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. He kicks off the series with an anytime, anywhere workout that requires little, if any, equipment.
Here’s a workout that you can do pretty much anywhere – at home, the gym or while traveling. One of the fundamental principles of strength training is that you should learn to control your body before adding any external resistance, so this workout requires little in the way of equipment.
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 planks, go right into the kneeling ball rollouts, then into the jumping jacks. Start with 2 rounds and work your way up to 3 rounds.
Make sure you keep proper alignment – having a mirror or partner can help with maintaining your form. Work up to 30-second holds.
Stability Ball Kneeling Rollout
Kneel in front of a stability ball as shown. Keeping your core tight, roll the ball forward while maintaining a straight torso position. Make sure you don’t drop your hips. Pause at the end range of motion for a second or two, and return to the starting position. Aim for 8-12 repetitions.
The traditional jumping jack is a great way to get used to power exercises and work on lateral (side-to-side) movement. Try and focus on landing softly – think “quiet feet.” This will help to ensure that your muscles are absorbing the bulk of landing forces as opposed to your joints. Start with 10 seconds and work your way up to 30 seconds.
CIRCUIT 2 – Upper body and lower body strength exercises
Like circuit 1, perform this exercise in a circuit-style fashion. Do a set of push-ups, move to split squats, then inverted rows, and finish up with step-ups. Start with 2 rounds and work your way up to 3 rounds.
The old fashion push-up is not only a great upper body exercise; it’s a great core exercise as well. If push-ups are too difficult for you, place your hands on a workout bench as shown above. Avoid doing the so-called “modified” push-up, as it doesn’t challenge your core as much compared to the traditional positioning. Aim for 8-12 repetitions.
Stand with a split stance as shown. The distance of your stance will vary depending on your hip flexibility. Drop down into a split squat position keeping the knee of your lead leg behind your toes. Focus on your lead leg doing the work as you stand back up. Aim for 8-12 repetitions per leg.
You can do this exercise two ways – with a Smith Machine or power rack (top photos), or with a suspension trainer. With a Smith Machine (or power rack), initially place the bar at chest height and position your feet as shown. Keeping your body straight, pull yourself up toward the bar. The lower you place the bar, the harder the exercise becomes. This is also a great core exercise since you have to engage your hip and torso muscles to maintain alignment. You can also do this exercise with a suspension trainer (TRX, Jungle Gym, etc.), and since the handles are able to freely rotate, this will make it easier on your shoulders. Aim for 8-12 repetitions.
Stand in front of a step (or bleachers, stairs, etc.) as shown. Step up onto the step, concentrating on using your top leg to lift you up as opposed to pushing off with your lower leg. Return to the starting position, again concentrating on your top leg to lower down slowly – avoid the temptation to simply drop back to the ground. Aim for 8-12 repetitions per leg.
See my 5-part Dynamic Conditioning Monthly Series that includes exercise progressions/variations, workout logs, and complimentary consultations via phone, email, FaceTime or Skype.