As someone who has spent over two decades coaching professional athletes, I can confidently say that improving your cycling performance requires a well-rounded approach that involves building cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance, and flexibility.

While it may seem daunting, there are various off-bike exercises you can easily incorporate into your training regimen to help you achieve your goals.

Strength training exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts can help develop the muscles you need to power through hills and sprints. Additionally, don’t underestimate the importance of flexibility exercises such as yoga or stretching routines, as they can help reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall mobility.

Let’s explore some effective exercises that can boost your cycling abilities. These exercises are easy to implement and can help you enhance your cycling performance.

Off-Bike Leg Strengthening Exercises

squat exercise

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Strength training is an excellent way to enhance your cycling performance, and there are a ton of exercises you can do to achieve this goal.

However, if you’re pressed for time or want to focus on the most effective movements, I recommend paying attention to three: Squats, lunges, and glute bridges.

These exercises target some of the most critical muscles used in cycling, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and even your core muscles.


Squats are an excellent exercise for building lower body strength in cyclists. They work multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.

Squats mimic the motion of cycling, making them particularly useful for cyclists of all levels, whether you are a weekend warrior, just getting started, or a seasoned pro.


Lunges are an excellent exercise for cyclists that can help strengthen your legs. They can help improve balance, stability, and unilateral strength. One of the best things about lunges is that you don’t need any equipment, which makes them perfect for pre and post-ride workouts.

Additionally, single-leg lunges can help address muscle imbalances, helping enhance overall cycling performance.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are another exercise that can benefit your cycling performance in multiple ways.

By primarily targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles, they can significantly strengthen your legs, improve your posture, and increase your overall power output on the bike.

Similar to lunges, glute bridges can help reduce the risk of injury by stabilizing your hips and knees, helping prevent muscle imbalances.

Core Exercises to Boost Bike Performance

planking exercise

When most people think of muscles associated with cycling, they immediately think of the legs, but one of the most important, if not the most important, are your core muscles. Strong core muscles will improve your posture on the bike, reduce injury, and allow you to pedal with improved technique and much more efficiency.


In cycling, a strong core is crucial for stability and power transfer. Planks help strengthen the core muscles, including the abs and lower back.

There are different variations of planks to suit all different types of fitness levels, so be sure to start slowly and choose ones that you can complete while maintaining the correct technique.

Russian Twist

Russian twists are an old-school core exercise known to target the obliques, the muscles on the sides of your abdomen. These muscles are crucial in stabilizing your posture while on the bike, making them a great exercise for cyclists.

To perform a Russian twist, sit up straight with your feet off the ground, then twist your upper body from side to side.

Air Cycling

Air cycling not only mimics the cycling motion perfectly, apart from lying on the floor LOL, but it also does an excellent job of strengthening your core, lower back, and leg muscles.

Air cycling is perfect for performing pre-ride as it helps to get the blood flowing in a low-impact manner. And, the best thing about this exercise is that it can be done every single day without having to worry about overtraining.

Improve Your Flexibility and Mobility

If you’re serious about your cycling performance, then you can’t afford to skip out on yoga and foam rolling. While daunting to some, these two activities can help prevent injuries and boost your performance on the road.

Make sure to allocate at least 15 minutes each day to these activities, and if possible, 60 minutes for the best results.

yoga exerciseYoga

If you want to enhance your physical fitness, take a leaf out of the pros book and incorporate yoga into your routine. This ancient practice has been known to offer numerous benefits, including improved flexibility, balance, and strength.

Yoga can us benefit cyclists, as it includes a range of poses that focus on hip and hamstring flexibility. By regularly performing yoga, cyclists can enjoy better posture and a more comfortable ride, not to mention a reduction in injury.

Foam Rolling

I know, I know, foam rolling hurts, especially for those who are new to it, but in all honestly, once you push through those first few days, not only does foam rilling feel good, but you can really start to notice the benefits too.

In short, foam rolling helps release muscle tension and improve flexibility. Make sure you focus on areas like the IT band, quads, hamstrings, and calves.


Last but not least is stretching, similar to foam rolling. Most cyclists seem to neglect this area of training to their own detriment. Stretching only takes 10-15 minutes after your ride or even later at night.

A good tip is instead of sitting on the sofa and watching TV, move to the floor where you can get some late-night stretching in before bed. Stretching reduces injury and quickens recovery, meaning you can spend more time on the bike than off.

man cycling

The Final Lap

If you want to improve your cycling, it’s essential to stick to a regular workout routine. You should gradually increase the amount of time and effort you put into each workout, being careful not to overtrain.

Follow my advice and implement exercises targeting different muscle groups to see better results. For example, you might do long rides to build up your stamina, then short, intense rides to make you faster and stronger.

Remember, performing strengthening exercises can also help. By following this plan, you’ll be able to reach your goals, improve your cycling, and drop your friends on the climbs.

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