I work out with a personal trainer once a week. He understands that riding is a sport and how much strength, flexibility, and coordination is involved. We’ve been working together for a couple of years now, and he respects that certain exercises are particularly good for riding and others are bad. For example, running on the treadmill tightens my hips too much, so we don’t do that anymore (yea!). Below are some of the exercises that I’ve found particularly good.
1) Squats. The major muscle groups used during squats are the quadriceps and glutes. There are so many variations that can be incorporated to get even more out of them. My favorite is doing squats on a BOSU® (see www.bosu.com for more information), round side down, with about a 5-inch diameter ball in the middle. The goal is to do 20 reps without loosing the ball. These are especially good for working those small muscle fibers used in balance that don’t get worked often with other exercises. I call these BOSU and the egg squats. Other variations include using weights and doing curls, shoulder presses or other moves that allows the exercise to serve double-duty.
2) Don’t we all need more ab exercises?! This one I call stirring the pot. Get into plank position with your elbows resting on a stability ball. Use your arms to move the ball either clockwise or counterclockwise for 10 rotations then switch directions. Make sure your whole body doesn’t get into the motion.
3) I tend to have back pain. One exercise that actually makes my back feel better is a stability ball leg lift (I’ve also seen it called a “reverse hyper”). It involved lying over a stability ball with your hands flat on the floor and your legs straight behind you (keeping one line from head to toes); lift your legs up and back over your head, keeping the straight line from head to toes by bending your elbows and lowering your head. Do 20 reps. At first it may feel like you could flip over but that won’t happen.
I hope you find these exercises useful. It’s so hard fitting gym time in my otherwise busy schedule, and I can’t do a hard work out and then ride afterwards. On lesson days, I usually just do 30-min of cardio. On Bridget-ride-PJ days, I do about a 45-min workout. I think I am in better shape now (40 yo) than I was in my 20s, which is pretty cool.