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 GymPhoto: Shutterstock

Training for an upcoming race usually involves hours of outdoor training on the bike, but indoor training in the gym could serve to improve cycling strength as well.

A large aspect of gym exercises is strength training, which is necessary in any sport to improve performance, even an endurance sport like cycling. As cycling requires a certain amount of strength for pedaling, especially when doing so uphill or at speed, gaining strength is crucial to improving cycling performance.

While most people tend to place their focus on the legs, the core muscles of the body are just as, if not more, important to help you push through a long cycling race. The core muscles, which are the abs and lower back, are vital for all movements required in cycling.

The next time you head to the gym, perform these exercises to train the muscles you need to do well in your next bike race:

GymPhoto: Shutterstock

Requiring no equipment and little space, crunches work out your abs, which are part of your core muscles. Keeping your back on the ground, bring your shoulders four to six inches up and hold for a few seconds before laying back down.

This fairly simple position is nevertheless rewarding as it tackles the abs, upper and lower back! The plank helps to build strength and muscle endurance required for maintaining the same position on a bike over a long period of time.

Cyclists often experience aches in the lower back after long hours of cycling, which isn’t surprising considering the stagnant position they have to maintain on the bicycle. Deadlifts would help strengthen the back to prevent or lessen the lower backaches cyclists’ regularly have.

Scissors Kick

This comprehensive movement connects the key cycling muscles – abs, hip flexors, inner and outer thighs – to achieve a proper and efficient pedal stroke. Depending on your fitness levels, you can decide how high you want to lift your legs off the ground while you’re carrying out the move.

GymPhoto: Shutterstock

This can be done with or without weights, as the move works out the glutes and thighs. Lunges are a simple exercise that builds muscle without leading you to bulk up too much.

Calf raises
Similar to lunges, calf raises can be performed with or without weights, and is a great way to strengthen lower leg muscles. Stronger calves allow you to increase your cadence to twirl the pedals more quickly, and provide more power when pedaling.
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