OFF THE BIKE TUESDAYS - PART 3: Plyometrics (Power Movements)
A while back we created a segment on our social media channels which promoted some off the bike exercises which are cycling specific and will compliment and enhance your cycling ten fold when included into a weekly routine. We divided these exercises into three groups: Stretch, Strength and Plyometrics (dynamic power movements).
We have compiled the best exercises in each group to provide you with a short routine you can get into the gym and use once a week for effective workouts which will definitely improve your cycling.
Focus on Dynamic Power Movements.
Plyometric exercises use explosive movements to develop muscular power. The ability to convert strength to speed in a very short time allows for athletic movements beyond what raw strength will allow. If the muscle is lengthened while loaded just prior to the contraction, it will produce greater force through the storage of elastic energy. This effect requires that the transition time between eccentric contraction and concentric contraction be very short.
Plyometrics are primarily jumping exercises which are focused on enabling your muscles to exert maximum force fast. Whilst pure strength exercises will help you push bigger gears, pushing bigger gears fast requires power and speed elements and that’s where plyometrics enter the equation.
In addition to enhancing balance and coordination, plyometrics enable your larger muscle groups to work with synchronicity which are benefits that you don’t usually get from standard lifting regimes.
FROGGER In one swoop, you'll strengthen your core and tone up your glutes.This plank-to-squat move seems simple, but you'll feel it as you do your 30-second bursts. Here's how it works, in two steps: Begin in a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders, body in one straight line. Jump your feet to the outside of your hands, coming into a deep squat and keeping your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back to a plank.
BOX JUMPS This basic plyometric exercise will make you a stronger and more powerful cyclist. Training the fast-twitch muscles needed for sprinting, box jumps are ideal if you're looking to add sharp bursts of speed into your repertoire. The workout: Three sets of six reps with a 90-second rest between sets. Choose a box height you're comfortable with. Stand in front of the box with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. When you're ready to jump, squat down slightly then explode upwards. At the same time extend your hips, swing your arms up, and push down into the ground to propel yourself onto the box. On landing, make sure your feet are flat and your knees are slightly bent. Top Tip: Jump from and land in a quarter squat position. If you find yourself landing any deeper than this, then you're probably trying to jump a box that's too high.
Ovation Push up
Full body plyometric movement to strengthen your body for cycling, specifically the core. Lie face down on an inflated exercise ball with both hands on an exercise mat or cushioned surface. Walk hands out until the ball is under your thighs or shins. Position your hands directly below your shoulders. Keeping your torso straight, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor until your arms are bent 90 degrees. Push up as hard as you can, clap your hands once, and return to the starting position, before immediately dropping into another repetition. No ball? You can do this on the floor, but it’s much harder. Reps: Start with 6 to 8 reps. Work up to 10 to 12.
PLYOMETRIC LUNGE HOP
Dynamic power and strength created to increase speed on the bike. Step your right foot forward and bend both knees to 90 degrees, keeping your chest upright and core tight. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, raising your left fist toward the ceiling and lowering your right fist toward the floor (a). Jump as high as you can, switching your arm and leg positions in midair (b) and landing in another lunge (c). That's one rep. Continue quickly alternating.
One-legged squat jumps: Do 10 in a row on one leg before turning around and repeating on the other. Stand on one leg and squat down until the top of your thigh is parallel with the ground, keeping your knee behind your front toe. Jump forwards and land on the same leg, squatting down to cushion the landing. Do 10 in a row on one leg before turning around and repeating on the other.
US researchers have found that jump squats can boost body power and acceleration by 13 percent in ﬁve weeks.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.
When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
Do two to three sets of 10 reps.
Make sure to use your whole foot to jump, not just your toes, and try not to let your shoulders lean out beyond your knees, as this can strain and injure your back.
Stand facing a step about 30 to 50 centimetres high. Plant your right foot on the step. Forcefully push off your right foot and jump straight up, swinging your arms forward and up for added momentum. Land with your right foot on the step and immediately push off for the next rep. Complete a set, and then switch legs.
Burpees are a dynamic whole body exercise that you can do anywhere. Stringing together a number of functional movements, the burpee not only trains your muscles and joints, but also raises your heart rate and burns calories.
The workout: Three sets of 10 reps with a one-minute rest between sets.
Squat down with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on the floor in front of you.
Kickback your legs into a push-up position.
Now hop your feet back in towards your hands, returning to a squat.
Spring into a jump, throwing your arms up and leaping as high as possible.
Land and repeat.