We cyclists spend too much time working the same muscular groups, so yoga helps to strengthen and rebalance all your muscles to make you a stronger all-round cyclist.
The first in our series of articles to help make you a stronger cyclist, this specially-designed sequence is made for riders new to yoga. Keep an eye out for workouts for intermediate and advanced yogis coming soon.
These sequences are designed by Haute-Route Ambassador and experienced yoga teacher, Delphine Dard. Delphine (@delphinebdk) teaches specific yoga classes for cyclists and runs live sessions in collaboration with the Haute Route Nation.
As a cyclist, it will come as little surprise to hear that strength workouts can improve your performance.
For your legs, nothing can beat the specific exercises you can do on your bike. However, cycling is not only about using your leg muscles; those in your abdomen, back and arms need to work properly to keep the upper body stable.
To get your body ready for your demanding rides or races, you don’t need to go to the gym - this can actually be a bad idea. In fact, when speaking about strength workouts for cyclists, we are talking about specific functional strength exercise you can easily do at home using your natural body weight.
HOW WE DO THIS
We’ve put together three different strength sequences for beginner, intermediate and advanced practice that we will share on the Haute Route Nation blog over the next month.Each sequence is composed of core, arms, lumbar muscles and a bit of leg strength. We do this because no muscles work in isolation in your body.
We cyclists spend too much time working the same muscular groups, so yoga helps to strengthen and rebalance all your muscles. Remember, core protects your lumbar spine thanks to an airbag effect and will help you avoid lower back pain when you climb for hours. Strengthening lumbar muscles will also help your abdomen muscles and the two taken together will ease the work of your legs. Finally, working on your arms will help you position more efficiently on your handlebars and stay engaged but relaxed going downhill.
If you are a total newbie, try to do each sequence in isolation and progress slowly. You can even reduce the number of repetitions suggested. The most important thing is to practice for even a small amount of time at least twice a week.
As your body gets used to this type of exercise, you can progress to two or three sequences in a row.
To help release lactic acid that will come up after these exercises, we recommend you do an easy one-hour spin ride, indoor or outdoor. We also highly recommend combining these sequences with another yoga series targeting recovery during the week.
BEGINNER STRENGTH SEQUENCE
1. Core workout with your knees:
Start lying on your back. Arms extended on the ground like wings on an aircraft, palms facing down. Bring your knees to your chest and start drawing circles with your knees for 10 times on one side. Then change direction and repeat.
2. Knees to your chest with extension of the legs:
Extend your legs on one side to the ground then back knees to your chest and then extend to the other side. Repeat for 10 times. Be sure your shoulders remain grounded on the floor.
3. Pedalling in supine position:
Fingers crossed, hands behind your head, chin to chest. Start pedalling with your legs by alternating one knee close to your chest and extending the other leg. Do 3x10 repetitions. Pause for 30 seconds between each sequence.
4. Pedalling and chest twisting:
Repeat the pedalling sequence but this time as you extend your right leg, try to bring your right elbow close to your left knee which remains bent close to your chest, then alternate. Do 3x10 repetitions. Pause for 30 seconds between each sequence.
5. Rock and roll, forward and back:
Sit keeping your knees close to your chest, brace your knees, feet off the ground. From this position. Rock yourself back and forward. Try to control the position and make a break in between the rolling with the initial knees to chest seated position. Repeat 10 times.
6. Active Boat pose:
Sit back in the bracing knees position, keeping your feet off the ground. Try to extend into boat position, then back into your bracing knees position. Repeat 3x10 times. Pause for 30 seconds between each sequence.