An Active Approach to Cycling Injuries: Kettlebell Exercises for Cyclists

An Active Approach to Cycling Injuries: Kettlebell Exercises for Cyclists

Using the kettlebell in your cycling strength training program provides several unique benefits, making it an appealing choice for off-the-bike training. 

The Benefits of Strength Training with Kettlebells

  • Efficient use of training time: The ability to flow from one exercise to the next without the need to adjust or change your equipment results in shorter, more intense workouts.
  • Total body training: Most kettlebell workout plans employ a vast range of muscle groups, allowing you to stimulate a greater number of muscle fibers in a shorter period of time.
  • Cardio aspect: The dynamic nature of the exercises and greater muscle recruitment cause an increase in heart rate while developing muscle strength and endurance.
  • Less equipment required: Due to the flexibility and adaptability of the exercises, with the utilization of only one piece of equipment you are able to perform a challenging and progressive workout.
  • Little space needed: Most exercises can be performed in a compact space and in the safety of your own pain cave.
  • Functional for daily life: The exercises are based upon normal everyday movement patterns which translate as improvement in the performance of daily living activities as well as cycling.
  • Counteracts the negative effect of prolonged sitting:  By dynamically engaging core and postural muscles, the exercises negate the deleterious effects of prolonged sitting in the saddle and out.

Zwift Insider Kettlebell Strengthening Program

Find the Zwift Insider Kettlebell Program complete with exercise descriptions >

Chime in!

Do you use kettlebells as a tool in your cycling strength training?  Your fellow Zwifters want to know how they work for you! Comment below…

About The Author

Christopher Schwenker

Chris is a semi-retired physical therapist who, following more than 25 years in solo private practice, considers himself blessed to combine a passion for cycling and creative writing in pursuit of his next life goal. He lives on the North Fork of Long Island with his beautiful wife and two university student children.

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Carl J
Carl J
10 days ago

Here’s a kettlebell workout that I’ve saved, and been meaning to get around to. Has a Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced workout for cyclists, and talks about why each exercise is important. Also a great site for kettlebell workouts in general too https://kettlebellsworkouts.com/kettlebell-strength-training-exercises-for-cyclists/ On a side note, one thing I dislike about a lot of cycling programs (eg: Zwift’s), is that it’s all based on purely cycling, without including any other types of workouts. I do believe that cycling alone, although you’ll see improvements, will only get you so far. Resources about cycling + off bike workouts (+ yoga would be… Read more »

Kelley Wegeng
Kelley Wegeng (@kwegeng)
9 days ago

I’m convinced. Now for specifics though – what’s the best way to get kettlebells in central Illinois? Do I order online and just pay for the (heavy) shipping? (Maybe this is what Amazon free two-day shipping is made for!)

I probably also need to know what weight(s) to order. For reference, I’m a woman but I’m very, very strong. I raise my hand when there are calls for strong backs and can carry my husband on my shoulders. What should I get?

Mike
Mike (@michaeltrowe)
9 days ago
Reply to  Kelley Wegeng

Perhaps you can go to your local sporting goods store, like Dicks or something, and try them out. I tend to think a heavier bell is easier to use as it will force you to use better form. If it is too light you may end up just using your arms and shoulders to move it, rather than legs and hips (for swings at least).

Justin E Creech
Justin E Creech
8 days ago
Reply to  Kelley Wegeng

Hey Kelley! I’m a certified kettlebell instructor with strongfirst.com and on IG at carolina_strong_coaching [email protected]
contact me and id be happy to help!

Whitney Stidham
Whitney Stidham
9 days ago

I do single leg deadlifts with a kettlebell; they’re a great stability exercise for the hips and lower back. If you ride, stabilization exercises are a must! Goblet squats are great for those cyclists, like myself, with bad backs because you’re anteriorly loaded. The Bosu ball is probably my favorite piece of exercise equipment to use for stability because there’s so much you can do with it. The Bulgarian split squat is great too, and you can use kettlebells with it as well, either anteriorly loaded or with the weights by your side.

Mike
Mike (@michaeltrowe)
9 days ago

I’ve seen tons of people at the gym use kettlebells incorrectly, make sure you are being trained by someone who knows what they are doing. Swings are not arm and shoulder workouts, they are explosive movements from the hips and glutes. Starting with a heavier bell usually helps with the form since it is harder to just lift it with your arms, you need to use your legs and thrust the hips forward to move the bell out and up, the arms and shoulders are just the pendulum. Check out Pavel Tsatsouline and his instruction.

Mike
Mike (@michaeltrowe)
9 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Wow, I just watched the video in the link for the “zwift insider kettlebell program” above. The guy in the video has a tiny bell and is clearly using his arms and shoulders to move it. Don’t do that.

Brian
Brian
9 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Agreed. I love KBs and have 25, 35, and 55 lbs ones but rarely use the 25 for anything, for perspective, as a 165lb guy.

Justin E Creech
Justin E Creech
8 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Agreed Mike! This article has some terrible stuff! I am certified under Pavel’s Strongfirst organization and coach cyclists using his methods! It’s scary seeing the info that is out there on kettlebells, a chiropractors dream!

Markus
Markus
9 days ago

What ist the recommended weight, when starting with kettlebells?

Mike
Mike (@michaeltrowe)
8 days ago
Reply to  Markus

see my other comments above

Justin E Creech
Justin E Creech
8 days ago

Hi all! Im a certified kettlebell strength coach under StrongFirst.com as well as the russian kettlebell certification (RKC). I’ve also been the private strength coach for Hincapie Racing development squad since 2018. If you are truly serious about improving your spinal health and increasing sustained power output on your bike – contact me! IG carolina_strong_coaching
[email protected]
Some of the exercises mentioned here can be great for you but not without building a strength foundation and dialing in some related to these movements!

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