5 Essential Gym Exercises For Weedy Road Cyclists


– This might be the only
gym video on YouTube that’s not about getting buff,
ripped, shredded and hench. Instead, it’s about getting stronger. Hopefully. (smooth music) (energetic techno music) – Cyclists are not renowned as being a particularly
muscled and buff crowd, even if you wouldn’t get that impression from the two you see before you now. There is a good reason for cyclists to have such slender upper
bodies, and that is because arms don’t really make you go any faster. In fact, these rippling, bulging biceps would just be slowing Ollie down. – Yeah, that’s why I’m so slow. – Exactly. However, there are times where even we have to
admit that being weedy is something of a
hindrance even on the bike, and you can also get
strong without adding bulk. – One thousand and one, one thousand and two. So, coming up are five essential exercises that will hopefully make
you stronger on the bike. Instructing us today is Carl
Constanza of Stanza Fitness. Carl understands the needs of cyclists, as before he became a fitness coach, Carl raced as a top level
downhill mountain biker, racing nationally and abroad. We’ll give you example repetitions, and sets for each
exercise, but before we do, it’s important to stress that to provide maximum
benefit and avoid injury, the key thing is correct technique, and getting the movement right. Only go up in load or weight when you can perform an exercise
confidently and correctly. (smooth music) – First of all, what we’re going to do is start off with a Bulgarian split squat. – Okay. – The reason we’re going to
do that is it’s good exercise. It works your legs unilaterally, and also is good for your
balance and stability. What I would like you to do is step out into the
middle of the platform. – Yep. – Put one leg up onto
the box, or the bench, raise your left arm up
into the air, lock it out. – Okay. – Then, travel down, keeping
your weight on the heel, and the middle of your foot,
and then drive straight up. Lovely.
– Okay. How’s that? – That’s not bad. Let’s get five reps. – Five?
– Yeah, five. – What’s that dumbbell, like 20 kilos? – I’m pretty sure it’s one. – Okay. – Good, one more. Excellent, and rest. Lovely. Okay? Not bad. Good?
– Yeah. Oh, it’s five. It’s five kilos. (smooth music) – So, the next exercise is a step up, and what that’s predominately
working is your quads, your hamstrings, and your glutes. So, what I’d like you to do is if you’d just take
yourself in front of the box. There we go. Okay. Put your leg up onto the
box, your leading leg. That’s correct. Lean into it ever so slightly
to load up your front leg, keep your chest up, and
then drive off the center to the the heel of your foot. Okay, touch your foot down, which will help with your balance, tip forwards ever so slightly
to load up the front leg, and then slowly down. Okay, if you’d go slower,
it’ll help with your stability. Just falling down into it as well will jar the right leg that’s coming down, so lean into it, put
the weight on the heel, and the middle of your
foot, pick your chest up, which will also help
give you a neutral spine. Okay, and then drive up off the front leg. That’s better. Touch the right leg down. Again, keep the chest up,
slowly down, find the floor. That’s better, much better control. Lean into it, load up. Good, and then slowly back down. Excellent. (smooth music) Next exercise we’re going to do
is going to be a dumbbell row. This is predominately
working your upper body. We’re going to be aiming for your lats, also it’s going to work
part of your biceps, and then also your core,
which is from there to there, all the way around 360. – Okay. – What I need you to do is
you’re just going to take up a parallel stance with the bench. – Yep. – Hinge forward, put your
hand down, pick your chest up, and maintain a neutral spine. So, if you could just
do that for me first. – All right. – Once you’re in this
position, that’s correct, what you want to do is pick your chest up. That will then allow you to
get a nice neutral spine, okay? You don’t want to have a
curvature in your back, so if you then hold your chest up, and then now what you want to do is put a slight bend in your
knees, drop down a little bit. That’s right. Then, holding on to the dumbbell, what you’ll do is grab
the dumbbell for me, have it slightly out in front of you, and then lead with your
elbow up to your hip. So, five reps for me. Good, slowly down, not too fast. Excellent. If you sort of sat down quite
a lot in sedentary positions, whether that’s for a job, or even when you’re sitting
down a lot with cycling, there’s not any kind of resistance there. So, by doing this, it’s
creating resistance, which will then build up
muscles in those areas, but it’s only as good as how
good you’re doing the exercise. You want to do it with
efficient movement patterns, and perfect execution. And rest. Cool, good. (smooth music) Next exercise. So, we’re going to do an inverted row, which is predominately
working your upper body, your back and also your grip strength. So, what I would like you to
do is go underneath the bar with your feet facing out
this way, slowly down. Watch your head. So, what you need to aim for
is bringing your body down, and your chest in line with the bar. Okay? Hold on to the bar, shoulder width apart, and you can look for the
smooth part and the rough part, and that typically will be
where the rough part is. The grip that I want you to
do is reverse grip, okay? So, that’s it. Just underhand, underhand. Good, okay. Now, we want to go vertically up, so pull your chest directly
up towards the bar, and then look to squeeze your
shoulder blades together. Good, very nice. Go slowly down, that’s
it, and then back up. Three. Four. Good, one more. Excellent, good, and
then rest on the bottom. So, when you’re doing it, it’s important to come down
nice and steadily as well, because then the muscle is under tension. If you come down too quickly, the muscle isn’t under
tension for long enough, so just up, nice and explosively, and then slowly on the way down. All right? (energetic music) Next exercise is going
to be the walking lunges. What we’ll do is we’ll use a kettlebell, unilaterally on one side of your body, just to challenge your
stability and balance. The areas this is working is your glutes, your hamstrings and your quads. – Okay. – Then, also your core as well, as you’ve got the kettlebell, which is going to be offset for stability. – Okay. – Lovely. So, kettlebell just up to the top, keep your elbow up, and the
kettlebell close to your body. That’s correct. Chest up as always with
the other exercises, and then steadily forwards. That’s good. Excellent. One more step. Then, just change arms, and to make it a bit
more difficult for you, ’cause you look like
you’ve got control of that, what I want you to do is opposed to going
foot together, like so, I just want you to step into
the next step, all right? So, you just go straight forward like so. That’s it, and then straight
up into the next one. You can still move fairly slowly with it, so you’ve got control. That’s right, and big drive
up off that front leg, nice and explosive. Good, one more. I think that was probably cheating. (chuckling) – So, there you have it. Five essential exercises
to help weedy cyclists become slightly less weedy, and improve that strength on the bike. – Thanks, Carl.
– Absolutely, yeah. Not a problem at all. Definitely those exercises will help with your performance on the bike, and also, hopefully avoid injury. – If you found this video
useful, and you’ve enjoyed it, then please give it a thumbs up, and for more cycling fitness content, you can click on my guns. (laughing)

