iS IT EFFECTIVE?
With gym's soon to be (hopefully) re opening in the UK. It will soon be time for me to return to gym based strength and conditioning programmes for my clients.
But, what about being at home?
Gym's aren't for everyone even when they are open and is there something you can do at home that will benefit your cycling?
Believe it or not there are advantages to training at home, the first one being it is more cost effective, and can be more time efficient. So, turbo trainers aside. Let's talk about the three best pieces of home workout kit that you can buy (in my opinion) and what exercises are beneficial to cyclists on them:
Let's get into it:
When it comes to training at home, many people think it is all bodyweight. And, while bodyweight is a very effective way to train. it isn't the be all and end all. There are several pieces of cost effective kit you can buy that will make your home sessions much more effective.
Two of my favourites are:
- Resistance bands: Cheap and effective elastic bands that can be wrapped around doors and stood on to create a feeling of resistance when performing movements like squats, shoulder press and rows.
- Swiss balls: Large inflatable balls that can be used for core work, leg work and a whole manner of exercises.
- The third piece of kit will be your own body, as there are plenty of outside the box ideas that can drastically improve your cycling performance.
So, what are my top three exercises for these pieces of kit?
Let's start with resistance bands. and for me, one of the best ways these can be used is to increase the quality of our posture. as cyclists (on and off road) we tend to spend a lot of time with our shoulders forwards, this is also doubled if you have a computer based job.
*It should also be noted here that this applies to 99% of other sports*
This means that the more time we spend with our shoulder forwards, the weaker the muscles that hold us in a more upright position will get. This will result in a permanent rounding of the shoulders, meaning your will suffer from something call kyphosis. Essentially when you look slumped forwards all the time.
One great exercise to remedy this is the resistance band face pull (pictured above). It works the muscles in the top of your back that help develop your posture and make you stand more upright.
Definitely a must do for any cyclist, and arguably any athlete.
Moving onto the swiss ball:
Core training is often thought of as guys on beaches with great abs, and training for this has to be awful dieting and tonnes of sit ups.
Proper core training, the type that actually develops the bodies ability to perform is actually much more important, and interesting than this.
It is also incredibly important to cyclists and runners.
Changes in the trail, the sudden movement of avoiding a tree, casing a jump or handling the bike on a long downhill are all ways your core will be working on a mountain bike.
On the road side of things, I don't need to tell you about the conditions of our roads do I?
Dodging pot holes and the like will also be much more safe with a strong core.
For running, keeping a strong posture is also important especially when the body begins to tire.
One of my favourite ways to keep a strong core on a swiss ball is the hand plank.
Essentially hold a plank position, with out stretched arms on a swiss ball.
Once you have got the hang of this, try rolling it around to create more difficulty.
For my advanced clients I will even slap the ball around while they are balancing on it, this simulates the adaption to the unknown changes in the trail that we all experience when doing our sport.
A great exercise to strengthen the core with a swiss ball.
Moving onto the last one then, your own bodyweight:
When training with bodyweight it is very easy to think press up, squats and not much else. But if you take the time to think outside the box you can create some awesome movements.
One of my favourite bodyweight movements is the pistol squat. This is essentially a one legged squat where the other leg points forwards (pictured below in an advanced stage of the movement):
Don't be put off by the picture though. You can do this in an easier form by using a dining room chair to limit the depth, that way you can squat down with less depth, gaining confidence in your legs before going lower, and then removing the safety net all together.
The pistol squat is a great exercise for developing leg strength, but also knee stability. Especially important for cyclists when putting the power down, riding technical terrain or for runners who run trail a lot.
And as such, is one of my favourite exercises to do with clients.
There you go, home training. It can be effective and interesting if you just think outside the box.
I really hope you enjoyed the content of this blog.
Feel free to check out some of my success stories if you feel this has given you a taste of what you could achieve with a proper plan in place.
Have a great day.