Cycling is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise without question.
Countless studies have shown a direct link between cycling and a fall in the likelihood of developing such conditions as heart disease, brain disease, diabetes and more.
But the current global situation means many cyclists aren't getting in as many hours of exercise as they would have liked. Which for the hardcore cyclists amongst you can be a really difficult adjustment!
Beyond indoor cycling kits (home bikes or rollers are working wonders right now) there are things you can do to keep your cycling legs and the rest of your body in tip-top condition, ready to hit the open road once again once all of this is over.
It won't be the same as actually riding a bike, but then again, nothing comes close to the real thing does it?
Here are 5 home exercises for cyclists:
Where would world fitness be without the classic squat?
A common warm up practice in many sports and disciplines, the humble squat is one of the most effective ways to give your legs an excellent workout and get your blood flowing to where it needs to go in order to help your legs continue to move. It’s also great for loosening up your knee joints if you suffer from stiffness or pain in these areas.
To perform a squat, simply stand your feet shoulder length apart, bend your knees until your legs form (approximately) a right angle, and spring straight back up. It’s that simple!
Do this a few times to help stretch your legs before a session, or quite a few more times if you want to use squats as your full workout. But don’t forget to keep your back and your head as straight as possible!
If you want to make it even more of a challenge, try holding the squat for 5-10 seconds before rising again. This will help you build control and stamina in your thigh muscles.
Perfect for those long hill climbs!
Running on the Spot
While squats are great for working a very refined set of leg muscles, running is ideal for working all parts of the leg simultaneously.
Another excellent method of retaining and building stamina, running will give you an overall workout that’s up there with the best of them.
However, if you’re concerned about going out with all the current events, running on the spot or running in your garden is a suitable substitute.
It’ll get your legs moving, your blood pumping and, if you do it enough, can simulate the heart rate you’d experience in the saddle of your bike.
Stretches have been an integral part of warm up and cool down routines for as long as any of us can remember. They help the muscles relax and can prevent significant injury.
Lunges are a common part of this and have a whole host of amazing benefits for the body.
As well as helping keep the legs and the body flexible and free-moving, they act as excellent toning mechanisms for both your calves, thighs and abdominal muscles amongst others; All essential parts of the body to keep in shape if you hope to be a world-class cyclist.
Simply bend one knee, keeping your foot flat on the ground and your other leg straight behind you, and lean into the stretch.
You might think of touching your toes as more of a kids exercise than a serious workout for adults. But the reason it’s so widely used in PE classes across the country is because it encourages flexibility and supports the muscle groups across your lower abdomen and your back; All parts of the body to encourage if you want your kids to grow up big and strong!
Adults tend to struggle to complete toe touches as we’re a lot taller than children and have a much longer way to reach, but that doesn’t make it impossible!
If you struggle at first, continue trying to touch your toes in separate reaches. The relevant muscle groups should relax and loosen, allowing you to reach further each time.
Just as a cyclist needs a good amount of flexibility and looseness to keep those legs moving for hours as a time, you’ll need the same to touch your toes!
Now, speaking of flexibility…
On the face of it, Yoga will undoubtedly help increase your flexibility levels, allowing your body to move more easily when riding a bike.
But there are hidden benefits of yoga not everybody is aware of…
For starters, did you know Yoga is an excellent way to learn how to regulate your breathing? If we’re breathing too much or too little when riding, we’re expanding far more energy than we need to and we’ll hit our limits knowing we could have gone that much further.
Yoga also helps to relax the mind as well as the body; Maintaining your composure is an absolute must when you’re fighting through the pain to beat your personal best.
These are just a few examples of home exercises cyclists can use to stay in shape. But there are countless other options too. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
Then, when you finally get back to riding again, you won't have missed a single step!