5 Essential Gym Exercises For Weedy Road Cyclists

– This might be the only
gym video on YouTube that’s not about getting buff,
ripped, shredded and hench. Instead, it’s about getting stronger. Hopefully. (smooth music) (energetic techno music) – Cyclists are not renowned as being a particularly
muscled and buff crowd, even if you wouldn’t get that impression from the two you see before you now. There is a good reason for cyclists to have such slender upper
bodies, and that is because arms don’t really make you go any faster. In fact, these rippling, bulging biceps would just be slowing Ollie down. – Yeah, that’s why I’m so slow. – Exactly. However, there are times where even we have to
admit that being weedy is something of a
hindrance even on the bike, and you can also get
strong without adding bulk. – One thousand and one, one thousand and two. So, coming up are five essential exercises that will hopefully make
you stronger on the bike. Instructing us today is Carl
Constanza of Stanza Fitness. Carl understands the needs of cyclists, as before he became a fitness coach, Carl raced as a top level
downhill mountain biker, racing nationally and abroad. We’ll give you example repetitions, and sets for each
exercise, but before we do, it’s important to stress that to provide maximum
benefit and avoid injury, the key thing is correct technique, and getting the movement right. Only go up in load or weight when you can perform an exercise
confidently and correctly. (smooth music) – First of all, what we’re going to do is start off with a Bulgarian split squat. – Okay. – The reason we’re going to
do that is it’s good exercise. It works your legs unilaterally, and also is good for your
balance and stability. What I would like you to do is step out into the
middle of the platform. – Yep. – Put one leg up onto
the box, or the bench, raise your left arm up
into the air, lock it out. – Okay. – Then, travel down, keeping
your weight on the heel, and the middle of your foot,
and then drive straight up. Lovely.
– Okay. How’s that? – That’s not bad. Let’s get five reps. – Five?
– Yeah, five. – What’s that dumbbell, like 20 kilos? – I’m pretty sure it’s one. – Okay. – Good, one more. Excellent, and rest. Lovely. Okay? Not bad. Good?
– Yeah. Oh, it’s five. It’s five kilos. (smooth music) – So, the next exercise is a step up, and what that’s predominately
working is your quads, your hamstrings, and your glutes. So, what I’d like you to do is if you’d just take
yourself in front of the box. There we go. Okay. Put your leg up onto the
box, your leading leg. That’s correct. Lean into it ever so slightly
to load up your front leg, keep your chest up, and
then drive off the center to the the heel of your foot. Okay, touch your foot down, which will help with your balance, tip forwards ever so slightly
to load up the front leg, and then slowly down. Okay, if you’d go slower,
it’ll help with your stability. Just falling down into it as well will jar the right leg that’s coming down, so lean into it, put
the weight on the heel, and the middle of your
foot, pick your chest up, which will also help
give you a neutral spine. Okay, and then drive up off the front leg. That’s better. Touch the right leg down. Again, keep the chest up,
slowly down, find the floor. That’s better, much better control. Lean into it, load up. Good, and then slowly back down. Excellent. (smooth music) Next exercise we’re going to do
is going to be a dumbbell row. This is predominately
working your upper body. We’re going to be aiming for your lats, also it’s going to work
part of your biceps, and then also your core,
which is from there to there, all the way around 360. – Okay. – What I need you to do is
you’re just going to take up a parallel stance with the bench. – Yep. – Hinge forward, put your
hand down, pick your chest up, and maintain a neutral spine. So, if you could just
do that for me first. – All right. – Once you’re in this
position, that’s correct, what you want to do is pick your chest up. That will then allow you to
get a nice neutral spine, okay? You don’t want to have a
curvature in your back, so if you then hold your chest up, and then now what you want to do is put a slight bend in your
knees, drop down a little bit. That’s right. Then, holding on to the dumbbell, what you’ll do is grab
the dumbbell for me, have it slightly out in front of you, and then lead with your
elbow up to your hip. So, five reps for me. Good, slowly down, not too fast. Excellent. If you sort of sat down quite
a lot in sedentary positions, whether that’s for a job, or even when you’re sitting
down a lot with cycling, there’s not any kind of resistance there. So, by doing this, it’s
creating resistance, which will then build up
muscles in those areas, but it’s only as good as how
good you’re doing the exercise. You want to do it with
efficient movement patterns, and perfect execution. And rest. Cool, good. (smooth music) Next exercise. So, we’re going to do an inverted row, which is predominately
working your upper body, your back and also your grip strength. So, what I would like you to
do is go underneath the bar with your feet facing out
this way, slowly down. Watch your head. So, what you need to aim for
is bringing your body down, and your chest in line with the bar. Okay? Hold on to the bar, shoulder width apart, and you can look for the
smooth part and the rough part, and that typically will be
where the rough part is. The grip that I want you to
do is reverse grip, okay? So, that’s it. Just underhand, underhand. Good, okay. Now, we want to go vertically up, so pull your chest directly
up towards the bar, and then look to squeeze your
shoulder blades together. Good, very nice. Go slowly down, that’s
it, and then back up. Three. Four. Good, one more. Excellent, good, and
then rest on the bottom. So, when you’re doing it, it’s important to come down
nice and steadily as well, because then the muscle is under tension. If you come down too quickly, the muscle isn’t under
tension for long enough, so just up, nice and explosively, and then slowly on the way down. All right? (energetic music) Next exercise is going
to be the walking lunges. What we’ll do is we’ll use a kettlebell, unilaterally on one side of your body, just to challenge your
stability and balance. The areas this is working is your glutes, your hamstrings and your quads. – Okay. – Then, also your core as well, as you’ve got the kettlebell, which is going to be offset for stability. – Okay. – Lovely. So, kettlebell just up to the top, keep your elbow up, and the
kettlebell close to your body. That’s correct. Chest up as always with
the other exercises, and then steadily forwards. That’s good. Excellent. One more step. Then, just change arms, and to make it a bit
more difficult for you, ’cause you look like
you’ve got control of that, what I want you to do is opposed to going
foot together, like so, I just want you to step into
the next step, all right? So, you just go straight forward like so. That’s it, and then straight
up into the next one. You can still move fairly slowly with it, so you’ve got control. That’s right, and big drive
up off that front leg, nice and explosive. Good, one more. I think that was probably cheating. (chuckling) – So, there you have it. Five essential exercises
to help weedy cyclists become slightly less weedy, and improve that strength on the bike. – Thanks, Carl.
– Absolutely, yeah. Not a problem at all. Definitely those exercises will help with your performance on the bike, and also, hopefully avoid injury. – If you found this video
useful, and you’ve enjoyed it, then please give it a thumbs up, and for more cycling fitness content, you can click on my guns. (laughing)

100 thoughts on “5 Essential Gym Exercises For Weedy Road Cyclists

  1. Do you pump iron to help you ride faster? Which exercises do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below 🏋️‍♂️

  2. 8:24 Nice bit of editing magic going on there…looks like that kettlebell went from 24 kg to about 4 kg in the blink of a camera. That or Si has a huge upperbody and dwarfs the 24 kg bell

  3. First thing nice socks Si. I do 2 times a week a power training 3 muscle group at time and core training. Maybe i'm not the fasted but i like it.

  4. Well this was fun to watch but I missed some explanation on which kind of exercise really helps you on the bike or how it does prevent injury. I cycle and hit the gym regularly and have built some nice amount of upper body muscles, but I don't do any leg exercises in the gym as I don't feel feel that it would help me with cycling except for sprinting and I usually don't sprint 😀 I think if you usually don't go to the gym regularly, it is best to do full body exercises. Btw. you don't necessarily build a ton of muscles if you lift weights. I'm 1,76m tall and weigh around 63kg of which 3-4kg are probably upper body muscles that I wouldn't have if not for working out in the gym. That weight might be ballast for a pro cyclist…but most ppl are just MAMILS 😉

  5. Bunch of shit excercises – dont know who picked them. If you bike, do kettlebell swing [mtb especially], barbell excercises for chest [yes, barbell so you get mass], pull ups both grips, arnolds for shoulders, and obviously – squats with barbell.

