Gym workout for cyclists: how to improve your cycling while off the bike

Among the wide spectrum of endurance sports, cycling is certainly among the most populated and loved by both professional athletes and amateurs. A sport that boasts fans of all ages and levels, it also requires those who practice it constant and specific training.

If a cyclist is definitely willing to spend hours and hours on the saddle, sometimes breaking the routine of classic workouts may be the best way to turn your performance around. Although training on the bike is the best way to get ready for competitions, elite athletes also cram in their training schedule numerous sessions in the gym, so to achieve optimal fitness.

The alternative: SKILLATHLETIC

Whether it is a too cold or too rainy day to get out, or maybe you just want to take off your helmet and technical shoes and leave your bike in the garage, SKILLATHLETIC training proves to be an excellent alternative gym workout for cyclists. Each SKILLATHLETIC class is designed to provide athletes with a gym workout that is inspired by sports and is meant to improve the 4 Pillars of sports performance.
Experience the various classes and find out which are your strengths or weaknesses, so that you can focus on how to improve your cycling performance. Not only will you get out of the monotony of the usual road training, but you will also build a solid foundation for optimising your performance.

With time, that long climb that has always seemed steep and unbearable to you with traditional cycling training, after a few SKILLATHLETIC sessions, will become as easy as a walk!

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The objectives of a perfect gym workout for cyclists

In order to assess what the best gym workout for cyclists may be, it is important to assess what the training objectives of a cyclist are. Cyclists may seek to improve different performance areas, ranging from increased cardiovascular resistance to core mobility. We can segment these different areas of improvement as such:

Cardiovascular endurance

Cycling is an endurance sport, there’s no denying it. Road cycling requires effort that lasts for hours and hours without stopping. The body must be able to withstand this intensity throughout the course, requiring maximum efficiency from the heart and lungs.

A gym workout for cyclists designed to improve Stamina is based exactly on stimulating the body to use aerobic mechanisms and adapt it to prolonged efforts. Stamina can be increased by more than solitary cardio sessions.

Circuit HIIT classes, Skillathletic’s Boost, for example, provide a total body training, combining cardio activities with resistance training. The relatively brief duration of these classes, where no or small breaks in between make the class no longer than 40 minutes, require your blood and oxygen-transporting organs to work continuously.

With this type of training, the heart will adapt positively, decreasing the heartrate at rest and increasing the systolic range, or the amount of blood your heart can pump at each beat. In this way, you will save energy by increasing the performance of the work. Furthermore, your blood vessels will also adapt, increasing the blood distribution network and supporting the muscles during the effort.

Muscular Strength

Speaking about muscles involved, what sets the bike in motion is mainly the work of legs muscles. A cyclist’s legs are by definition very strong, but the most fundamental aspect is their ability to express strength continuously, without incurring into excessive fatigue. This is where a gym workout for cyclists comes into play. If you initially need to work on maximum strength to have a solid starting point, then you need to train your muscular strength resistance. To do this, you need to do exercises with loads that allow you to do at least 15/20 repetitions, stimulating muscular strength resistance.
Once again, all Skillathletic workouts have a Build work block, which is not only ideal to learn or practice the exercises of the next workout block, but also to develop strength endurance with lower loads and more repetitions. Each class has a different Build block: experiment with all of them and calculate the perfect percentage of your maximum to be able to perform as many repetitions, training your muscle endurance.

Power

However, a cyclist cannot only be strong, but powerful as well. What differentiates a strong athlete from a powerful one is the speed with which he can express his energy. With an average of 80/90 pedals per minute, strength is not enough to be efficient for a cyclist. Indeed, an effective cyclist must be able to transmit as much power to the pedals, as quickly as possible.
Power is also important when it comes to uphill sprints. The more your legs are trained to express great strength in a short time, the more the great slopes will not be a problem during your cycling sessions. Weightlifting sessions with few, explosive repetitions at maximum weight are an excellent method to develop power. Going back to Skillathletic Brave and Mighty are the two key classes in which the Power Pillar is always trained and either of them can be a good gym workout for cyclists. Exercises such as kettlebell swing or squat jump stimulate the muscles of the lower limbs to express strength with very explosive gestures, training strength at its maximum speed of expression. Becoming familiar with the exercises proposed by this gym workout for cyclists allows increasing the power of most muscle districts, improving the quality of muscle contractions required during cycling.
During the Brave classes, for example, you can train your Stamina and Power in two different sessions. Though shorter than the usual cycling session, this gym workout for cyclists, it’s going to take intense minutes to complete this class, putting a strain on your strength and endurance, both physical and mental.

Stability and Flexibility

As with many other sports, we must keep in mind that our body is a unique organism that always works in its entirety, despite the fact that in some disciplines some muscle districts are more involved than others are. In cycling, it is the case of the lower limbs, which as we have already pointed out are at the centre of sports performance. Limiting yourself to training only your legs, however, would be a serious mistake not only for the health of your body, but also for the risk of having an inefficient physique on the practical side of performance.
Training your body's stability through core workouts allows your muscles to work in total synergy. Abdominal exercises, both static as the plank, and dynamic as the Russian twist or sit up, make your core stronger. In addition, abdominal training on unstable surfaces such as the balance dome or the wellness ball simulates the dynamic condition of the cyclist. Every moment, in fact, the body is subjected to imbalances that must be countered by continuous contractions of the core muscles that allow the athlete to remain stable in the saddle.

Stability and flexibility should never be overlooked. While stability is often the focus of the average gym workout for cyclist, the second fundamental skill, flexibility, is mistakenly neglected most of the time. Always remember that constant flexibility and muscle mobility training results in more efficient, healthy and balanced muscles. In a "cyclic" sport like cycling, the repeated action of the same gesture leads our muscles and tendons to adapt in a negative way.

Our body recognizes in which range of motion we are working and gradually tends to shorten the muscle for those angles of work that does not consider important for the purpose of the technical gesture. What may seem like an efficient choice for our body, is actually a risk to the health of muscles that lose elasticity and stiffen every day more!

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