Do you even lift?

Guinea pigPhoto Credit: LittleCharlotte via Compfight cc

Have you ever wondered if you should add some weight/strength training to your daily cycling? Intimidated or annoyed by those Crossfit weirdos, but intrigued by the possibility of getting stronger and more badass? My bike commute is a lot shorter now than it used to be, so I recently added a simple weight routine to my weekdays and thought I’d share it with y’all.

Strength training is really important for bone health, especially for women, who are at greater risk of osteoporosis as they get older. Mentally, I like having an exercise that for once isn’t about reducing the amount of space I take up in this world (even if it does mean my arms don’t fit in in the sleeves of some of my shirts and sweaters anymore.)

No one wants Chris Froome noodle arms

No one wants Chris Froome noodle arms

Just to get it out of the way: I am in no way an exercise expert. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise routine, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

I’m really lucky to have a fitness center in my office building that’s free for me to use. If you don’t have access to some free weights, look into bodyweight exercises that can get you similar results. Pushups, crunches, lunges, and squats can all be done just with a little patch of floor in your home.

So here’s my routine, with the weight I’m currently lifting in parenthesis:

8-10 reps bent over rows (25lbs)
8-10 reps dumbbell bench press (40 lbs total)
10 reps shoulder shrug (15 lbs)
10 reps barbell squat (30 lbs)
various stretches
20+ crunches holding medicine ball (8 lbs)

I do this circuit 3 times, and it takes about 30 minutes. I’m slowly increasing the weight I’m using — I start out with 8 reps when I jump up to a heavier weight, then once I can reliably do 10 reps in each set for a week or so, I move up again. We have machines and stuff too and sometimes I use them instead of or in addition to the free weights, but personally I prefer free weights.

I am a small woman and just starting out; you may very well be able to start much heavier than this. Just don’t start out so heavy that you sacrifice good form. There’s a dude I see in the weight room in the morning who tries to do barbell bicep curls with WAY too much weight — his entire upper body is swinging all over the damn place trying to get enough momentum to lift the bar. He’s gonna hurt himself one of these days, I’m sure of it. I would hate for that to happen to one of you lovelies.

Feel free to share your favorite strength training exercises or get all defensive about Crossfit in the comments.

1 Comment

  • LaRae July 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I’m a avid runner and cyclist and additionally belong to a Crossfit box where I modify all the exercises so they utilize mainly bodyweight …but I can’t seem to get over my fear of lifting! This nice little routine sounds just my speed, thanks for posting!

    Reply

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