April 24, 2024

Golden Age Golds

Take Advantages of Your GOLDEN AGE

The Best Workouts for the Time You Have

Despite every intention to get outside for a ride, something pops up—an issue with your bike, a scheduling snafu, or one of mother nature’s curveballs—and suddenly, the day gets turned upside down. You can accept defeat and scrap the workout altogether. Or, you can take the opportunity to fit in a time-effective strength-training routine, performed indoors and with minimal equipment.

With the help of two expert trainers, Garret Seacat, C.S.C.S., head coach at Absolute Endurance, and Wesley Showalter, C.S.C.S., a personal trainer based in Chicago who often works with cyclists, we created four different strength workouts to keep in your back pocket for when your riding plans get derailed.

You’ll find a quick bodyweight workout for when you only have 15 minutes. If you’ve got 30 minutes, you can choose from either an upper-body or lower-body routine. And if you have a solid hour, we’ve got a total-body workout that hits every major muscle group and gets you strong for your rides.

 

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Why Cyclists Need Strength Training

Showalter and Seacat agree that cyclists should be strength training regularly, not just when a ride falls through. “Ten years ago, if people asked, ‘Should I be lifting weights?’ The answer would’ve been, ‘No, don’t waste your time,’” Seacat says. “Now we’re seeing the data that shows that we do get positive results from strength training, and it’s a worthy use of our time.”

Seacat notes that strength training can improve pedaling efficiency and the transfer of power, and it can increase riders’ comfort levels on the bike. “The longer you’re riding, that’s when fatigue in the shoulders, back, and neck start to come into account,” Seacat says. Strengthening those upper-body muscles can make them more resistant to fatigue.

Strength training can also even out muscle imbalances that often lead to overuse injuries, and it can bolster your chances of walking away from a fall. “You have to take into consideration things like accidents and crashes and being able to absorb force,” Showalter says. “That’s where muscular power comes into play, being able to absorb and redirect force.”

Lifting twice a week is sufficient for most cyclists, though that can fluctuate depending on your training cycle. In the build-up to competition season, Seacat’s athletes tend to spend a little extra time in the gym—closer to three strength-training workouts a week. But when the season is in full swing, they typically cut back to one to two sessions per week.


What to Do When You have 15 Minutes

If you use your time wisely, you can get a lot done in 15 minutes. This full-body strength and mobility workout maximizes your time by using an easy-to-follow structure: Do each exercise in order for 45 to 50 seconds, using 10 to 15 seconds to rest and transition. You’ll do just one round of the 15 exercises.

Almost every movement uses just your body weight, so you don’t have to mess around with a lot of equipment. You’ll need a large resistance band, though, and an exercise mat and a timer are optional. Simply skip the band if you don’t have one.

15-Minute Indoor Strength Workout

emom workouts

Frank Baptiste

1. Over-Under Hurdle Walk

Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Moving toward the right, drive right knee up and over an imaginary hurdle, then drive left knee up and over the same imaginary hurdle. (You should step to the right.) Next, take a big step to the right, squatting to crouch under an imaginary hurdle, following the step with left foot so you stand tall on the opposite end of the mat. Repeat the sequence (going over and under an imaginary hurdle) moving toward the left. Continue alternating.

2. Air Squat

Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned slightly out. Send hips back and down to lower into a squat. Drive through feet to stand back up. Repeat.

3. Resistance Band Chest Opener

Start in a tall kneeling position, arms at sides. Grip the ends of a resistance band, palms down, and pull it apart to create tension. Keeping elbows straight and maintaining resistance on the band, lift arms overhead. Pull back on the back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Pause, then release the pull back and lower arms back down to sides. Repeat.

4. Push-Up

Start in a plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from head to heels. Bend elbows to lower to ground, maintaining straight line. Press back up. Repeat.

5. Alternating Reverse Lunge

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step back with right foot, both knees bending 90 degrees with right knee hovering just off the floor and front left knee over ankle. Drive through feet to stand back up, right foot stepping forward. Repeat on left side. Continue alternating.

6. 90-90 Seated Hip Rotation

Start seated with knees bent 90 degrees and feet planted hip-width apart. Lean back slightly and place hands behind you. Rotate knees to the right, placing them on the floor, so left shin is on the ground in front of you, and right shin is on the ground to your right side. Both knees should be bent 90 degrees. Without moving upper body, lift knees and take them through center, all the way to the left side of body into the opposite 90-90 position. Continue alternating.

