How do you get better at an exercise? For one, you consistently perform it. On the other hand, you can increase your performance with weight training. This is important for competitive cyclists and also for fitness buffs who want to use cycling for getting into shape.
Fitness experts and doctors recommend weight training for all adults regardless of age. Weight training builds muscle which increases your body’s fat burning potential. Weight trainers experience the benefits even while they sleep. Your bones are also strengthened by weight bearing exercises which is good news for older adults especially women who suffer from osteoporosis.
When you do any form of exercise whether weight training or cycling, a warm up and a cool down along with a stretch is really important. The warm up gets the muscles in the mood for exercise and makes the muscles more susceptible to stretching. The cool down lowers your heart rate to normal and allows you to get a good stretch out of your muscles to avoid major soreness later.
If you have recently taking up bicycling you’ll notice that your legs do the majority of the work. You feel the burn in your calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. As you build muscle endurance, the burning goes away because the muscle works more efficiently and doesn’t build up lactic acid as quickly. Training those muscles through work with weight machines and free weights will help you out.
1. Squats this is the quintessential exercise for the lower body. Squats work the abdominal area, the butt, the quadriceps, hamstrings and the gastroc (calf muscle). Use free weights on your shoulders or a barbell. Focus on your lower body as you lower slowly and push back up to starting position through your heels.
2. Calf raises you can stand on an aerobic step with or without weights in your hand. With your heels off the step, rise up as high as you can onto your toes. Hold and return to start position. Positioning the heels off of the step keeps the tension in the muscle throughout the movement.
3. Leg lifts this exercise works the quadriceps muscle. Your quads do a lot of work when pushing up a hill on your bicycle. Use a leg extension machine to perform this exercise properly. A lower weight with higher repetitions increases endurance.
4. Hanging leg lifts the target here is your upper and lower abs. they work to raise your legs as you pedal. Without being on the floor, the focus is on your midsection to do the work of lifting your legs to perform the exercise. Use a hanging frame at the gym or even the monkey bars at the neighborhood park. If it is too hard to lift your legs straight out, start with lifting your knees into your chest while squeezing your abdominal muscles.
Want a smoother ride on your bike? Take up weight training to prepare your legs for a vigorous bike ride.