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Train like a racer: Lower Body Strength

Steve Plater takes you through some simple lower body exercises. You might not have to pedal it, but strong legs are still essential to ride fast properly...

Dave Jefferies used to wear the soles of his boots right through to his socks during a TT, he pushed on the footpegs that hard. Ask any racer how much he uses his legs to control and steer the bike and you might be surprised at the answer. Whether it’s locking your leg into the tank to aid steering or pushing weight through the pegs in search of grip, you’re going to need plenty of strength from the waist down to be racer quick.

Step Ups

Step Ups

Step Ups

Holding 10kg dumb bells in each hand, step up onto a platform approximately 30cm high. If you don’t want the expense of a proper gym step, anything solid will do just make sure it will support your weight and won’t slip from underneath you – a 10kg weight in the mouth will help you to lose weight but only because you can only eat soup due to smashing out your teeth…

This exercise needs little explanation – step up and step down until your legs hurt…

Shoulder Squats

Shoulder Squats

Shoulder Squats

Rest an 8kg dumbbell on each shoulder with the weights pointing forward and with your feet hip width apart. Now...

...Keep your heels planted firmly on the floor and do not allow them to move during the exercise.

Brace your abdominal muscles and lower yourself, keeping your back straight, shoulders back and bending from the knees. Extend your legs to return to the starting position – and remember to breathe!

Calf Raises

Calf Raises

Calf Raises

Changing gear and using the rear brake puts a lot of strain on your calf muscles. Add to that riding on the balls of your feet and it’s easy to see why strong, supple calves are a benefit. Sit on a chair and hold a pair of 10kg dumbbells on your knees. Allowing a full range of movement through your ankles with your toes on a beer crate, lift the weights up and down. Your toes shouldn’t leave the beer crate throughout the exercise. Repeat a dozen times.

Lunges

Lunges

Lunges

Stand with 8kg dumbbells grasped to your sides.Keeping your torso upright and looking straight ahead, lunge forward with your leading leg, landing heel first. Lower your body by flexing knee and hip of trailing leg until your knee is almost in contact with the floor. Return to original standing position by extending the hip and knee of the leading leg. Repeat by alternating with the opposite leg. The leading knee should always point in the same direction as the foot throughout the lunge. A long lunge will work your Gluteus Maximus while a short lunge focuses on the quads. 12 reps per side.

Dead Lift

Dead Lift

Dead Lift

10kg weights may feel a little light for this exercise. But stick with it as you’re after endurance rather than out-and-out strength. Starting with the weights on the floor, keeping your back straight, bend your knees and grasp each weight with your knuckles facing out. Straighten your legs, keep your neck relaxed by focusing on a fixed point straight ahead and lift the weights, keeping your arms level and tight to your body. Lower the weights to the ground and repeat 20 times or until failure.

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