Official 2023 Training Programs
Click on your distance below for a 10-week training program, customized for the 10th edition of the Okanagan Granfondo:
A few notes to keep in mind as you start each program:
- You can perform the workouts either outdoors or on your indoor trainer.
- While you can jump on each program at any point, ensure you have the necessary base training before incorporating the higher intensity workouts.
Strength & Conditioning for Cycling
Top 5 Exercises for Cyclists
This article is provided to us courtesy of Sam Spinelli, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and strength/conditioning coach located in Kelowna, B.C., Canada. Sam owns and operates Common Ground Health & Fitness. and works with a wide range of individuals, from those competing on the Olympic stage, to those just trying to return back to activities of daily living. Alongside this, he is co-owner of Citizen Athletics and E3Rehab, two online business that help individuals with rehab & training. Follow him on Instagram at: @dr.SamSpinelli
Cycling is a unique activity in the demands it poses to individuals versus other activities, such as running. In choosing the best exercises for cyclists, we want to consider which muscles and movements have the highest transfer to producing and controlling your power production on the bike, as well as muscles which are beneficial to train to reduce your injury risk in the long term. As well, we want to ensure that we focus on developing qualities in strength and conditioning that work in synchronization with work done on the back, not interfere with it or is redundant with it. As such, your exercise selection should focus on these muscles and movements (click on the links to access video demonstrations of each exercise):
• Quads and knee extension
Research from Kordi et al. found that the highest association with a cyclist wattage was the strength of their knee extension, meaning that developing your quads is critical to improving your wattage potential – which you can then train to express on the bike. Your quad exercise is the front foot elevated split squat. This exercise works well for cyclists by having no impact requirement, minimizing your muscular soreness and muscle damage, while letting you working through lots of range of motion.
• Hamstrings and knee flexion
Supporting the work of your quads with powerful hamstrings is huge in pulling while pushing on the bike. As well, proximal hamstring tendinopathy is a common nagging injury for cyclists and training the hamstrings with high tension is one of the most evidence supported options for management of it. Your hamstring exercise is the slider leg curl. This is a great exercise as you can scale it to your abilities, having your hips higher as your stronger. As well, since you can perform it in a hip extended position, it is a perfect option for those who struggle with proximal hamstring tendinopathy.
Your calf is central in controlling your transfer of force from your hip and knee into the pedal. As well, your calf is able to assist in driving more wattage through the pedal both by downward force and assisting with knee flexion as one of your calf muscles crosses the knee. Your calf exercise is the deficit single leg calf raise. Building a strong calf is best achieved with direct plantarflexion, raising high on the ball of the foot. The deficit works well to increase the range of motion and enhance the stretch for increased ankle mobility.
• Hip flexors and abdominals
Working in conjunction with the quads and hamstrings, the hip flexors can help in producing torque on the bike, especially as cadence increases. The abdominals share a function of controlling the pelvis with them, so you can get more out of training them together. Your hip flexor exercise is the hip flexor raise off bench. This movement works fantastic for challenging the abs in not letting the pelvis raise up and arch the back, while working the hip flexors to get long and strong.
• Obliques and shoulders
In order to get the most out of your legs, you want to have a stable position on the saddle. This is heavily achieved through your obliques controlling your pelvis and your shoulders controlling your handles. Your oblique exercise is the side plank with rotations. By working to resist your hips from dropping you strengthen your obliques in a cycling specific format, while also challenging your shoulders to get stronger and control your rotating torso.
Try to incorporate two strength and conditioning sessions per week, aiming for 2-3 quality sets with a focus on technique, with a level of effort where you only have a couple reps in the tank before reaching failure.
Disclaimer: We strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in each exercise. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself.