It’s mid summer and you’re focusing on having a lightning fast cyclocross season chances are you’ve been ramping up on-the-bike training and intensity. This is also the time of year when most cyclocross racers start to do far less strength, balance and coordination training. There’s only so much time in the day, right? This means all the strength, balance and coordination you built during winter and spring is beginning to fade away. If you follow any of the top cyclists on social media you’ll notice many are doing lots of gym workouts during the race season to stay strong, fast and injury free. These athletes are lucky because training and recovery are their full time job. They have the time to go hard on the bike or in the gym, and then go home and take a nap. If you’re like most of us you are not so lucky!
Trying to work full time, do intervals and strength train can end up being counter productive, but that doesn’t mean you should stop. One of my little secrets back in the day was to bust out a 20 to 30 minute full body workout a couple times per week. I would do this in the gym or at home. Basically I was just trying to hit the whole body with some stimulation it might not be getting with just riding and running. This was done at about 75% of maximum effort.
Here is my suggestion for a great 20 to 30 minute circuit to keep your body strong without causing too much fatigue. Again as a reminder, we are trying to maintain strength here, not necessarily increase it.
This workout is based on time and perceived exertion. Each exercise should be done with proper form, complete range of motion and not to complete exhaustion. Basically you want to do repetitions until you feel a little burn, do a few more reps, and then move on to the next exercise. This should take about 30 minutes and can be incorporated most anywhere in your weekly training. I liked to do it after my hardest rides of the week because I usually had a recovery day or two afterwards.
I never really followed a strict routine and I would mix it up to keep things interesting as well as to stress my body differently. For example, one day I might do standard push-ups, but another day do push-ups on a balance device of some sort. Anyway, my point is you should feel free to mix it up!
Here is my suggested workout:
5 – 10 minute warm up of some kind. Could be jogging, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc. If you are doing this directly following a ride or run, you skip this and get after it.
1.) Push-ups: do reps until it burns a bit, then do 5 more.
2.) Swiss ball wall squats: 20-30 reps, full range of motion.
3.) Swiss ball crunches: reps until it burns, then 10 more. Bring feet together over time for more of a challenge.
4.) Swiss ball shoulder press: if you can’t do on your knees, start seated.
5.) Swiss ball hamstring curls:
10 reps double leg
Followed by 5-10 reps per leg
(this is more advanced so ease in to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDFc-zlSW_M )
6.) Swiss ball supermans: reps until it burns, then 5 more.
7.) Renegade rows: 10-15 / per side.
8.) Swiss ball lunges: 15-20 / per side.
9.) Swiss ball kneel and twist w/weight: 30- 40 twists.
Feel free to start off without weights. When you do use weight feel free to extend your arms outward while hold the weight and rotating. This will be more challenging. You could hold a dumbbell, weight, medicine ball or even a gallon water jug filled up to a weight that feels good for you.
10.) Dumbell row on Swiss ball: reps until it burns, then 10 more. Go slow and steady using your best form.
11.) Air squats with broomstick – reps until it burns, then 10 more.
12.) Swiss Ball Side Crunch – reps until it burns, then 5 more / per side.
Repeat these 12 exercises for three rounds. If you only have time for two rounds, no problem! If you want to do four rounds, go for it! Keep the pace up without too much rest. You may have notice a bit of a pattern with the exercises, too. Upper body, lower body, core – upper body, lower body, core – upper body, lower body, core. I bring this up because you can feel free to substitute other exercises if you’d like just be sure to hit the right areas.
Remember we are only trying to help you maintain the strength and stability you have worked so hard to build up for season.
Now, get to work!