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Leg Exercises for Cycling

by
author image Mike Samuels
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.
Leg Exercises for Cycling
A man is training his legs with a barbell in the gym. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

To improve your cycling performance, you need to put in hours of work out on the road and on the track. However, performing certain leg strengthening exercises in your routine can also help increase your speed and endurance. Weight training can help improve the efficiency of both your slow twitch muscle fibers, which are used when you're cycling at a steady pace for a long time, and your fast twitch fibers, which are responsible for explosive and powerful movements like sprinting.

Squats

Start your lower body workout with a squat. According to Dr Jesper Bondo Medhus, author of "Time Effective Cycling Training," the squat is a fantastic exercise for improving your cycling performance. Many of the movements you do during a squat are similar to the motion of pedaling, because it works the same muscles. Do five sets of five on any squat variation -- back squats, zercher squats, front squats or goblet squats.

Jumps

Performing explosive and powerful movements with your own body weight is an excellent way to develop speed and power, which can help you when sprinting on the bike. After every set of squats you do, perform a set of three jumps -- either box jumps, broad jumps or single leg jumps. Focus on jumping as far and as quickly as possibly on each repetition. If you begin to find body weight jumps too easy, add a small amount of resistance with a weight vest, medicine ball, or light pair of dumbbells.

Stiff Legged Deadlifts

Your hamstrings are a very important muscle when cycling, as they extend your hips, and flex your knees, which are two movements that occur with every revolution of your pedals, so it's important that they are strong. Perform stiff legged deadlifts using a dumbbell or a barbell as your main hamstring exercise. Do five sets of fifteen reps, and keep your rest periods short, to help build up your muscular endurance.

Barbell Hip Thrusts

Trainer and author of "Advanced Techniques in Glutei Maximi Strengthening," Bret Contreras, advises that direct glute exercises maximize sporting performance. Your glutes play a very important role in helping your legs move while pedaling and have a great potential to generate large amounts of lower body force and power, yet many athletes don't train them. Perform barbell hip thrusts as you would a body weight glute bridge, but rest your upper back against a weights bench, and place a barbell over your lap. Raise your hips off the floor as high as possible, pause for a second, and then lower them again. Do four sets of six reps.

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