Group of male cyclists on the road.

10 Best Leg Workouts for Cyclists

Cycling often can help strengthen your legs. And when paired with a stretching and strength training routine, all of it together will reduce your likelihood of injury while biking.

However, if you want to focus on building stronger legs, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best leg workouts for cyclists. These exercises will target the specific muscles needed for biking so you can build strength and cycle faster and more efficiently.

Why are strong legs important for cycling?

Cyclists need strong legs! The stronger your legs, the more power you’ll produce while cycling, which means you’ll ride faster. Strengthening your legs will also improve your endurance, meaning you’ll fatigue slower and be able to ride longer.

In short, with stronger and speedier legs, you’ll be a better cyclist overall! This is good news all around, whether you cycle competitively or it’s just a hobby.

10 Best leg workouts for cyclists

If you’re currently lacking leg strength, don’t worry! There are plenty of opportunities to change that. We recommend adding the following exercises to your regular workout routine. And, of course, cycling regularly outdoors or with an exercise app like Vingo will help too!

1. Dumbbell squats

A man coaching a woman how to do a dumbbell squat at home gym.

Squats are highly beneficial for cyclists. They’ll challenge you to work your hamstrings in a way other than pedaling and balance your strength.

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold a set of dumbbells at your shoulders and engage your core.
  • Bend your knees and drop your hips down and back into a low squat.
  • Push through your feet and stand back up.
  • Repeat.

2. Single-leg deadlifts

A woman doing a single-leg deadlift with the help of male friend.

This is a great all-around strength exercise. However, it’s beneficial for cyclists because it will strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, helping you pedal with more power and ease. It also requires core strength and stability, which will improve your balance and handling on the bike.

  • Stand up straight, balancing on your left leg. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand.
  • Slowly extend your right leg behind you while you hinge at the hip. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
  • Lower the kettlebell or dumbbell until your body is parallel to the ground.
  • Stand back up straight, pushing up through your left foot.
  • Repeat and switch sides.

3. Side lunges

A couple doing side-lunges at a gym together.

Lunges will tone and strengthen your legs, specifically your hamstrings, hips, and quads. You can use several different types of lunges to increase your strength and flexibility for better cycling performance.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a set of dumbbells at your shoulders.
  • Step out to your left and bend your knee. Send your hips down and back until your left thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Stand back up, pushing through your left foot for support.
  • Repeat and switch sides.

4. Lunge split jumps

A woman doing lunge splits at a gym.
  • Start in a standing position.
  • Lower your body into a lunge position with your left foot forward and right foot backward until both legs are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Quickly press into your left heel and jump up, switching your legs so they’re in opposite positions and landing with your right foot forward.
  • Make sure to use your arms for balance and repeat, continuing to jump with alternating legs.
  • Repeat.

5. Walking lunges

A man doing walking lunges at a gym.
  • Stand up straight and hold a dumbbell at each side.
  • Take one large step forward with your right leg and bring your left knee toward the floor, forming a 90-degree angle with both legs.
  • Press down into your right heel to raise your body back to standing.
  • Repeat, walking forward with alternating legs.

6. Jumping lunges

A man doing a jumping lunge outside.
  • Start in a standing position.
  • Jump up and into a forward lunge position.
  • As you land, immediately jump up again and alternate your legs in the air like scissors.
  • Bend your knees when you land to soften the impact. Keep your feet and knees facing forward.
  • Repeat.

7. Bulgarian squats

A woman doing a Bulgarian squat at the gym.

Basic squats are an excellent leg workout for cyclists, but Bulgarian squats pack a powerful punch! Much like cycling involves asymmetrical movements, these squats do too. They’re a single-leg exercise that builds individual strength in each leg, targeting your quads and glutes for more pedaling power and efficiency. This exercise also engages your core muscles to improve your balance and stability on the saddle.

  • Place a box or bench behind you.
  • Stand up straight, with your back to the box, and hold a set of dumbbells in each hand.
  • Reach your right foot back and put it on top of the box. 
  • Bend your left leg, gently lowering your right knee down toward the ground.
  • Stop when your left thigh is parallel to the floor and return to standing, pushing through your left foot.
  • Repeat on both legs.

8. Calf raises

Two women doing calf raises at a gym.

Although muscular calves won’t necessarily improve your cycling performance, calf raises are still a necessary leg workout for cyclists. They’ll help you maintain overall muscular balance and strength, so you can keep cycling for years to come!

  • Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly raise your body up onto your toes.
  • When you reach the tip of your toes, gradually lower your body back into the starting position.
  • Repeat.

9. Glute bridges

Woman doing a glute bridge at home on a yoga mat.

Glute bridges target your glutes, abs, and hamstrings, all while improving your core’s stability. If you have a strong core, you can pedal harder and fatigue less quickly while cycling.

  • Lie on your back on the floor.
  • Pull your knees up so your feet are flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips, pushing up through your heels.
  • Hold the bridge for a few seconds, ensuring your hips, knees, and shoulders form a straight line, and then slowly lower back down.
  • Hover your body just above the floor before lifting back up into the bridge position.
  • Repeat.

10. Box jumps

A man doing a box jumping at a gym.

Box jumps are an excellent lower-body exercise and leg workout for cyclists. They can help improve your overall power and strength by working your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

  • Start in a standing position and face a box or step that’s about 12 to 18 inches tall.
  • Squat down and jump up explosively, swinging your arms for momentum.
  • Land on top of the box, bending your knees to soften the impact.
  • Step back down to a standing position on the ground.
  • Repeat.

Key Takeaways:

These 10 leg workouts for cyclists will help you build stronger legs and improve your overall balance, strength, and stability on the bike. Add them to your existing strength training routine for best results, and keep biking regularly! 

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