Strong legs are just one part of being a strong rider. You also need a strong core to provide a solid platform to push off from with every pedal stroke; healthy mobility through your joints for a smooth spin; and strong shoulders, posterior chain (back, glutes, and hamstrings), and stabilizing muscles to support you in the cycling position for hours on the road, trail, or wherever you ride.
Suspension training—in which you use a system of straps equipped with handles and foot cradles to perform a wide variety of bodyweight strength exercises—is a way to check all those boxes in one workout.
“We’d all rather be on our bikes than in the gym, so this is a really time-efficient way to work your muscles and develop strength, stability, and mobility off the bike that translates really well on the bike,” says former TRX master trainer and current senior manager of performance training at Under Armour, Dan McDonogh, who has worked with former professional cyclists Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, and others on the Trek Factory Racing team when they took the TRX suspension trainer on the road with them.
“For cyclists, I like to use suspension training to increase mobility in the ankles and hips, which improves pedaling mechanics and power, as well as mobility in the thoracic spine [the part of the spine between your neck and low back], which can get stiff in cyclists, especially as we get older,” McDonogh says. “I also like to use it to activate the posterior chain muscles like the glutes and hamstrings, which are often weak in cyclists.”
TRX workouts also offer the benefit of letting you scale back or turn up the difficulty on common bodyweight moves as needed, McDonogh says. “When you do a push-up with your feet suspended, you’re not only using your pushing muscles, but also building stability, so it makes the move even more effective,” he says. “Many people can’t perform single leg ‘pistol’ squats on their own, but they can use the straps for assistance and build up to them.”
The following exercises, demonstrated by Susane Pata, TRX Senior Master Instructor, will build the strength, stability, and mobility cyclists need. You can do the warmup moves anytime you want to wake up your muscles before a ride, and the stretches to loosen up when you’re done.
How to use this list:三九电影网 On strength training days, perform the warmup exercises and then the main workout exercises in a circuit style workout with 30 seconds of rest between each move. Repeat the main workout 2 or 3 more times, as desired. After 1 to 3 sets of the main workout, cool down by performing the stretching exercises.
Squat Row Combo
How to: Stand facing the anchor point, straps at mid length. Grasp both handles and extend arms straight out. Lean back until you feel some tension between your shoulder blades. Keeping your chest tall and back straight, send hips back and down toward your heels into a squat. Push through feet to stand back up and then use handles to pull chest toward the anchor point as you squeeze your shoulder blades back and down. Perform 10 to 12 reps.
Forward Lunge With Hip Flexor Stretch
How to: Stand facing away from the anchor point, straps at mid length. Hold the handles with your arms extended at chest height. Take a giant step forward with right foot while simultaneously extending arms straight overhead above your shoulders and dropping left knee toward the ground. Drive right hands down into handles and open right arm out to side as you rotate torso to the right. You should feel the stretch in your left hip flexor. Push through your front foot and handles to return to the start. Repeat on other leg. Continue to alternate legs for 10 to 12 reps.
Squat to Y Fly
How to:三九电影网 Stand facing the anchor point, straps at mid length. Grasp both handles and extend arms straight out. Lean back until you feel some tension between your shoulder blades. Keeping your chest tall and back straight, send hips back and down toward your heels into a squat. Push through feet to stand back up and then, keeping your arms straight, pull your chest toward the anchor point by opening arms up into a Y formation while squeezing your shoulder blades back and down. Perform 8 to 10 reps.
TRX Overhead Squat
How to: Stand facing the anchor point, feet shoulder-width apart, straps at mid length. Extend your arms overhead with the backs of your hands pressed into the foot cradles. While maintaining tension on the straps with arms extended overhead, send hips back and down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Push through heels to return to start. Perform 10 to 12 reps.
How to: Stand facing the anchor point, straps at mid length. Grab both handles, palms facing each other, elbows under shoulders. Shift weight to left leg and extend right leg out in front of you. Keeping your chest lifted, lower down into a pistol squat on left leg while extending your arms in front of you. Push through left foot to stand back up. Perform 10 to 12 reps on left leg, then repeat on right leg.
How to: Shorten the TRX straps so that handles line up with hips. Stand facing the anchor point, grab handles with palms facing each other, and lean backward with arms straight until you feel tension on the straps. To make it easier, walk further away from the anchor point. To make it harder, walk closer to the anchor point. Engage shoulders and back to pull chest up to the handles, then return to start. Perform 12 to 15 reps.
How to:三九电影网 Stand facing away from the anchor point, straps at full length. Grab the handles, place both straps underneath arms, and walk forward so that body forms diagonal line (about 45 degrees from floor) with elbows bent and hands near chest. Keeping your hands beside your chest with body weight in the handles, step back with right foot until left knee bent about 90 degrees. Drive through the ball of left foot while simultaneously driving right knee up toward the chest. Perform 10 to 12 reps then repeat on left leg.
How to: Kneeling on the ground facing away from the anchor point, straps adjusted to mid calf, place both feet into the foot cradles. With arms extended straight, hands slightly wider than shoulders, lift knees off the ground into a high plank position. Keeping core tight, bend elbows to lower chest toward the ground until arms are bent 90 degrees. Press back up to start. Repeat until fatigue.
How to: Sit facing the anchor point, straps at mid calf, and place both heels into the foot cradles. Lie down with legs extended straight, feet below anchor point, and arms at your sides. Keeping your core tight, lift hips off the floor, then pull heels in toward glutes in a smooth and controlled motion. Keep hips lifted as you straighten legs back to the starting position. Repeat until fatigue.
How to: 三九电影网With straps at mid calf, lie on left side and place both feet in the cradles with your top (right) leg forward and feet parallel. Stack your left wrist under shoulder and lift yourself up into a side plank while extending right arm toward the sky. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, then lower to ground. Repeat on right side. Complete 2 to 3 sets per side.
How to: 三九电影网Kneeling on the ground, facing away from the anchor point, straps at mid-calf, place both feet into the foot cradles. With arms extended straight and hands under shoulders, lift knees off the ground into a high plank position. Keeping core tight, keep legs straight as you lift hips up towards the sky. Slowly lower back to plank position. Repeat until fatigue.
Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds or 5 full breaths. All exercises are done straps at mid length.
TRX Lower Back Stretch
How to:三九电影网 Stand facing anchor point and grasp the handles with your arms extended out in front of you at chest level, palms facing down. Drop your hips back so your body forms a 90-degree angle, allowing your knees to soften as your arms extend overhead. You should feel a stretch along your back body.
TRX Lower Back Stretch With Rotation
How to: 三九电影网Stand facing the anchor point and grasp the handles with your arms extended out in front of you at chest level, palms facing down. Drop your hips back so your body forms a 90-degree angle and your arms extend overhead. Rotate your torso to the left as you bend right knee, then reverse to rotate to the right and bend left knee. Continue to alternate.
TRX Long Torso Stretch
How to:三九电影网 Stand facing away from the anchor point. Keeping your hips facing forward, turn to grasp the handles, palms facing down with arms extended out behind you. Step right foot in front of left as you rotate torso to the right and left arm reaches overhead. Then step left foot in front of right and turn torso to left as right arm reaches overhead. Continue to alternate.
How to:三九电影网 Stand facing away from the anchor point and grasp the handles palms facing out. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height and walk forward until the straps are taut and arms reach back behind you. Keeping your shoulders down, take a small step backward and lean forward to deepen the stretch.
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