Strength training with your riding buddy is a great way to keep both of you accountable. It enables you to develop a cross-training habit and supports you in the effort to ride injury-free all season long. But truth be told, unless you’re practicing a partner workout, watching each other complete set after set can be a bit boring and monotonous.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. This full-body partner workout, crafted by Noam Tamir C.S.C.S., CEO and owner of TS Fitness in New York City, will keep you and your partner engaged rep after rep—and building strength through each set.
The Benefits of This Partner Workout for Cyclists
Strength training with a partner can provide plenty of benefits. Not only will you have someone to catch your form mistakes, but you’ll also have someone there to push you—literally. Plus, it’s always nice to spice things up if you normally work out solo and it can provide an extra element of fun.
These moves help to prepare cyclists for unforeseen circumstances by including some partner reaction exercises. This helps to reduce the chance for injury and optimizes cycling performance, Tamir says. It also includes different equipment to help build strength in the lower body with single-leg exercise, and target your core via anti-rotation moves. These are key muscle groups for power and stability on the road and trails.
How to use this list: Perform each exercise in the order listed below for the number of reps described. Rest for 30 seconds in between exercises. For the moves in which one partner is doing more work (reaction lunge, bear plank, and Nordic hamstring curl), make sure each partner performs the move, and then move on to the next exercise. Complete 3 to 4 rounds total.
In the video above, Tamir and a partner demonstrate each exercise so you can learn proper form. For this workout you will need a resistance band, weight like a kettlebell or dumbbell, and a medicine ball or a weighted object that you can toss to your partner.
1. Reaction Lunge
Why it works: This exercise will strengthen your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, while also preparing you to react to sudden external forces on the road so you can better navigate uneven surfaces and slippery conditions, says Tamir.
How to do it: Stand in front of partner with feet hip-width apart, facing away, hands down by sides. Allow partner to push you forward and as you feel the force, step forward with right foot into a lunge. Both knees should bend at a 90-degree angle and left knee should hover over the ground. Push through right foot to stand back up. Repeat, stepping forward with left leg on the next rep. Continue alternating. D0 8 to 10 total reps, then switch with partner.
2. Kneeling Oblique Toss
Why it works: Your obliques keep you stable and upright on the bike. This power move, which focuses on the obliques, helps during the acceleration periods of ride, keeping you moving forward with stability, Tamir says.
How to do it: Kneel next to partner, both knees down and hip-width apart, with enough space in between to toss a ball. Holding the ball with both hands, rotate torso in the opposite direction of partner, then use core to rotate and toss ball toward partner. The other partner catches the ball, and rotates torso in opposite direction, then engages core to rotate and toss back. Repeat. Do 6 to 8 tosses each.
3. Bear Plank Hold
Why it works: Practicing this move with a partner will definitely take your core strength to the next level. It will force you to resist rotation (something you want to do on the bike!) as your partner pushes and pulls on your waist, says Tamir.
How to do it: Start on all fours with a neutral spine, knees under hips and wrists under shoulders. Partner can stand to the left or right of you. Keeping back flat, lift knees off the ground a few inches so you’re balancing on palms and balls of feet. Engage core, making sure back is flat. Hold bear plank as your partner pushes and pulls on waist, trying to move you. Do 10 to 12 pushes on each side. Then switch with partner.
4. Nordic Hamstring Curl
Why it works: Strong hamstrings are crucial for optimal cycling mechanics, as they help power your hip extension and the pulling up part of your pedal stroke. This is one of the best exercises to strengthen those muscles of the upper thigh, says Tamir.
How to do it: Start in the high kneeling position in front of partner, facing away, with hands down by sides and knees hip-width apart. Have partner hold ankles. Lean forward, catching yourself as you fall toward the ground. Engage core and push off the ground to return to kneeling position. Repeat. Do 6 to 8 reps. Then switch with partner.
5. Plank Pull Through
How to do it: Start in high plank position, shoulders over wrists, and feet hip-width apart, with partner doing the same to left of you. Place a dumbbell or kettlebell horizontally behind right wrist and to the outside of torso. Reach underneath body with left hand to grab the dumbbell and drag the weight across the floor to the left until it reaches the outside of torso. Then place hand back in plank position. Partner repeats, pulling to the outside of torso. Then, partner pulls it back between you and partner. Finally, reach underneath body with right hand to grab the dumbbell and drag it back to its original position. That’s one rep. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps.
6. Pallof Press
Why it works: One of the best foundational anti-rotational exercises, this move will help you strengthen and stabilize the muscles surrounding your spine, Tamir says.
How to do it: Stand next to partner, both holding an end of a resistance band at chest. (Make sure you’re far enough away from each other so that there’s tension on the band.) Engage core and push the band directly in front of the chest, using core to resist rotation. Bring the handle back into chest. Then have partner engage the core and push the band directly in front of the chest, using core to resist rotation. Continue alternating. Do 10 to 12 reps per person.
Monique LeBrun joined the editorial staff in October 2021 as the associate health and fitness editor. She has a master’s degree in journalism and has previously worked for ABC news and Scholastic. She is an avid runner who loves spending time outside.