7. Plank

Place hands directly under shoulders on floor and step back to straighten legs. Engage core, press through hands, and engage legs. Body should form a straight line from head to heels. Hold.

8. Alternating Lunge to Rotation

Start in a plank position. Step right foot forward, to the outside of right hand. Keep left (back) leg straight. Rotate torso to the right, and reach right hand toward ceiling. Pause. Return to plank. Then repeat on left side. Continue alternating.

9. Alternating Lateral Lunge

Stand with feet together. Take a big step to the left with left foot, right leg stays straight. Bend left knee and send hips back, weight in heel. Drive through left foot to stand back up and step together. Repeat on right side. Continue alternating.

10. T-Spine Rotation

Lie on right side, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet stacked. Extend arms out on floor, in line with shoulders, left arm stacked on top of right. This is your starting position. Keeping hips, knees, and feet stacked, open left arm like you’re turning the page of book, opening chest toward the ceiling, and placing left arm on floor behind you or as close as you can go. Pause. Then return to starting position. Repeat for 20-25 seconds. Then switch sides.

11. Close-Grip Push-Up

Start in a high plank position with wrists directly under shoulders (your hands should be closer than in a standard plank). Engage core, glutes, and thighs so body forms a straight line from head to heels. Keeping elbows tucked in close to torso, lower chest to floor. Immediately push up through the palms and straighten the elbows to return to plank. Repeat.

12. Figure-4 Stretch

Lie faceup. Place left ankle over right thigh. Grab back of right thigh with hands and lift right foot off floor to pull knee toward you. Hold for 20-25 seconds. Then switch sides.

13. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Lie face up, knees bent and feet planted. Lift right foot off floor. Drive through left foot and engage glutes to lift hips off floor. Keep core engaged; avoid lifting with low back. Pause, then lower hips back to floor. Repeat for 20-25 seconds. Then switch sides.

15. Cat Cow

Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists and knees under hips. Inhale and arch spine, dropping belly toward floor and look up toward ceiling for cow. Exhale and round spine, tucking chin and tailbone for cat. Continue alternating.

15. Bird Dog

Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists and knees under hips. With core engaged, shoulders and hips square to floor and back flat, extend right arm and left leg straight out, lifting to torso height. Pause, then return to all fours. Repeat with left arm and right leg. Continue alternating.


What to Do When You Have 30 Minutes

You have two options: an upper-body workout or a lower-body workout. Pick the one that makes sense within the larger framework of your training. For example, if you have a long ride planned for the next day, save your legs and opt for the upper-body workout. (But definitely find another time during the week to target your lower body.)

For each workout, you’ll need an exercise mat and a set of dumbbells (pick a weight that’s challenging but doable). For the upper-body workout, you’ll also need a bench. If you don’t have access to one, you can do the bench press from the floor.

Do 8-12 reps of each exercise in order as a circuit, completing 3 rounds. Rest as needed during the transition periods.

Upper-Body 30-Minute Strength Workout

dumbbell push workout, seesaw chest press

Noam Tamir

1. Bench Press

Lie faceup on bench (or floor), feet planted, with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing away from you, elbows bent and weight held at shoulders. Keeping back flat and core engaged, slowly press the weights straight up, weights over shoulders. Slowly lower back down. Repeat.

2. Single-Arm Bent-Over Supported Row

Stand with feet hip-width apart, dumbbell in left hand. Hinge forward at waist by sending butt straight back, back flat. Step left foot back and place right hand or forearm on right thigh. This is your starting position. With shoulders packed, pull left weight to hip, keeping elbow close to side for row. Slowly lower back down, arm extending, to starting position. Repeat for reps. Then switch sides.

3. Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Overhead Press

Start kneeling, left knee down and right foot planted in front of you, both knees bent 90 degrees. Hold dumbbell in left hand at shoulder, palm facing forward. With core engaged and chest tall, shoulder packed, drive dumbbell straight overhead, bicep by ear. Slowly lower back to shoulder. Repeat.

4. Chest Fly

Lie faceup on a bench or the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, arms straight with weights together above chest. With core engaged and slight bend in elbows, lower weights down and out to the sides. Pause, then lift back up and together. Repeat.

