Suspension Training = Full-Body Workout
Suspension training systems are basically portable gyms with you as resistance. The “gym” is wherever you find an anchor point indoors or outdoors just over your head. The “equipment” consists of adjustable straps and an anchor point and weighs less than a 2lb dumbbell. The “workout” is best described as closed-chain pushing and pulling from a variety of angles with your body weight as resistance. It’s super-easy to engage both the upper and lower body together in natural strength training movements that resemble those of sports and activities.
Cyclists should focus heavily on functional strength training in the off season for a variety of reasons. Let’s explore a few. First off, as a competitive athlete craving for challenge, functional strength training gives you something challenging and ultimately rewarding to pursue during the dark and rainy months. Second, functional strength training can be be done anywhere, really: at home in the bathroom to hallway doorway on a TRX with stretchy bands (my personal favourite); or in any gym, big or small with the right guidance to set you on your way. Third, the payoffs from off-season functional strength training are huge come the following season. For instance, expect your anaerobic threshold to be pushed that much further along than the previous year. You’ll get more power at less cost to your aerobic metabolism. Fourth, strength training can be surgically structured to minimize workout time while maximizing the engagement of muscles and joints per movement to yield benefits thoroughly transferrable to powerful cycling and a great season. Below are some options I offer for mastering functional strength training for a better next-season: