Last but not least let’s take a closer look at the hips. This part of the body does receive a fair amount of off season attention from cyclist in hopes to increase power and strength. Lunges, squats, and deadlifts seem to be the most popular which makes sense as they target the muscles which best move the machine. They are great for lower extremity performance and competitive riders should train using those exercises.
Pedaling moves the hip trough a limited range and only in a single plane (sagittal plane). Human hips are designed sort of like shoulders. They can move in all kinds of directions; cyclists can mix things up by moving out of the pedaling plane and squeezing in some lunges to either side (frontal plane). Just like a forward lunge, you will start with your feet about hip-width apart. Next, take a step to left or right. This step should be wide enough so the ankles, knees, and hips are able to maintain a close alignment during the down phase of the activity. Make an effort not to let the knees travel towards the mid-line of the body and over the toes during the descent. To make this easier center the load over the descending hip and shift slightly backward during the lunge. Repeat until fatigue using loads like kettle bells, bars or medicine balls.
#2 Squats and Deadlifts
Squats and deadlifts are coached slightly differently by different trainers. Instead of breaking down the movements I will highlight some bullet points. My recommendation is to try and perform these motions in full joint ranges prior to lifting any loads. This will prime the joints and the nervous system to better perform during heavier weights. Another consideration proves to be the fact that a squat heavy workout will further develop a quad dominant system established by hammering the pedals; therefore try to make an effort to train with slightly heavier loads when performing deadlifts. What I mean is this: if the athlete is super keen on reaching a “one rep max” with his/her squat, there should be an effort to train his/her one rep max with the deadlift as well; the latter being at least 15-20 pounds heavier (not a rule…just a suggestion). This will ensure a more balanced pelvis with stronger hamstrings and glutes and will avoid further imbalances which may lead to low back and hip pathologies.
There is so much more to the above mentioned training guides and clinical tips as they barely scratch the surface of performance and strength training. Please keep in mind that there is no replacement for a trained professional on site who can guide the eager cyclist for proper gains. If you are serious about an off-season program seek out a local physical therapist or performance trainer who is well versed in cycling or triathlon training.
Istvan Takacs, Physical Therapist, (BASc) Kinesiology and Exercise Science
Fuelixir Content Creator