Sweating with @ridempowered Heather Nielsen: Off Season Gym Workout For Cyclists.

February 17 Ciclismo, Cycling, Dairy Free, Dark Chocolate, EatcleanTrainDirty, Gluten Free, Healthy Sanck, Natural Food, Vegan, Workout Comment
Cycling is an inspiration behind many of K'UL products and defined the look of our bars - they are designed to fit into the jersey pocket and are packed functionally to one-hand on the go, tear the top off  and have your snack while riding.
Today our friend Heather, an avid dark chocolate eater and elite road & track bike racer, USAcycling coach is sharing her off season training program designed for cyclists! 
Narrative by Heather: 
"Cycling is an endurance sport. This means that to get better at it, you generally need to just ride your bike more. More can mean more time, more intensity &/or both.
A lot of cyclists shy away from taking away any of their precious training time on the bike to spend it doing something else for lots of reasons. The #1 reason usually being time constraints. Most people who ride a bike do it for leisure, extra curricular competition or if they’re highly competitive at all it still needs to be juggled with work, family & personal life commitments.
As an elite bike racer & professional coach who has tried just about every style & philosophy of training I’ve ever come across, I am a firm believer in committing some of your training time, no matter your athletic level, to off the bike exercises.
Cyclists spend more time than most other athletes in one position on the bike moving along a single plane. So why spend time moving our bodies in any other plane of motion if we spend so much of our time in that one position and plane of movement? In order to become a better, faster, stronger & more efficient ‘peddler’, you need to focus on all the energy systems & mechanics separately. Your body has 206 bones and 640 muscles (depending on who you ask). Every movement you make never takes just one muscle or bone. Increasing the efficiency & strength of coordinated muscle movements will only ever make you faster. Incorporating exercises that challenge all planes of movement like plyometrics and muscle activation like redcord or other suspension-like systems to address muscle weaknesses & imbalances will train your neuromuscular system to make faster more coordinated contractions
My advice as an athlete and coach would be to work with a professional in developing a specific training plan to meet your goals and address your specific strengths and weaknesses. There are some exercises though that I feel in my experience would benefit just about any cyclist when done properly & progressively.
As with any exercise added to your existing program, it should be done progressively so your body can adapt to the changing &/or increasing load as well as to the new neuro-muscular patterns you are developing. Generally, after racing season is over, during which I'm usually doing at most one day a week of maintenance strength training, I start my strength training program in the off-season when my on-the-bike training is much lower as I recover from the racing season. This way, my body can adapt to the additional loads in the gym so that when I start increasing my on-the-bike training, I can handle the additional volume and intensity. I usually do about a month of 2-3x/week with each session incorporating 4 upper and 4 lower body exercises at 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. This load is perfect starting out and helps build muscular endurance. After I've adapted to that load, I'll slowly start increasing the weight with a corresponding drop in reps so that I start to build strength and power. I lift a weight that I can complete 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. I pay very close attention to my body and how it handles the loads and affects my on-the-bike training so i'm not overdoing it and can still get my training done on the bike. It's a delicate balance but I've been training and racing for 10 years and have worked with many coaches. Learn to listen to your body so you can maximize your fitness gains by training as hard as you can by getting enough recovery. 
Below is a sample list of exercises that are cycling specific/friendly and use mostly free weights and incorporate side movements so that you strengthen your stabilizer muscles and activate your core and major muscle groups at the same time.
Bulgarian Squats: muscles trained: quads, glutes, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus
Step back squat: muscles trained: quads, glutes, adductor magnus, soleus, hamstrings, erector spinae, rectus abdominus, obliques
Side squat:  muscles trained: essentially the same as regular squats above but with more focus on activation of stabilizer muscles like the adductors, abductors and your abdominals
Deadlifts: enlist the help of a professional for proper form. Muscles trained: abdominis, trapezius, spinal erectors, quads, glutes, adductor magnus, hamstrings & soleus
Pull-ups: muscles trained: biceps, triceps, latissimus dorsi, teres, posterior deltoid, trapezius, rhomboid, pectoralis, abdominals & obliques
Renegade rows:  muscles trained: obliques, abdominals, biceps, triceps, forearms, pectoralis, adductors, quads, glutes & hamstrings
Alternating dumb bell chest press on a medball: muscles trained: pectoralis, deltoids, triceps and since you're stabilizing yourself on a medicine ball you're also activating more of your core, hamstrings, glutes and quads which is a great way to get cyclist specific strength and coordination.
Single arm/lifted leg standing lat pull down: muscles trained: biceps, triceps, seres, trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi and since you are balancing on one (the opposite) leg you are activating your stabilizer muscles all over your body to maintain proper form like your obliques, abs, adductors and glutes which is another great way to get cycling specific strength and coordination". 
Train hard and don't forget to eat your K'UL Chocolate!
Heather is available for coaching and be found on Twitter & Instagram @ridempowered 

Posted by K'ul Team

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