  6. If I had to recommend a single exercise, it would be deadlift. Deadlift is the most fundamental thing there is: picking a weight off the ground. That works the entire posterior chain, which is very useful in cycling as well in every day life. Deadlift will prevent you from hurting your back lifting bag of groceries or putting in window air conditioners, but it also works the exact same set of muscles you use climbing out of the saddle. After a few months of deadlifts and squats, it felt like I was on an ebike on short hill climbs.

    Except for the omission of deadlifts, the lifts recommended in this video make sense. I would like to point out something about the box step ups, though. The biceps femoris has two movement functions. It both flexes the knee, which is of only minor importance in cycling, and it extends the hip, which is very important. The biceps consists of two parts, the "short head", which does knee flexion and the "long head" which does hip extension. To work the long head, the box you use for step ups has to be quite tall, so your knee join is thoroughly flexed when you put your foot up. If the box is not tall enough, you'll be working your quads, which as a cyclist are probably already plenty strong.

    I do barbell squats for working the biceps long head, but I go lower than most people do because I've got unusually good hip flexibility. You will know if you go low enough because you'll feel it in the part of the biceps just under the glutes. But you should learn this with a trainer because bad form can lead to knee injuries. Box step up is a good and safe alternative for biceps training, although as a more compound movement squat does more for you. Again you will know you're doing it right because of burn and fatigue in the extreme upper rear of the leg.

    Another thing to consider is pylometrics: jumping up onto the box. This will help train explosive power for sprinting. Another technique to use if you are doing barbell squats is to periodize — don't continually push heavy weights, but spend a few weeks now and then lifting lighter weights with explosive speed.

  7. When Ollie said to click on his guns. I'm surprised post production didn't put some knotted string over his arm. I'd love to see these two do 1 day of training with Nino Schurter. See if they are better than Neil and Blake.

  8. Is Ollie the new Ron Burgundy? 1001, 1002. Just watch out for the guns, they'll get ya. (Bulgarian split squats are the work of the devil.)
    I've just noticed Ollie has odd socks on, does he need to join the GCN sock club?

  9. Great video!
    I just go to gymnastics for my strength training… Maybe not as refined for the movemtens in cycnlibg, but pretty good for overall strength.

  10. My top 5 additions: hex-bar deadlifts, power cleans, dead bar rows, Romanian deadlifts and of course, back squat. As someone who does a bit of weightlifting, I can say that given enough time there are tangible improvements to your power produced on the bike. My 5 second and 1 minute powers have massively increased and my 5 minute power and FTP have increased moderately. Only downside: your climbing will suffer on super steep climbs if you put on too much extra weight. I'd say you'd want to limit muscle mass gains to ~5kg if you're a climber for the best bang for buck.

  11. looks like a nice grouping of exercises for flexibility balance and strength. going to get going on them on a daily basis.Thanks for the input.

  12. Enjoyed the video, simple, easy to execute exercises and I feel like I may finally have the confidence to supplement my riding with some gym workouts.

  13. I noticed Si came in some sort of running shoe. Did Ollie forget his at home as those are causal looking adidas?

  14. Kettlebells exercises such as the swing, clean, snatch, Turkish get ups are great exercises for transferring across to the bike.

  15. Body shape is a result of adaptation to a certain activity. If you ride like 50 km every day and climb like crazy, there is no chance in hell you will be bulky.

