This article originally appeared in the Capital Bicycle Club Newsletter September 2013
The deadlift is weight-bearing exercise that can be a great addition to a cyclist’s year-round strength training program. Honestly, if only one exercise existed in the world, I’d hope it was the deadlift because in addition to targeting some beneficial muscles for cycling, it also trains a fundamental movement pattern of lifting. It can help build your tolerance to longer rides and also improve your core strength. The deadlift can also make you a little more bomb-proof from “off-the-bike” injuries that may limit your training time, especially people with recurring episodes of lower back pain. You can do this exercise at the gym or at home. In this article, I’ll demonstrate using a 25 lb kettlebell. In the gym, you’ll have flexibility to work up to higher weights with a bar and plates, but ALWAYS train the movement with lighter weights until you are confident that you have the form absolutely correct. If you aren’t sure, ask a fitness professional to observe your form. Here’s how to do it safely:
The Setup: Straddle the kettlebell with the weight positioned between the ankles on the floor. Push your hips back and lower them to the floor while keeping your back flat and holding your chest and head up slightly.
The Lift: Rock your hips slightly back until you feel your body weight shift your heels. Point your elbows back and stand up by driving your heels into the ground as you pull your hips up and forward. Stand tall at the top without leaning backwards. Lower the weight to the same spot you lifted it from, and stand up tall without the weight. This completes one repetition.
Recommended Weight/Repetitions: After perfecting your form with little or no weight, try a 15-25 lb kettlebell. From there progress to a weight where you are challenged, but able to maintain form for 8-10 repetitions.