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New to Strength Training? Try These Simple Routines

By Jen Kates, CHC, CPT

If you’re an athlete of any kind, strength training can be incredibly beneficial. It can improve your balance, stability, strength, power, and resilience to injury. In the process, it can also improve your posture and proprioception (knowing where your body is in relation to space). With a stronger body, you can be less prone to injury, can be more efficient in your sport, and you can tolerate greater demands being placed on your body through your sport.

However, all too often, strength training workouts on social media are complex and can be intimidating, especially if you are not used to strength training to begin with. This overwhelm can lead to frustration, causing you to avoid strength training altogether.

Let’s change this.

You only need a minimum of two strength training sessions per week to see results. It’s ideal to start with some basic movements in order to prevent injury and excessive soreness (which contrary to popular opinion is not an indication of a “good” workout).

To keep it simple and manageable, give these two simple routines a try at least twice a week for four weeks. Progress the movements as you see fit per the instructions outlined. There are even links to demo videos to help you understand how to perform each movement.

Before each strength session, spend a few (two to five) minutes warming up with some traditional cardio like pedaling on an indoor bike, a brisk walking, or light jogging on a treadmill. This can help increase your core temperature to help you feel ready for intense strength training.

For each workout, you will perform each movement in the superset (labelled A, B, etc.) as outlined in the listed set and rep (repetition) scheme. You will want to aim for a rep that feels like you can only do 2-4 more reps until you fail — this keeps it challenging enough without completely gassing you.


This session will focus on the hip hinge movement, which is similar to what you see when you perform a deadlift. The hip hinge is important to develop because your hips generate so much power on and off the bike if you’re a cyclist, and on and off the trail if you’re a runner. The massive muscles that pass through the hip area include: your glutes (butt muscles), hamstrings (backs of your thighs), quads (front of your thighs), hip flexors, and various core muscles (which also include your low back muscles, the rector spinae).

This session will take about 20-30 minutes to complete.


A1: Single-leg hip thrust (5-12/side); if this is too difficult, then perform the regular hip thrust

A2: Bodyweight single leg deadlift (5-12/side)

Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets



B1: Side low plank (hold for :15-:30/side)

B2: Kickstand Romanian deadlift (5-12/side)

Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets



C1: Bear crawl or bird dog (crawl for 15-30 seconds or perform 3-8 bird dogs per side)

C2: 3-Point rows (8-15/side)

Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets



Squats work the main drivers for cyclists: the quads (the main muscles on the front of your thighs). The pushing movement (like pushing something from your chest) helps to build stability for cyclists, helping you manage to control your bike with greater ease.

This session will take about 20-30 minutes to complete.


A1: Deadbug (3-8 reps/side - be slow and intentional); you can progress these by adding a dumbbell in your hands as shown here

A2: Lateral step-ups (5-15/leg); you can progress these by adding a weight to one arm as shown here

Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets


B1: Super(wo)man (8-15 reps, holding for 1-second at the top)

B2: Goblet squats (8-15 reps, holding a dumbbell, kettlebell, or a backpack at your chest); you can progress this movement by slowing down the tempo of your squat down, adding a pause at the bottom of the squat, or by increasing the weight you are lifting.

Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets


C1: Elevated push-ups (5-15 reps); progress this by performing on the ground or with a longer tempo, or by performing plyometric push-ups, which are shown at the end of the demo video.

C2: Goblet split squats (5-12/side); progress this by increasing weight or increasing the tempo as you squat down.

Rest about 30-60 seconds between sets

If you give these strength sessions a try for the next four weeks, see how much more stable and controlled you feel in your day-to-day activities (and also on the bike or while running, depending on how you enjoy moving your body).

Here’s to you getting even stronger and more stable, both on and off the bike!

About Jen Kates, CHC, NASM-CPT, Pn2, PPSC

If strength training interests you, and you would like to learn how to implement it alongside your indoor and outdoor cycling throughout the season, then be sure to give Jen Kates a follow on her Instagram here:

You can also learn about her signature strength and conditioning program for mountain bikers and gravel cyclists, #ShredStrong, here:

Jen has been coaching for over 15 years and founded Shift Human Performance after working in the research industry for 12 years. She specializes in coaching busy working professionals (like you) on how to unleash your full potential by optimizing your nutrition, fitness, sleep, and recovery, without spending countless hours in the kitchen or the gym. Besides her experience coaching hundreds of athletes, she holds several world-class certifications in personal training, health coaching, nutrition, and training pain-free.

Don't forget that even the best workouts will be of minimal value if you don’t support them with proper nutrition for recovery and progression.


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