    Well, of course there are always exceptions…like a certain Mr. Sagan

    P.S. Dumbel rowing is ok but for cyclists rowing machine would be better, rest of the exercises are spot on

  16. Okay serious question… Did Si do ballet when he was younger? The position his hand took under stress at 2:41 looked strikingly similar to that that of a ballet dancer doing barre work…

  17. If you did burpees as Warm-up you would add some upperbody pushing so the workout would be more rounded.

    Just my 2 Cents.

  18. Great video! this "muscles on cyclists are bad" diatribe needs to die. The name of the game is recomp. Replace fat with muscle and you're the same weight. Resistance exercises strengthen our bones so we age more gracefully. Also, there is evidence that our bodies adapt to cardio very quickly and there is only a finite amount of cardio you can do. Muscle is metabolically expensive, the more you have, the more calories you need to maintain. Love the suggested exercises! Unilateral exercises are wonderful for fixing imbalances, I think most of us have one stronger leg. Traditionally, rollers are used to address this but I'd rather not :p Compound exercises build your core. Stronger arms and core crate stability on the bike and help you spend more time in the saddle.

  19. "Tilt forward ever so slightly". Ollie bends in half. "Now come down slowly". Ollie drops down faster than Froomey pedalling whilst sitting on the top tube.

  20. Si! Not telling anybody what to shave or not but… not shaving the axels but the legs is like icing without cake. 🙂

  21. The first two were way too advanced for newbies, I'd advise starting much simpler with lunges and lower step ups, single leg half squats and calf raises. Where was the core routine, absolutely critical to cyclists?

  22. Maybe I don’t love cycling 🚴🏼 after all. Can’t sacrifice my muscles 💪 for this discipline. Love hate relationship.

  23. …I will only say that GCN should have opted to use "stunt doubles" with a bit of actual upper body mass instead of Ollie and Si… Would have kept me from looking for the eye bleach…

  24. A video on running for cyclists? And NOW a video on… pumping iron? It's almost as if GCN is interested in us viewers getting fit!

  25. Warming up core excersices
    1. Plank 3×40 sec
    2. Hoover+side steps 3×40 sec
    3. Plate woodchoppers 4×15 each side
    4. Reverse woodchoppers 4×15 each side

    1. back squats and/or front squats
    2. Deadlift and/or sumo deadlifts
    3. Kettlebell swings
    4. Barbell hang clean and press
    5. Walking lunges
    6. Bent over row
    7. Barbell push press
    All excersices 3×8 rest 1 minute.

    This is one of the many examples I can give. Little bit of advanced excersices but with all these explosive excersices you gain so much strength (no bulk).

  26. If I was a tinpot dictator I'd make split squats a form of torture in my prison camps. My prisoners would all have quads of steel but they'd tell me anything I wanted to know.

  27. being buff on a bike has its advantages… the added air resistance created from deploying ones rippling biceps as air brakes when hurtling down a steep hill ensures the speed limit is observed at all times officer

  28. Steep hills are great cases for upper body strength. If you can resist the sideways wagging caused by your monster torque, you'll be more efficient, last longer, win glories, marry models etc etc.

  29. exercises while incarcerated ,no equipment, gym membership etc required. Marking time (marching in one spot) Soccer kicks (stationary) Telemarking (stationary)

  30. I have very good stamina and it helps in the gym. I'm ready for my next set in like 10 seconds… plus I can take in more air on big pushes than most people can, maximizing my power more. Good stamina helps strengthen be more effective and sustainable.

  31. The presenters sitting in a restaurant drinking beer and talking about an upcoming grand tour = dream job. But after watching this video, I'm not so sure if I should apply for a job at GCN….

  32. Just do high bar squat, front squat, box jumps if you want to be a faster cyclist. If all you want is that. No bullshit. Gonna look weird though with larger quads and skinny everything else

  33. I can just imagine the producer coming into the studio a few weeks ago and asking everybody to take off their shirt, then picking the two with the skinniest arms and saying, "OK, Si and Ollie, here's a video we want you to do. Oh yeah, and this is Carlo."

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