100 thoughts on “5 Essential Gym Exercises For Weedy Road Cyclists”

  1. Do you pump iron to help you ride faster? Which exercises do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below 🏋️‍♂️

  2. If I was a tinpot dictator I'd make split squats a form of torture in my prison camps. My prisoners would all have quads of steel but they'd tell me anything I wanted to know.

  3. being buff on a bike has its advantages… the added air resistance created from deploying ones rippling biceps as air brakes when hurtling down a steep hill ensures the speed limit is observed at all times officer

  4. So Instead of paying a gym membership I just need some dumbbells and a kettle bell and I can do this at home 👍

  5. Steep hills are great cases for upper body strength. If you can resist the sideways wagging caused by your monster torque, you'll be more efficient, last longer, win glories, marry models etc etc.

  6. And here was me thinking my 10 mile a day cycle commute would save me from going to the gym…… 🙁

  7. exercises while incarcerated ,no equipment, gym membership etc required. Marking time (marching in one spot) Soccer kicks (stationary) Telemarking (stationary)

  8. Thanks guys! Great video demonstrating how to teach your grandmother how to lift weights! 😂😉

  9. Prefer running, interval training on hills and stretch exercises; not a fan of weights or gym. Good video though.

  10. I have very good stamina and it helps in the gym. I'm ready for my next set in like 10 seconds… plus I can take in more air on big pushes than most people can, maximizing my power more. Good stamina helps strengthen be more effective and sustainable.

  11. The presenters sitting in a restaurant drinking beer and talking about an upcoming grand tour = dream job. But after watching this video, I'm not so sure if I should apply for a job at GCN….

  12. Just do high bar squat, front squat, box jumps if you want to be a faster cyclist. If all you want is that. No bullshit. Gonna look weird though with larger quads and skinny everything else

  13. I can just imagine the producer coming into the studio a few weeks ago and asking everybody to take off their shirt, then picking the two with the skinniest arms and saying, "OK, Si and Ollie, here's a video we want you to do. Oh yeah, and this is Carlo."

  14. Not a bad choice of exercises. Common people or amateur riders (even professional) shouldn't be afraid to gain some muscles and it doesn't matter whether you use some equipment or just bodyweight exercises. You get better posture, you are not so prone to injuries, in case of a fall the body is firmer so you might not break something, etc. Lots of benefits, not a single disadvantage.

  15. Hehe spaghetti guys…still comical though!

    I wonder if anybody actually compared decently strong gym goers with their usual exercises, doing some kind of bike race/test, with bike riders training in a gym their exercises…would normal guys beat bike guys in terms of power, speed etc on a fixed length race and various conditions, when we exclude pure endurance due to bike race length? So, short events, like 30 minutes max.
    Like, who would be better at 1000m climb of 10%, or 100m flat sprint etc…

  16. Other gym users were clearly intimidated by Si and Ollie's physiques and stature, and chose to stay away, well away. What other plausible explanation could there be?

  17. I'd recommend all those serious about their weight lifting/training to check out Jeff Cavaliere and his Athlean-X ; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe0TLA0EsQbE-MjuHXevj2A

  18. Within 24 hours of Dan 'modelling' the GCN pink under vest this video is released. Coincidence or not?

  19. Guys, thank you for this video, I finally feel buff!
    …and I'm a quite slender female XD
    …this also probably explains why I'm not that fast on the bike 😀

  20. @GCN I get this video might have been done for promotional purposes but it adds the variety we are all screaming for.
    Keep it up. Don't be afraid to do things that don't involve them on their bikes as long as its related to road cycling. Cheers.

