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Full-body strength routine for cyclists getting back into strength training

It happens to the best of us: As the summer riding season ramps up, life and our riding demands eat up more and more of our time until something has to go. Often, along with social activities that are non-bike related, strength training is cut.

But if you're like many cyclists, you're okay for two or three weeks, and then…those little niggles and pains that had disappeared when you were consistent with your strength training begin to rear their heads again.

Here is a short 10- to 20-minute circuit we cyclists can use to build back some strength, address some of the common problem areas, and help you regain that rhythm in your strength training.

Exercise 1: Dowel Deep Squat Breathing

A great mid-season reset to help improve breathing, and gain some shoulder and upper back mobility, the Dowel Deep Squat Breathing can be done at home with a broom or other stick propped across a doorway. Click here for a video demonstration.

We want a gentle pull on the arms, with feet flat on the ground. Think about squatting down in a phone booth (we all remember what those are, right?!? Clark Kent just shed a tear of joy!).

  • The aim is to fill the mid back while keeping the feet flat on ground, with weight mid-foot

  • Do 2 sets of 6-8 slow, full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth

Exercise 2: Side Lunge Reach Across

This is a great way to work on regaining some length and strength through the hips and inner thighs. The key here is to only step wide enough to get your hip behind the knee and keep the long leg's knee straight.

  • Easy does it! This should be a gentle and refreshing movement!

  • If needed, you can hold on to a door jamb or TRX handles

  • Do 2 sets of 6-8 repetitions per side, alternating sides

Exercise 3: Diver's Squat

Helping open up your upper back and shoulders, the Diver's Squat helps to fire up the muscles of your upper and mid-back while you practice the shielded breath to get your entire power-boosting midsection fired up.

  • Don’t worry about your hands being completely overhead. Only go as high overhead as you can while pushing the hands together with elbows straight, while keeping your ribs and hips locked together.

  • Keep those feet flat, weight in the middle of your foot as you squat.

  • Do 2 sets of 5-8, stopping when you get to an RPE of 7 (medium hard) or when your technique begins to break down a little.

Exercise 4: Founder's Pose

This is a simple (but not easy) way to get that posterior chain fired up. By this point in the routine, you'll be feeling limber and ready to work a little! Do this twice through as per the video.

Exercise 5: Side Planks, Endurance Style

Not just a great core exercise, this movement challenges us to use our shoulders, glutes, and inner thigh muscles to stabilize, all muscles we cyclists desperately need to keep working well in order to ride strong year round!

  • Do 2 sets of 5 (7 seconds up, 3 seconds rest with hips on the floor) each side

  • Do not keep the holds longer, as you'll lose the desired outcome! If 5 rounds of 7-seconds-on-3-seconds-rest is easy for you, add up to 5 more rounds on each side


We all will fall off the strength training train during the season at some point, whether due to life happening just not having the hours needed to juggle everything. The important thing is to get started back as soon as you can and meeting yourself where you are now, not where you were before the break. It's best to start with a bit fewer repetitions or sets than you think you can handle and give the body a day or two to let you know how quickly it's able to recover from this simple but challenging full-body strength circuit.

1 Comment

barb b
barb b
Sep 13, 2023

Thanks! Super appreciative:)

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