Kettlebell Exercises for Cyclists

by Joe Vennare , Demand Media
    Cyclists spend a lot of time on the bike, but they can benefit from kettlebell training.

    Cyclists spend a lot of time on the bike, but they can benefit from kettlebell training.

    The typical cyclist spends a ton of time training on the bike, logging hundreds of miles. And, because so much time is spent on the bike, there is little time left to strength train. By incorporating kettlebells into your training, you can balance your body and workouts with just a little bit of time in the gym. So, grab a kettlebell and prepare for an efficient workout that provides cardiovascular and strengthening benefits.

    Why Kettlebells

    Kettlebells are the perfect piece of exercise equipment for cyclists. Using them will help you strengthen every muscle in your body, while saving time. A big improvement over traditional exercise regimens and stationary exercise machines, kettlebell training calls the entire body into action to complete functional movements. This type of training improves athletic performance, which translates to greater output on the bike.
    In addition to improvements in cycling performance, training with kettlebells will decrease the likelihood of injury. The training volume associated with cycling can be quite high and lead to injuries or muscular imbalance. Kettlebell workouts improve balance with minimal pounding on fatigued joints or ailing tendons.

    Choosing a Weight

    Selecting a weight is the first step for preparing to train with a kettlebell. For women, 10 to 20 pounds would be a great starting point. Finish two or three 20-minute workouts each week to develop lean muscle mass and increase core strength and cardiovascular capacity.

    Warm-up

    Exercise preparation should include a dynamic warm-up that actively prepares the muscles for exercise by transitioning from a resting to a working heart rate. Instead of standing still or stretching to touch your toes, try jogging in place or do body-weight exercises such as squats or push-ups.

    The Kettlebell Swing

    Begin your foray into kettlebell training with the kettlebell swing. The swing is especially helpful for cyclists looking to strengthen the core and legs, allowing for increased power and endurance on the bike.
    With feet shoulder-width apart, chest up and shoulders back and down, hold the kettlebell with both hands. Brace the core and relax the arms as you sink into a squat with the weight between the legs. At the bottom of the movement, shift your weight back onto your heels. Standing up from the squatted position, use your hips to propel the weight to hip level. Then, engaging the hips and core, swing the weight up higher until you reach shoulder level. Focus on using your hips and legs to move the weight, rather than your arms.
    After learning the proper form, begin to include kettlebell swings into training sessions. Start with a manageable weight for four sets of 15 repetitions. Over time, you may increase both the amount of weight you use and the number of repetitions you finish.

    About the Author

    Combining an extensive knowledge of innovative training methods with a background in athletics and an engaging personality, Joe Vennare serves as the lead presenter for fitness certification seminars, a writer for various websites and publications and an ambassador for various fitness brands. He is a sponsored multi-sport athlete training for or competing in triathlons, ultra-marathons and obstacle course races.

    Photo Credits

    • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images