5. Skull Crusher to Close-Grip Floor Press

Lie faceup on bench or floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, and extend arms above chest. Slowly bend elbows to lower dumbbells down toward the top of the head, keeping elbows over shoulders. Press weights back up, extending elbows and pressing weights together. With control, bend elbows and lower weights down toward chest, keeping dumbbells together. Pause, then press back up. That’s 1 rep. Repeat sequence.

Lower-Body 30-Minute Strength Workout

single leg deadlift

Adam Hoff

1. Squat

Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned slightly out. Hold a set of dumbbells at shoulders, elbows bent. Send hips back and down to lower into a squat. Drive through feet to stand back up. Repeat.

2. Single-Leg Deadlift

Stand on left leg, right foot lifted off floor and slightly behind you. Hold a dumbbell in each hand or one dumbbell in right hand. Keeping weight in left leg, knee slightly bent, hinge at hips, sending butt straight back and lowering torso toward floor with back flat and core engaged for the deadlift. Keep weight(s) close to left leg. Right leg raises behind you. Drive through left foot to stand back up. Repeat for reps. Then switch sides.

3. Split Squat

Stand with feet staggered, left leg in front and right leg behind, right heel off the ground. Lower into a lunge position, both knees bending 90 degrees. (Adjust feet if too wide or narrow.) Drive through feet to stand back up. Repeat for reps. Then switch sides.

4. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Lie face up, knees bent and feet planted. Lift right foot off floor. Place a dumbbell on left hip. Drive through left foot and engage glutes to lift hips off floor. Keep core engaged; avoid lifting with low back. Pause, then lower hips back to floor. Repeat for 20-25 seconds. Then switch sides.

5. Cossack Squat

Stand with feet wide. Send butt back and bend right knee, weight shifting to right leg. Keep left leg straight and pivot left foot to lift toes off ground. Keep weight in right heel. Pause. Then come through center to straighten right leg and bend left knee, sending butt back and pivoting on right foot to lift toes off ground. Continue alternating.


What to Do When You Have 60 Minutes

This strategic, hour-long workout alternates between upper-body and lower-body exercises, which allows one muscle group to work while the other rests.

You’ll need at least one set of dumbbells that’s heavy enough to challenge you, especially during the last few reps. The alternating, single-arm incline bench press and the lateral step-up require an adjustable bench, but if you don’t have access to one, you can do the bench press from the floor and use any stable, flat, elevated surface for the step-up.

Do 8-12 reps of each exercise in order as a circuit, completing 3 rounds. Rest as needed during the transition periods.

60-Minute Indoor Strength Workout

lunges with weights

Julia Hembree Smith

1. Push-Up

Start in a plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from head to heels. Bend elbows to lower to ground, maintaining that straight line. Press back up. Repeat.

2. Single-Leg Deadlift

Stand on left leg, right foot lifted off floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand or one dumbbell in right hand. Keeping weight in left leg, knee slightly bent, hinge at hips, sending butt straight back and lowering torso toward floor with back flat and core engaged. Keep weight(s) close to left leg. Right leg raises behind you. Drive through left foot to stand back up. Repeat for reps. Then switch sides.

3. Sumo Squat

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out. Hold a set of dumbbells done in front of you. Send hips back and down to lower into a squat. Make sure knees stay over toes. Drive through feet to stand back up. Repeat.

4. Bent-Over Reverse Fly

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Hinge at hips, sending butt straight back, and maintain a flat back with core engaged. Extend arms down and pack shoulders down your back. This is your starting position. With a slight bend in elbows, lift arms up and out to the sides, squeezing shoulder blades together to perform the reverse fly. Pause, then lower weights back down to starting position. Repeat.

5. Walking Lunge

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, down by sides. Take a step forward with left leg and bend both knees 90 degrees to perform a lunge. Then drive through feet to stand up, stepping right foot and in front of left to perform another lunge. Continue walking forward.

6. Alternating Single-Arm Incline Bench Press

Set an adjustable bench to a moderate incline (between 15 and 30 degrees). Lie faceup on bench and lift both dumbbells above chest, elbows extended, palms facing away from you. With control, lower right hand to chest, then extend arm to push weight above chest. Repeat on left side. Continue alternating.

7. Lateral Step-Up

Stand with right side to the left of a box, bench, or chair. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, down by sides. Step right foot on top of box, then drive through right foot to stand on top of box, left knee driving up toward chest. Slowly lower back down. Repeat for reps. Then switch sides.

8. Hammer Curl

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward. Bend elbows to curl weights to shoulders. Slowly lower back down. Repeat.