Are you a cyclist, and do you associate winter with Christmas dinners? Whoops! Think again. You might get to relax a bit at the end of summer, but winter training is crucial for building your fitness before the next cycling season. With a bit of discipline and a good set of core stability exercises, you can build up a nice lead over the competition during the cold, dark months. We will help you get started with this set of recommended exercises.

1. Dumbbell deadlift

Good core stability is important for cycling. The more stable your core, the more efficient you will be in transferring power to the pedals. The dumbbell deadlift is a good workout for the buttocks, hamstrings, quads and the lower back. Start with a straight back and look forwards. Guide the dumbbells down slowly alongside your legs, but keep your back straight. The hinge point is your hip, which slowly moves backwards. A slight bend in the knees is permitted. As soon as the dumbbells reach the middle of the tibia, you come up again.

Video: Bicycling.com

For beginners, two to three sets of 12 repetitions are recommended. If you want to increase this later, you can switch to heavier dumbbells, and/or add more sets with fewer repetitions. Take a few minutes between each set.

2. Single leg bridge

The single leg bridge is crucial to be able to pedal smoothly and stand up/sit down in the saddle. This exercise focuses mainly on the gluteal muscles. Lay on a mat looking up. Pull one leg up so your heel is touching your buttocks. Raise the other leg straight into the air, but make sure that both thighs are parallel to each other. Then bring your hip up in a controlled manner until your chest, abdomen and knee run in a straight line. Repeat multiple sets for both legs.

Video: Bicycling.com

3. Squats

Of course, squats are part of this routine. Although they do not look challenging, doing squats without weights can give you a great workout. The squatting movement is great for your knees, which can be under quite a load during cycling.

Stand up and make sure your feet are about shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands in front of you, and slowly lower your buttocks. As soon as your buttocks are lower than your knees, it is time to come back up again. It is important that you push your bum out, so your nose stays on the same vertical line as your knees.

4. Burpees

Burpees are good for almost all the muscles in the body, and ideal for someone who has a tight schedule. By repeating this task, you ensure your heart rate increases and you train many muscles simultaneously. A quick win for fitness!

Video: Bicycling.com

Start in standing position. Bend your knees as if you are making a squat, and then position your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your legs backwards so that you are in the plank position. Bend your arms as if you are doing a press-up, and then come up again. Pull your legs back under your hips and jump straight up, as you throw your arms above your head.

Do you want to shred in the peloton next season? Then make sure you are working on your core stability exercises this winter! A strong core and toned muscles will make it happen for you.