As cyclists, sometimes the last thing we want to do is focus on strength training in lieu of heading out for a ride. So when you train, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Enter: weighted sit-ups. Though the focus of these exercises is on core strength, they also engage your arms and legs.
“Adding weights to your sit-up routine will give your body the stimulus it needs to adapt and grow,” says Lindsey Clayton, senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City and co-founder of “Because you’re adding a load, your core has to work harder to remain engaged and support your arms and legs as you move through exercises.” The result is increased total-body strength and stabilization.
So, Clayton created this weighted sit-ups circuit you can do when you’re ready to add some resistance and level up to your core training.
How to do it: Perform each exercise for 50 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between each move. Repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times. You’ll need a set of weights. Choose a weight that is challenging, but doesn’t cause you to have poor form or that’s too heavy to use for the entire exercise. Each exercise is demonstrated by Clayton so you can learn proper form.
Sit-Up With Shoulder Press
Start in a seated position, with feet planted on the floor, knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Hold one dumbbell in your hands in front of your chest. Press weight up overhead until biceps frame face. Hold for one second, then take three seconds to lower the dumbbells back to start. Engage your core and slowly lower to the floor so you are lying faceup at the beginning of the sit-up. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.
Rock Back With Russian Twist
Start lying faceup, holding a dumbbell in hands with knees bent at 90-degrees, feet in the air. Draw chest up toward knees to come into a V-position, using your core to balance on your tailbone. From your torso, twist right so dumbbell comes to right hip then twist left so dumbbell comes to left hip. Return to center and slowly roll back along your spine. Use the momentum to rock back up to V-position and repeat.
Start in a seated position, with dumbbells between your feet to anchor your legs down. Throughout the movement, think about squeezing the outside of the weights with the inside of your feet. With arms extended and engaged core, lower down to the ground. Then, slowly come up off the ground, halfway to starting position. Repeat.
Sit-Up With Straight-Leg Raise
Lie faceup with knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Hold one dumbbell between your hands, with arms outstretched. Perform a sit-up, then rock your body back so you are lying faceup on the ground with arms and legs extended toward the ceiling.
Keeping the weight in hands, engage your lower abs and slowly lower your legs halfway down to the ground with control, then bring them back up to starting position. Roll your body back up to seated. That’s one rep. Continue to repeat the sequence.
Double Crunch With 4 Bicycles
Lie faceup on the floor and hold one dumbbell in your hands, with arms outstretched toward the ceiling and legs off the ground with knees bent at a 45-degree angle, toes pointing toward the ceiling. Engage your core and perform two crunches.
Return to the starting position and “hollow out” your core by pressing your lower back into the floor to stabilize your core. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground with your spine long. From there, perform 4 bicycle kicks: Stretch right leg straight with left knee bent, then left leg straight with right knee bent. Repeat for four kicks total. Return to the top of the move.