Have you noticed that on longer rides your upper body suffers from riding fatigue far more than your legs ever do? More times than not, my throbbing shoulders scream as the time on my carbon appendage exceeds a few hours.

Cycling brings a unique strain on your upper body. A tight neck, back, and shoulders slow you down and strip your motivation on long distance rides. Strengthening your upper body will make for a more efficient and enjoyable ride.

As your time in the saddle is limited during the winter months, mix in some upper body strengthening workouts with your off-season cardio routine. Here are a few workouts that you can do at home.

STANDING SHOULDER PRESS.

Hold dumbbell weights at shoulder level, with your palms facing forward and elbows out. Stand with you back straight, legs hip width apart, and knees slightly bent. Press the dumbbell weights up overhead until your arms are extended.

LATERAL RAISE.

Hold dumbbell weights at your sides, with your palms facing in. Stand with your legs hip width apart and slightly bend your knees. Raise the weights out to your sides to shoulder level while keeping your elbows slightly bent. Keep your back straight, head level, and eyes forward.

REVERSE FLY.

Hold dumbbell weights at your sides, standing with you feet close together and knees slightly bent. Bend forward at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor. With your palms facing each other, lift the dumbbells up and out to shoulder level.

ONE-ARM ROW.

Stand with one foot in front of the other with your knee slightly bent. Bend forward at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor. Grab the dumbbell with one hand and pull up to your midsection, leading with the elbow. Repeat on the other side to complete one set.

PRONE COBRA.

Place your stomach and chest on your fitness ball. Straighten your legs behind you, balancing on your toes. Raise your upper body towards the ceiling, lifting your arms up and out. Keep your chest out as your raise until you back is straight. Bring your body back down over the ball to complete one rep. To increase the difficulty, add dumbbell weights this exercise.

WEIGHT & SCHEDULE.

Use weights that are challenging to complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps for each of these strength-training workouts. Limit your body fatigue this spring by doing these exercises three times a week throughout the off-season.