It’s easy to forget the need to be stable on your bicycle during this time. Stability helps racers maintain their position in the pack. If you’re riding in a group and you’re getting fatigued, a loss of stability can make you unsafe in the group. “We’re trying to teach you, when you’re fatigued, to fire the muscles that you need to produce stability on the bike,” says Menachem Brodie, a long-time cycling coach and owner of Human Vortex Training.
Brodie generally likes to give this routine to his athletes in April, when they are nearing the end of their maximal strength work and getting ready for the height of the race season.
Five or six rounds and you’re pretty much done. That said, Brodie recommends against going to failure. As soon as your power drops off, you should stop.
This workout needs to be done inside with some open space, a six-inch box or step,
and a bike on a trainer or some sort of exercise bike:
1. After a 15-minute warm-up on the bike, do a five-minute dynamic warm-up off the bike that includes leg swings, easy lunge walks, or hops.
2. Line up in front of a box or step, put your hands on your hips and jump up onto the box. Repeat for a total of four jumps, making sure to step down from the box, not jump down.
3. Immediately get on your trainer. Use a medium gear. Slowly ramp up the speed for about five to fifteen seconds. Then hook the pinky and ring fingers underneath your hoods, bracing your midsection, pulling your shoulder blades and elbows back and down to “lock in” your upper body and hips into the saddle.
4. Stomp down on the pedals as hard as you can for five seconds seated. Keep your midsection braced, so your hips and ribs are locked together.
5. Repeat the ramp-up and stomps three times and then ride nice and easy for two minutes until your heart rate comes back down.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 four to six times.
7. Finish with a five-minute cooldown on the bike.
After you’ve completed the ride, get off the trainer and do one set of five McGill crunches, holding each for five to eight seconds. Then do a 30-45 second side plank, each side, with the top foot forward.
Trevor Connor is a long-time cycling coach and elite racer. He holds degrees in exercise physiology and nutrition from Colorado State University.