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

  3. 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

  4. 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…

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

    Just my 2 Cents.

  6. 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.

  7. "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.

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

  9. 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?

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

  11. …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…

  12. 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!

  13. 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

    Strenght
    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).

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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….

  20. 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

  21. 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."

  22. Not a bad choice of exercises. Common people or amateur riders (even professional) shouldn't be afraid to gain some muscles and it doesn't matter whether you use some equipment or just bodyweight exercises. You get better posture, you are not so prone to injuries, in case of a fall the body is firmer so you might not break something, etc. Lots of benefits, not a single disadvantage.

  23. Hehe spaghetti guys…still comical though!

    I wonder if anybody actually compared decently strong gym goers with their usual exercises, doing some kind of bike race/test, with bike riders training in a gym their exercises…would normal guys beat bike guys in terms of power, speed etc on a fixed length race and various conditions, when we exclude pure endurance due to bike race length? So, short events, like 30 minutes max.
    Like, who would be better at 1000m climb of 10%, or 100m flat sprint etc…

  24. Other gym users were clearly intimidated by Si and Ollie's physiques and stature, and chose to stay away, well away. What other plausible explanation could there be?

  25. I'd recommend all those serious about their weight lifting/training to check out Jeff Cavaliere and his Athlean-X ; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe0TLA0EsQbE-MjuHXevj2A

  26. Guys, thank you for this video, I finally feel buff!
    …and I'm a quite slender female XD
    …this also probably explains why I'm not that fast on the bike 😀

  27. @GCN I get this video might have been done for promotional purposes but it adds the variety we are all screaming for.
    Keep it up. Don't be afraid to do things that don't involve them on their bikes as long as its related to road cycling. Cheers.

  28. I didn't know Ollie had such skinny arms. I always thought he was a much beefier lad given his looks and frame. Of course, the most ripped GCN presenter or should I say ex-presenter IMHO, was Matt Stephens. Matt is well toned and has good muscle definition. I really miss his laughter.

  29. Three best reasons to lift: 1) at the age of 40, you lose 1% of muscle mass a year. Need to stay ahead of that by adding muscle . 2) weight training adds mass to your bones as well, so it helps with regard to preventing injury 3) muscles burn calories. Fat doesn't.

  30. As an older guy my cycling has definitely benefitted from regular core, cardio and upper body strength gym routines. Nice video, keep it up guys and let’s see regular updates on your progress 😁👍🏻

  31. The dumbbell rows work out triceps not biceps. That’s generally the case with any back workout as they are pulling exercises which also require a good grip.
    For arms you want lean muscle with strength so stick to low weight do plenty of reps until muscle fatigue then drop weight and squeeze out the final few reps. Rest 2-3 mins then repeat 2 times.

  32. Your coach may have nice hair but it is hard to see what this set of exercises would do for you that would not be better done with push ups pull ups and… cycling. The push ups and pull ups will develop the shoulders and core really fast improving your stability posture and general robustness and cycling will strengthen your legs.

  33. Why no pushing exercise such as bench press, overhead press, military press, push ups, or dips?

    It appears that bulgarian split squats, step ups and lunges are redundant. All three of them are good unilateral exercises that combine balance with strength, and work the same muscles pretty similarly, and none of them is as good for building overall leg and body strength as is the good old fashioned high bar squat.

    I always thought that the dumbbell row and inverted row pretty much work the same muscles and that the inverted row is an exercise used to progress a pull up or chin up, i.e., the weakling's chin up.

    I am far from an elite biker, but I feel great glute activation and stronger on the bike a day after performing heavy dead lifts.

    There are many great exercises, but if I had to choose five, they would be squats, dead lifts, bench press, overhead press, and pull ups.

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