November 22, 2018
Cyclists are not known for Herculean physiques, but this does not mean you shouldn’t be hitting the gym at least 2 to 3 times a week to participate in a few important strength-training exercises. While many of the cycling exercises, which include presses, deadlifts and squats are focused on building up strength from below your waist, the arms are often criminally ignored.
Exercising your arms, back and shoulders will improve your overall posture, assist you in avoiding injuries, strengthen your core and abs muscles along with improving and toning your body so that it can engage more easily in the heavier exercises that require you to use mainly your legs. This is the reason why it is important to exercise all the muscles in your body to achieve strength and fitness.
Here are 7 popular upper body workouts to compliment your cycling.
Grab onto a bar with palms faced towards you, making sure your hands are about the shoulder-width apart. Now pull up until you are high enough that your chin is just over the bar and return slowly to your starting position. Ensure you are using a full range-of-motion while going up and coming down. Complete 4-10 reps, 3 to 5 times.
2. Bench Dips
Pull your body weight up onto 2 parallel bars. Your head should be facing forwards, with a tight core and both your arms fully extended. Now lower yourself till your elbows reach a 90-degree angle, followed by pushing back up to the starting position. If you are a novice, use a bench or chair. Sit on a bench, with your bottom close to the edge and your legs to the front. Now lower the hips towards the ground followed by pushing yourself back up to the start position.
3. The Diamond Push Up
Start off this exercise in the normal push-up position, placing the hands under your shoulders in a diamond shape, making sure your index fingers and thumbs touch. Now ensure the body remains straight, bend the elbows outwards and lower the chest to the floor. Return to your starting position and repeat the exercise using 4 to 10 reps, 2 to 4 times.
4. Barbell Curls
Hold onto a barbell with the hands at least shoulder-width apart. With the arms extended forwards, curl up the barbell, by contracting the biceps slowly.
5. Concentration Curls
Holding onto a barbell with the right hand, position the elbow on the same side inside the right thigh. Now lower your dumbbell downwards, and then slowly curl the weight back up towards you.
6. Traditional Crunch
Forget about those modern-day ab machines. The best way to strengthen your core is with traditional crunches from the floor. Lie on a mat and link your fingers behind the head. Now curl your torso slowly towards the knees, making sure your shoulders lift at least 4 to 6 inches from the ground. When you get to the top hold the position for 2 to 3 seconds, lowering down to the mat. Return to the starting position, do 200 to 300 crunches every second day.
Bending from your knees and your hips grab onto a bar using the overhand grip. Now with your lower back arched slowly to keep the arms straight. Make sure your lower back does not round, stand up slowly. Hold the bar in the standing position for a few seconds, then lower to the starting position using a very controlled motion. Do 3 sets counting to 20 each time.
8. Dead Hang
Hold onto a suspension trainer or pull-up bar and hang with your full body weight. You can either have your hand facing away or towards you. While you are hanging do not allow your shoulders to shrug up. Your core should be tight and the chest pressed outwards. Make sure your legs are hanging directly down towards the floor. Avoid tucking your knees towards your abdomen or chest.
Your primary focus for strength training should be to train your upper and lower body in a motion that is similar while increasing your overall muscle endurance and core strength. Your main goal, when it comes to strength training should be to create a support system that is stronger for your main movers while you are on a bike.