We’ve talked elsewhere on this site about why core exercises are necessary for cyclists and why spending a couple of hours a week focusing on core exercises will be beneficial. In this article we’ll move on to some exercises you can undertake in the gym to improve your leg strength in ways it’s impossible to do by just cycling. Cyclists who rarely visit a gym will have strong quads (the front of your thigh) but relatively weak hamstrings (the back).
So the task is to undertake a range of exercises which will help the development of the hamstring but which will also exercise those core muscles as well.
The Lunge is a great all-round leg exercise which can look deceptively easy but for a beginner can be a painful experience. It’s a superb exercise for the front and backs of your thighs and your core muscles (hips and glutes).
The Lungs is essentially one big step forward until the front thigh is parallel to the floor (or as close as you can get). Now bring the leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and perform 10 reps with either leg. As you get used to this exercise, you can make it harder by holding dumbbells in each hand. If there’s is enough room where you’re exercising, you can actually walk the length of a hall and back again using the lunge technique.
Although it’s possible to do this on the road, it’s probably safer to try single leg riding on a turbo trainer or an exercise bike. It’s a great exercise for the backs of your thighs.
Start by cycling normally until you’ve warmed up sufficiently and then, if you can, remove one foot from the pedal and rest it somewhere safe. Now cycle with one leg for up to one minute before slowing down, reinserting your other foot in the clips and removing the first leg. Repeat the exercise three of four times.