  21. I didn't know Ollie had such skinny arms. I always thought he was a much beefier lad given his looks and frame. Of course, the most ripped GCN presenter or should I say ex-presenter IMHO, was Matt Stephens. Matt is well toned and has good muscle definition. I really miss his laughter.

  22. Three best reasons to lift: 1) at the age of 40, you lose 1% of muscle mass a year. Need to stay ahead of that by adding muscle . 2) weight training adds mass to your bones as well, so it helps with regard to preventing injury 3) muscles burn calories. Fat doesn't.

  23. As an older guy my cycling has definitely benefitted from regular core, cardio and upper body strength gym routines. Nice video, keep it up guys and let’s see regular updates on your progress 😁👍🏻

  24. The dumbbell rows work out triceps not biceps. That’s generally the case with any back workout as they are pulling exercises which also require a good grip.
    For arms you want lean muscle with strength so stick to low weight do plenty of reps until muscle fatigue then drop weight and squeeze out the final few reps. Rest 2-3 mins then repeat 2 times.

  25. Your coach may have nice hair but it is hard to see what this set of exercises would do for you that would not be better done with push ups pull ups and… cycling. The push ups and pull ups will develop the shoulders and core really fast improving your stability posture and general robustness and cycling will strengthen your legs.

  26. Why no pushing exercise such as bench press, overhead press, military press, push ups, or dips?

    It appears that bulgarian split squats, step ups and lunges are redundant. All three of them are good unilateral exercises that combine balance with strength, and work the same muscles pretty similarly, and none of them is as good for building overall leg and body strength as is the good old fashioned high bar squat.

    I always thought that the dumbbell row and inverted row pretty much work the same muscles and that the inverted row is an exercise used to progress a pull up or chin up, i.e., the weakling's chin up.

    I am far from an elite biker, but I feel great glute activation and stronger on the bike a day after performing heavy dead lifts.

    There are many great exercises, but if I had to choose five, they would be squats, dead lifts, bench press, overhead press, and pull ups.

  27. I get that these are gym exercises, yet it would have been really helpful to show an “at home” version for the ones that require gym equipment.

  28. i found myself reaching for the Round Up during this…………..i went to click on Ollie's guns at the end, but kept missing

  29. My gym related body dysmorphia disappeared after watching this and I no longer feel like a scrawny dyel at 85kg.

  30. Great video #GCN team! My strength training helps a lot in my cycling and running. I will like to recommend you a book that is a great guide for me: Cycling Anatomy
    by Shannon Sovndal. If somebody else also loves running I will recommend this one: Running Anatomy by Joe Puleo and Patrick Milroy. Both books not only describe in nice detail the muscular anatomy, and how each muscle (or group) is used in each sport, but they also suggest workouts to improve their performance. Keep up with the good work guys! Cheers!

  31. Try some step ups without using your ankle on the bottom leg. ie. your heel should leave the floor after the ball of your foot. See how much you may need to compensate with the leg that you aren't focussing on (the bottom leg) for the exercise at the beginning of the movement.

    Doing the step up with the described movement could help get better strength at the end of range of your hip and knee extensors.

  32. This is when I really wish Emma was still on GCN. Nothing more fun than watching here school Ollie and Si, though they do tend to good sports about getting humiliated

  33. Step up is a good exercise but for a beginner that box is way too high. As you will see Ollie is pushing off the foot on the floor which is not the point of the exercise. Another 'Pro' trainer on YouTube not correcting bad from.

  34. I do appreciate this video but I really would love to see one on proper stretching. It seems there are so many opinions on the proper way to do so and GCN seems to be a good authority – are there any GCN videos on stretching already?

  35. Im quite surprised about so skinny guys )). You guys definitely need work on your upper body. Get more gym!

  36. My way to do it is that I go everyday on my bike and go faster and faster and I go for 30-40 minutes on-road and 15-20 minutes off-road and then my body will get stronger for the cycling mode

  37. Witchcraft. Si had corkscrews for calves before this. This video has to be deepfake lol. Keep up the strength work velo fam.

  38. #askGCNtraining I recently completed a 100 mile ride and my legs etc have pulled up really well BUT my wrists, hands and forearms are knackered. I’m finding it hard to even turn the keys in my car ignition. I’m not weedy; I curl 20kg and bench 60kg. Would this be caused by poor position on the bike? I spent around 150km on the hoods and 10km on the tops. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

  39. The level of humour here is wonderful. Ollies timing is near perfect. Best gym video I've seen.

  40. Hold on. His knee was well forward on those Bulgarians that wasn’t good form and if I could see it why didn’t the trainer adjust

  41. Maybe it would be a good idea to include a pushing exercise for the upper body to create some muscle balance as all upper body exercises are pulling.

  42. Hi Gcn!
    When you im the video say, for exemple, 6 Sets (6-8 Reps on each side)
    Is 6 Sets on each side or 6 in total ?

  43. On the step up don’t help by pushing on the foot that’s on the floor , all the work is done by the leg on the box

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