How do I... increase upper body strength?
Virtually every action you perform on the bike requires the use of your upper body muscles. Whether it be pulling away from the traffic lights or climbing hills, you naturally pull up on the handlebar to counteract the pushing force on your legs.
These three simple exercises will work the appropriate muscles (biceps, triceps, posterior deltoids, and latissimus dorsi) and require only a light barbell, a dumbbell and a couple
of hours of your time.
Dumbbell Row: With a dumbbell in your left hand, bend forward at the waist, supporting your upper body with your right hand. Just like your position on a bike, keep your back flat and almost horizontal.
Let the dumbbell hang and turn your palm towards your body. Raise the weight up to your hip (inhale) then lower slowly (exhale). 15 to 20 reps, each arm, one to three sets.
Press-up: Press-ups can be done from the knees if the standard type on your toes is too difficult. Lie face down and position your hands shoulder-width apart.
If you find this too difficult, widen your hands. Keep your back straight. Push up to full arm extension (inhale) then lower slowly (exhale). 15 to 20 reps, one to three sets.
Upright Row: Feet shoulder width apart. Hold a barbell with hands around four inches apart. Let the barbell hang from straight arms with your palms facing towards your body.
Slowly raise the barbell to the level of your collarbone (inhale). Lower slowly (exhale), 10 to 15 reps, one to three sets.