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There are many possibilities for improving one’s strength, so who still uses dumbbells? Cyclists do! We have compiled some great exercises you can use to improve your strength during the winter months by training not only your torso but especially your legs using dumbbells.

Why train with dumbbells?

It’s a simple calculation: stronger legs equal more power to work the pedals. If you’re able to keep your strength up, you can move more easily and reach a higher average speed. A well-trained torso only contributes to your stability while riding which allows you to implement your technique.

Those good old dumbbells are perfect for training from home. Since the body must be stable during free weights training, you’re working on the muscles you want to train as well as improving the stability of the surrounding and fixating muscles.

The exercises

Pay attention to your execution of the exercises and start doing beginner’s exercises with lighter weights. After 3-4 weeks, you can include exercises for intermediates in your training. If you work on your strength twice a week, you’ll be well-prepared for the start of the next cycling season.


#1 Lunges

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle group: Butt / Legs

Number of repetitions: 3 sets with 6-10 repetitions on each side

Hold the dumbbells in your hands while your arms are stretched downwards and do a lunge. Make sure that your knee doesn’t move over your toes and that your leg stays stable without turning left or right. Keep looking ahead throughout the whole exercise and alternate your legs.


#2 Calf-raises

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle group: Calves

Number of repetitions: 3 sets with 15-20 repetitions on each side (light weight)

Start in an upright standing position with hanging arms while holding the dumbbells in your hands. Your toes are pointed slightly outwards. Slowly lift your heels until your calves are tensed and slowly lower your heels back into your starting position.


#3 Reverse-flys

Difficulty: Beginner

Muscle group: Back

Number of repetitions: 3 sets with 6-10 repetitions on each side (light weight)

Bow your torso with slightly bent knees (starting position) with your arms hanging next to your knees and your hands holding the dumbbells. Lift the dumbbells next to your body with arms outstretched. Contract your shoulder blades and lower your arms back into the starting position. Make sure you don’t make a hollow back.


#4 Side-step

Difficulty: Beginner / Intermediate

Muscle group: Butt

Number of repetitions: 3 sets with 6-10 repetitions on each side

Start in a standing upright position with hanging arms, dumbbells in hand. Do a lunge to the right, bend your right knee and lower your butt. Your left leg is stretched to the side. The dumbbells are in your hands which are stretched downwards in front of your body. Go back to the starting position and switch sides. Make sure your back is straight and you’re looking ahead.


#5 Push-pull

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle group: Back / Chest

Number of repetitions: 3 sets with 6-10 repetitions on each side

Position your body as if you were doing push-ups, the dumbbells are always in your hand. Hold the dumbbells and lift one outstretched arm on your side up to the height of your hip. The other arm remains stretched, supporting your weight, with the dumbbell in your hand resting on the floor. Lower your raised arm back into the starting position and do a push-up. Then do the same with your other side. Make sure to keep your back straight and your arms close to your body.


#6 Step-up

Difficulty: Intermediate

Muscle group: Butt / Legs

Number of repetitions: 3 sets with 6-10 repetitions on each side

Step on a bench, chair or footstool alternating between your legs and holding the dumbbells in your hanging arms. It’s important that your torso remains stable and that you’re only using your legs to step up. Finish the exercise by stepping down slowly while staying in control of the movement and return to the starting position.

Can you recommend more dumbbell exercises? 💪🏻

Let us know in the comments!