Power, we all want more. We are always trying to eek out a little bit more, whether it’s loosing weight to increase your power to weight ratio, whether its buying more aero kit, aero wheels, lighter bikes, we are always striving to achieving a little bit more. But what if you are missing the obvious. Power doesn’t just come from your legs… granted it’s where most of it comes from, but not all of it. It’s no good having huge powerful legs and being able to squat 120kg if you have no fitness. Or what if you are trying everything you can but your back let’s you down when the going gets tough? The key is to target more than just the legs and the bike. By targeting other key areas of your body can make you more powerful without having to do even more cycling.
You will have heard this a million times – Use your core, You will have seen riders sway up hills, rock on the saddle when trying to put the power down on the flat. Or simply collapsing in the middle. These are all tell tale signs that their core is weak or suffering from lack of strength. Not only can having a weaker core hinder how much power you are able to sustain but it can lead to injury too. If your legs are too strong for your core it can lead to back and hip problems. So building up this area of your body is no doubt of making your back and stomach stronger and being able to produce more power for longer.
So what other exercises are good for your cycling.
Running is a great way to improve your cycling for a few reasons. One is that it targets your high end fitness, running for 20-30 mins at a fast pace teaches you to hold a higher heart rate for a good length of time. This area of your aerobic system isn’t often worked this hard on the bike. Learning to open this up helps you to climb stronger for longer.
Try some alternative to standard squats, do squats that require balance and concentration. One leg squats for instance require quite a bit of balance and co-ordination. This helps to work the core and simulate when you would need to use your power. So when you are climbing on the bike or riding off road and need sudden instant power.
Balance board – Yoga
What’s this you ask. This is a really great way of working your core the fun way! By doing simple exercises on the board helps with suppleness, strength and core. Start with things like
Balancing on one leg -Sounds simple and easy to do but working this into a circuit of other poses makes it more difficult and as you get tired it is one effective way to build up balance and core strength.
Simple squats – Harder than it sounds and after 5 sets of 10 you’ll be sure to feel the effects the next day! By incorporating the balance board it makes it more difficult to get down and well as back up.
One leg knee raises. Pulling the knee up to the chest and then out to the side is quite a difficult move as the constant shift in weight makes it hard to maintain the balance.
Tree pose – By simply having to hold your arms in a different place and holding the post can bring a whole new dimension to the pose. It’s surprising how hard it is to put yourself in a different position whilst on one leg.
Lord of the dance pose – This is quite hard and can take a lot of practice, especially if you are quite stiff to begin with. Do what you feel comfortable with and work towards this pose as you get better and more flexible.
Left and Right bend – This is a simple pose, by sliding your hand down the side of your leg to your knee. you will find that by just by moving your weight in a different way can make it difficult, especially if you bend to the left, hold and then bend to the right. The shift in balance is hard to maintain.
Extended head to toe pose – Hold your leg out in front or to the side of your body and reach out with your hand towards your toes and hold. This one is another difficult one and requires flexibility and a lot of balance. Work towards holding this pose over time, You are not expected to do this immediately.