Need to Know
  1. What this works: lower body
  2. Six exersises to build strength for indoor & outdoor cycling
  3. Lower-body cross-training increases strength and power

I remember the very first time I took an indoor cycling class. It was nothing like the recreational cycling I had been doing outdoors. Granted, I normally like to pace myself and watch for crazy city drivers instead of cycling to the beat, but this was still quite the experience. My legs screamed, my heart pounded, and sweat dripped down my face like that one time I forgot my umbrella during a rainstorm. The craziest part of the whole experience? I felt like I couldn’t keep up with everyone else in the class. We added three whole turns to our resistance knob and while my neighbors were pedaling away, my feet felt like they were dragging in quicksand.

Determined to get better, I decided to add some cross training into the mix. This did the trick! I got faster and more powerful both in the studio and on the road.

These moves take place off the bike, but I promise they will make you so much stronger when you’re back on. Whether you’re an indoor cycling class enthusiast, a road biker, or triathlete, use this lower body workout to strengthen all those leg muscles you never knew you had.

Instructions: Perform each move for 45 seconds. Take 15 seconds of active rest (e.g. walking or jogging in place) in between each move.

Equipment: none

Focus: Lower body

Time: 7 minutes (repeat as necessary to get the best sweat!)

The Workout
Scroll down for explanations and pictures. Click the links for more details and modifications for each exercise.
1. Side lunges
2. Frogger to monkey push-up
3. Broad jumps
4. Side skaters
5. Standard calf raises
6. Sprints

The Workout Explained:

1. Side lunges
Stand with your feet very wide apart. Bend one knee as you sink your hips back and down. Alternate sides.
Side-Lunge-Mel-#2-crop

2. Frogger to Monkey Push-Up
Start in a plank position. Jump your feet up to the outside of your hands and then place your hands in front of you. Bend your elbows to come to a really wide push-up.

Monkey-Mik-#2-crop

Monkey-Mik-#1-crop

3. Broad jumps
Stand with your feet a little more than hip width apart. Sink your hips back and down into a low squat and then jump up and forward to complete a broad jump.
Broad-Jump-Isa-#1-crop

Broad-Jump-Isa-#2-crop

4. Side skaters
Balance on one leg as you jump from side to side.
Skaters-Mik-#2-crop

5. Calf raises
Stand tall with your feet right under your hips. Lift your heels off the ground to balance on the balls of your feet. Lower your heels back down to complete one full rep of a calf raise. Start with standard raises, and you can throw in some variations on subsequent sets.

Calf Raises

6. Sprints
Pick two points to run back and forth (not far — remember, you just need to do this for 45 seconds at a time!). When you sprint, the goal is to run at full maximum speed.