Looking for a low impact, full body workout that will give you a core of steel without any equipment? This is the bets home workout for cycling we've seen that doesn't involve masses of equipment. It's provided by world U23 Cyclo-cross champ and Red Bull athlete, Tom Pidcock (opens in new tab). Try it, then increase or decrease the amount of reps and/or rest time depending on how you find it.
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Usually, nobody outside of road bike warriors, really wants to look like a pro cyclist but this workout will help build core strength and is quite easy to do, compared to cycling up a big mountain. It's a great addition to a sensible lockdown weight loss diet. Also, as long as you don't use it alongside a hardcore road bike workout, it will help you stay in shape, rather than giving you the usual cyclist physique, ie: incredibly sinewy legs, and an upper body like a small child.
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It is important to maintain strength and fitness though this period of enforced lockdown, even if you don’t have access to home gym equipment. This home workout, as you’d expect, can significantly help your cycling performance, but it’s also useful for anyone who wants to lose weight and build core strength at home. No turbo trainer required.
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Reps – Complete this exercise for 20 reps (10 on each side)
Good for: improving core stability
To complete this exercise, extend the left arm and right leg out until your foot and fingertips are in line with your back. Tense your core to ensure you maintain good form and do not wobble. Hold this position for 5 seconds and return to resting position before repeating for the right arm and left leg. You should feel your core working and your lower back tense to maintain the position for 5 seconds.
Cat and dog pose
Reps – Complete 10 reps of this to stretch out your back and core
Good for: improve lower back flexibility and core strength
Maintaining in the same position as for the superman now arch your back as much as you can with your hands shoulder width apart directly under your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips, after holding that for a few seconds then tuck your back in a far as possible (lowering your tummy to the ground).
Reps – (Complete 10 on each side) x 2
Good for: warming quads up
Explanation – To warm the legs up for the session perform a step up on a small step, driving the knee of your free leg up as you transfer your weight onto the step. Perform all the reps on one leg before switching to the next.
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Reps – If you find it easier you can split longer planks into reps of 30s with 15s rest. Continue this until you can no longer maintain perfect form or complete a set time.
Good for: strengthening core
Starting with the most painful to get it out the way. Perform a plank for 30s, 1 ,2, 3, 4 or 5 mins depending on your ability. You want to try and last for as long as you can maintain good form, as soon as your bum rises or drops, or you start to wobble then you can relax for 15 seconds and try and finish your target time for the exercise with good form.
Reps/duration – hold for 30 seconds and then release.
Good for: abdominal stretching, shoulder definition
to stretch your core out after this static effort, place your hands on the floor rather than elbows in a raised plank position and sink your hips into the ground lifting your head up and back as far as comfortable, you should feel a satisfying stretch on your whole core after the plank.
Resistance band squats
Reps – Complete 12 squats for each side (24 total)
Good for: hamstring and quads
Explanation – Place a resistance band around your knees (an innertube would also work) or if you struggle with the resistant band it can be done without. With your feet together step out to the left to just over shoulder width apart and squat down slowly. Keeping your weight backwards mainly on your heels and then push up with force springing back to a standing position without jumping and then bring your feet back together. Repeat for the right side. If you find the resistance band easy tighten it to create more resistance when you step out and in.
Reps – (20 reps (10 on each side)) x 2
Good for: improving core strength and shoulder/hip mobility
Lie on your back with your legs at a 90-degree angle and hands directly above your shoulders. Slowly lower your left arm keeping it straight, above your head and at the same time your right leg straightening it until it’s a few inches off the ground. Hold this for 5 seconds and then return to the original position before repeating now with your right arm and left leg. During this you want to maintain control whilst your limbs move slowly, and make sure that your lower back is always touching the ground. As soon as you can feel it lift from the mat you have lost form and the exercise will be less effective so take a rest and try again.
Reps – (20 reps) x 2
Good for: increasing calf strength and stability
Explanation – Standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart, lift your heels as far off the ground as possible standing on just the balls of your feet and then return back to a normal standing position and repeat. If you struggle with the balance you can stand just in front of a wall keeping your hand on it but not using it to aid the effort. You should feel the effort quite quickly in your calves. But try and maintain your maximum heel raise each time to exercise the whole muscle.
Good for: err...stretching the calves?
To loosen your calves after that exercise perform a quick stretch lower yourself into a lunge position with a straight back leg and push your hands against a wall. Placing most of your weight through your back leg you should feel the calf and hamstring start to stretch. Hold for 30s and then switch legs.
Side leg raises with resistance band
Reps – Complete 15 reps on each leg
Good for: improving glute strength
this can be done without a resistant band and more reps can be performed. Lie on your side with the resistance band around your knees, the leg closest to the ground tucked back out of the way and providing stabilisation behind you. And your active leg straight in line with your body. Slowly raise your leg to a 45-degree angle and back down again until it nearly touches the ground before repeating.
Foam roller – If you have a foam roller roll over your calves, hamstrings and quads stopping to work out any notts that you might find.
Stretching – be careful not to over stretch during this period, relieve your body of tight spots but don’t push it too hard as your muscles will be loose and warm making it easy to stretch them a little further than normal.
Tuck your right leg under your hip extending your left leg out behind you and using your hands to keep you balanced. Slowly lower your body weight onto your tucked in leg performing the stretch on your glute. Hold for 1 min each side.
From a standing position lower your upper body over from your hips extending your arms trying to get close to your toes whilst maintaining straight legs. Hold for one minute.
If you are doing more than one circuit, then you can repeat without completing the stretches and do them at the end of the session. There are many more exercises that are beneficial to a cyclist, but these are good starting points to maintain some strength and explosive power during lockdown.
Tom Pidcock is a Red Bull athlete. To find more about how Tom uses Red Bull as part of his training and racing visit RedBull.com (opens in new tab)