As an endurance ultra cyclist, training never really stops for me. People say riding your bike in winter is just as much fun as riding it during any other time of the year but gosh what do I miss the sun and what do I hate the cold, the rain, the leaves,… . I must admit in winter times my favorite place to be is my indoor Wahoo Kick Bike. In addition to my standard Zwift and Rouvy trainings I do add some exercises to my winter cycling training. Here are some trainings that you need to consider if you want to optimize your performance in summer when cycling season starts again. To get the most out of your off-season training program and not risk injury.
And before I start… trust me… I don’t do all of thes exercises every week. Get a life, I hear you think 🙂 I try to switch from one week to another. One week I focus on core stability training while the other week single leg strength training is my way to go. And don’t overdo these trainings. Max 2 hours a week, half an hour a day, is more than enough :
Table of Content
1. Single Leg Strength Training
Single leg strength training is a great way to improve your balance and stability. It will help every time you hit the bike. By building single-leg strength, you’ll also be improving your pedal stroke and becoming a more efficient rider. More efficient means faster times on race days or faster ascents when climbing that Mont Ventoux or Alpe D’Huez next summer! Sometimes I finish my standard indoor trainer training with two minutes of pedal efficiency drills. For me the perfect winter cycling exercise which doesn’t cost too much time. Great bang for your buck!
Most cyclists do both right-leg and left-leg exercises when they’re working out. By shifting the focus over exclusively to one side at a time while doing strength training exercises like squats or lunges, you’ll be able to better target those muscles that suffer from overuse (like quads) or weakness (like hamstrings). You may even find yourself with fewer aches as well!
Examples of Single Length Training Exercises
Here are some examples of single leg exercises:
- Several virtual training apps like Zwift offer specific single leg trainings also know as pedal efficiency drills. You have to unclip 1 leg and rest it on the trainer or let it hang off to the side. With the other leg clipped in you pedal for 30 or if you are used to it for 60 seconds in a row. The intent is to pedal with no dead points. So to produce a continuous pull and push effort maintaining the same cadence you had with 2 feet. You can also do this exercise without a virtual training app of course. Start with one or two times a few minutes per week as part of your winter cycling exercises. Gradually increase it to 4 to 5 times a week. You will notice an improved pedal efficiency during summer.
- Single leg ropeskipping. Exactly what is stated here. Ropeskipping but then on a single leg. It will increase your muscle strength but also your overall stability and body core strength.
- Reverse lunges: 10 on each leg x 4 times. A reverse lunge singe leg exercise will increase stability, fix muscle imbalances and reduce knee and hip pain when riding your bike. For a full step-by-step guide on how to do a reverse lunge (one of my favorite winter cycling exercises 🙂 ) check here.
2. Core Stability as part of your winter cycling workout exercises
Core stability exercises are a great way to maintain good posture while cycling. These winter training exercises help you to keep your back straight and prevent postural slouching, which can cause pain in the lower back, neck and shoulders. One tip: add core stability to your winter training at least one week per month. Maintain the below poses for 10 seconds and repeat 4 times. Increase the time and repetition gradually over time. Pick out a few ones.
Here are some examples of core stability exercises:
- Side plank with rotation
- Pallof press
4. Weight Training Exercises Makes You a Better Cyclist in Winter
Weight training during winter times is a great way to improve your cycling performance in summer. It will help you to:
- Improve power and muscle endurance. Increasing muscular strength and power can have a positive impact on the amount of force that your muscles can produce, which results in more efficient pedaling and faster rides.
- Improve core stability. A strong core helps you maintain good posture while riding and reduces risk of injury by supporting the spine, hips, shoulders and neck during cycling workouts or races.
- Improve balance on the bike by increasing proprioception (the sense of where your body parts are). This can help prevent crashes due to loss of balance while riding uphill or when descending steep grades at high speeds!
- Reduce injury risk by strengthening muscles around joints such as knees that are commonly injured during mountain biking over rough terrain like logs/rocks/mud etc., so remember that there’s more than one reason why weight training should be part of every cyclist’s offseason workout routine!
5. Functional Strength Training
Functional training is a type of resistance training that uses exercises that mimic the movements we do every day so that we can get stronger. These exercises will still be done with some sort of resistance in order to stimulate your muscles.
Functional strength training is a great way to build strength and power, which can help you improve your cycling performance in the short term and long term by reducing your risk of injury, increasing power output and improving your ability to sustain high intensity efforts. Functional Strength Training can help you improve:
- Your cycling performance in the short term by helping you build more muscle mass with improved muscle recruitment patterns that are specific to cycling. This will make it easier for you to maintain speed when going up hills or accelerating quickly out of corners.
- Your cycling performance in the long term (1 year+) by improving your overall muscular endurance so that you have more energy at the end of rides when things get tough.
The overall benefits of core and strength training as part of your winter cycling workout exercises
To improve cycling performance in the long term, it helps to have an off-season routine of multi-directional strength training and core stability exercises. Weight training is also really important for both cyclists and triathletes. With proper programming, it can help almost every athlete reach their potential while reducing injury risk and enhancing performance.
- To improve cycling performance in the long term, it helps to have an off-season routine of multi-directional strength training and core stability exercises. Weight training is also really important for both cyclists and triathletes. With proper programming, it can help almost every athlete reach their potential while reducing injury risk and enhancing performance.
- Core stability exercises are particularly important for cyclists because they will help you get a stronger body that is more resistant to fatigue in all directions. These exercises include exercises such as squats and planks or side planks (side plank) or bridges (bridge). You can find some of these on YouTube if you search “core workout.”
- Multi-directional strength training provides athletes with several benefits including improved power output on the bike, reduced risk of injury when riding at high speeds over rough terrain, increased endurance during long rides due to better muscle recovery between intervals/climbs/etc., increased resistance against wind resistance when riding fast downhill sections (which often require more pedaling), etc..
- Some examples include
- front squats
- dead lifts with barbells/dumbbells/kettle bells held at waist height instead of shoulder level
- lateral lunges
- rowing machine / seated row machine
- Hamstring curls using dumbells or cables attached to low pulley weights mounted overhead near chin level so they’re easy enough not challenge balance skills but still provide resistance when performing bent leg movements like curling one leg up toward chest while standing straight up on other leg.
I hope that these cycling exercises for winter times will help you to improve your cycling performance in the long term. The goal of this article was not to give you a quick fix or miracle cure. But rather show how important it is for cyclists and triathletes to have an off-season routine of multi-directional strength training and core stability exercises. Weight training is also really important for both cyclists and triathletes. With proper programming, it can help almost every athlete reach their potential while reducing injury risk and enhancing performance. I understand it is just impossible to do all of these exercises every week. Just pick out a few ones and add some non-cycling training and exercises to your winter cycling training program. Even if it is only one hour in total per week. You will still feel the performance increase when the new cyclings season kicks off.