips up and core engaged during the exercise. Aim for 8-12 repetitions. Note: for safety’s sake, make sure that the ball you are using can handle external loads.
You’ll need a cable column or resistance band for this one. Attach the cable or band to an ankle cuff and secure it around your ankle. With this exercise you’re focusing on four movements – flexion, extension, abduction and adduction. Try and stand up straight while doing the exercise. If you have to lean excessively, reduce the weight. You’ll find that not only are you working the muscles of the leg that’s moving, the muscles of your stance leg will work quite hard stabilizing and balancing. Try 10 reps each direction.
Stand as shown holding the TRX or other suspension-trainer as shown. Lift your hands upat an angle forming the letter “Y”. This exercise may take some getting used to, especially in regards to your body position. Aim for 8-12 repetitions.
Even though cycling does not involve lateral movements, it is important to incorporate lateral activities to keep your hips strong and mobile. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side (or just use bodyweight) and take a wide step to the side. Remember to drop your hips down and back as you descend into the lunge. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Aim for 8-10 repetitions each direction.
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