The phrase less is more is a cliche. But when it comes to building arm strength, it’s actually true. With the right set of moves—like the compound exercises listed below, curated by Lindsey Clayton, senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City and co-founder of the Brave Body Project—you can get more work done in less time.
The Benefits of a 10-Minute Arm Workout for Cyclists
Naturally, as a cyclist, you want to reserve your gym time to strengthen the muscles in your legs because you know these are the ones you’ll depend on most when you’re out riding. However, “spending time strengthening your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and back will enhance your cycling performance. More strength means better posture on the bike,” says Clayton. This upper-body workout also strengthens your core—and all these benefits make these moves an important part of any strength-training plan.
Also, because this is so quick, you can easily do the workout right after a ride, saving time and building strength all at once, Clayton adds. Research supports the fact that you don’t need a ton of time to get stronger, too. According to one study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, dedicating as little as 13 minutes three times a week is enough to improve strength and endurance.
How to use this list: Complete two rounds of this circuit. Perform each exercise in the order listed below for 50 seconds each, resting for 10 seconds in between exercises. Recover for 60 seconds in between circuits.
Each exercise is demonstrated by Clayton so you can learn proper form. For this workout you will need a set of medium dumbbells. An exercise mat is optional.
1. Bicep Curl to Lateral Raise
Perform two bicep curls: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, arms at sides, holding a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand with palms facing up. Bend both elbows to bring dumbbells toward shoulders. Keep elbows close to the torso. Lower the dumbbells back down and straighten arms. Repeat. Then perform two lateral raises: Raise both arms up and out to the sides, until weights are at shoulder height. Then lower both arms back down by sides. Repeat. Then repeat the entire sequence.
2. Rear Delt Fly to Tricep Kickback
Perform two rear delt flys: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Maintaining a flat back and neutral neck, hinge at hips and allow arms to hang straight down. Engage core and draw shoulders down and back. This is the starting position. With elbows slightly bent, lift arms out to sides to shoulder height. Lower weights to the starting position. Repeat. Then perform two tricep kickbacks: Row dumbbells to hips, so triceps are in line with back. Straighten arms, lifting dumbbells behind you. Then bend elbows again. Repeat. Then repeat entire sequence.
3. Kneeling Wide Bicep Curl to Arnold Press
Perform two kneeling wide bicep curls: Start kneeling with knees hip-width apart, arms down by sides, palms facing outward, and a dumbbell in each hand. Bend both elbows to bring dumbbells toward shoulders, and keep elbows close to torso. Lower dumbbells back down and straighten arms. Repeat. Then perform two Arnold presses: With elbows bent and weights at shoulders, palms facing you, press arms straight up with biceps by ears, rotating arms so palm faces out. Then, bring arms back down to shoulders, rotating weights back so palms face shoulders. Repeat. Then repeat entire sequence.
4. Kneeling Hammer Curl to Shoulder Press
Perform two kneeling hammer curls: Start kneeling with knees hip-width apart, arms down by sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other. Bend both elbows to lift dumbbells toward shoulders, keeping elbows close to torso. Lower the dumbbells back down, straightening arms. Repeat. Perform two shoulder presses: With elbows bent, weights racked at shoulders, palms facing each other, press arms straight up with biceps by ears. Then slowly bring arms back down. Repeat. Then repeat entire sequence.
5. Closed-Grip Chest Press to Skull Crusher
Perform two closed-grip chest presses: Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent and feet planted. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other and dumbbells pressed together, arms straight over chest. With control, bend elbows and lower weights down toward the chest, keeping dumbbells together. Pause, then press back up. Repeat. Perform two skull crushers: Extend arms straight above chest with hands shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows to lower the dumbbells toward ears. Press dumbbells back up and straighten arms. Repeat. Then repeat entire sequence.
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