Putting out your best power on the bike requires plenty of force being applied to, and through, the pedals. These four warm-up exercises will help wake up your backside and loosen up your hips so you can be more explosive, safer, and train longer in the saddle. Several weeks ago I explained my running warm-up routine, so it’s only natural I share my bike routine as well!
This move will activate your core and help protect your hips and your spine. You’ll start on all-fours with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees directly under your hips.
Take a deep breath and inhale in bringing your belly button as high up possible. Hold for a few seconds. Arch your spine when you exhale out and make a valley between your shoulders. Repeat that inhale/exhale rotation making a hill with your spine on the inhale and a valley when you exhale.
The purpose of this exercise is to prep the core. It also gets the spine moving to help you feel more fluid in the saddle which is critical when you’re in the aero position. Perform 10 to 12 reps of this exercise.
Start in the same position as the Cat-Camel exercise, on all-fours. Take one leg up, out, around, and down. Perform 10 reps on each leg in each direction. Much like the move above, hip rotations will eliminate any stiffness you feel in the hip flexors and allow for a more efficient pedal stroke.
Hip Extension to Overhead Reach
This exercise will activate your glutes while simultaneously stretching your hip flexors. To begin, sit back with your butt on your heels, hands relaxed out in front of you. Extend forward leading with your hips and squeeze your glutes. Raise your hands overhead.
It’s important to know that your hip flexors attach at the hip and also in your lower back area. Therefore it’s essential to really accentuate the hip movement. Perform 12 reps of this exercise.
Lateral Band Walk
If you’ve been following this blog for a while you know this is one of my favorite exercises, both pre-workout and intra-workout. This time we have a slightly different take on it for cycling purposes. And that is to keep the tension in the glutes throughout.
We want to fire up the abductors and both your glute medius and minimus (science!).
With a band around your knees, take a slight bend and step side-to-side without allowing your feet to come together. This will ensure you keep tension in the outer hips and outer thigh. By activating these muscles you’ll be able to comfortably sit in the saddle for longer periods of time and generate more power.
My Training This Week
I suffered through my first FTP test in a long while. This was my first crack at the Ramp Test via Trainer Road and I enjoyed it. I know that sounds crazy to use FTP test and enjoy in the same paragraph, but it was fun. I landed a 207 FTP. It’s not my highest (230) or lowest (161) and will definitely improve over time.
Here’s a look at the workouts:
The upcoming week includes four days on the road including Christmas in New York City. It’s a lighter week for recovery given the extensive travel and general hectic-ness of the holidays. I’ll be swimming at the YMCA in New Jersey where I grew up and also a run up the West Side Highway.
Swim: 3,500 yards