by Ainslie MacEachran
Once the race season has come to an
end, its time to evaluate your season and assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Lifting during the winter can go a long way to shore up any inadequacies that a
cyclist may have and equalize left to right imbalances.
Cycling is very linear motion, during the winter a cyclist can take the
opportunity to “wake up” stabilizer muscles to help create a more rounded and
complete athlete. Moves that would contribute to this would be a walking lunge
with weight held over-head (to raise the center of gravity), plyometrics or
lateral lunges. These moves will also reflect the alternating motion of pedaling
and focus on the quadriceps, gluteals and even calf muscles.
During the season core strength often takes a hit as the year progresses too.
Being in the flexed position for a large majority of hours, the cyclists
abdominals are required to do very little work and it’s not unusual for a
cyclists to have accompanying back issues as a result.
Hyper-mobility of the extensors and gluteals is another phenomenon seen in
cyclists. Flexibility and hyper-mobility are two different things but often are
mistaken for each other. The extensors and gluteals are in a lengthened position
for an enormous amount of time in the cyclist with the hands and arms holding
the body upright and over time these muscles can lose strength. Since the
gluteals are the primary hip-extensors, you must occasionally re-educate them on
how they make a living.
Super-mans - Strengthening the Core.
Moves to correct low back issues can be things like hyper extensions or
“super-mans.” Abdominals can be worked on by practicing core activation and
strengthening the transversus in addition to rectus abdominus and the internal
and external oblique’s. One of the best ways to strengthen the core (and the
“core” means more than just the abs) is to “stabilize the midline.
Body weight moves such as pull ups and dips will, in a general fashion, tune
up upper body musculature without focusing on any one group. While upper body
mass can be a liability for the cyclist, the extra musculature will help with
posture,”balance” or proportion of the athlete and it will also be an extra
place to hide away more glycogen.
The above issues are easily trainable in the gym. A well thought out and
periodized weight program that addresses the musculature of the legs and core
will create an athlete that is less prone to injury, has more usable power and a
more stable and strong core.
Exercises performed by Joe Merkle
Photos by Red Skull Artisan.com
Ainslie MacEachran is a premier level coach with Colorado Premier Training.
He also operates Orchards Athletic Club with his brother Hugh in Loveland,
Colorado. For more information on putting together a complimentary weight
program for the off season you can email him at
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