Indoor Gym: Free Weights

Don't dismiss free weights as the preserve of oiled-up gym bunnies obsessed with six-packs and their reflection. Normal people can use them to burn calories and become stronger, which will help improve both technique and stamina for next season. Just don't overdo it - you're not trying to pack on huge amounts of muscle, so go for weights you can lift 10-12 times per set.

A helping hand across the disciplines

"You can improve your swimming by doing upper-body and shoulder exercises," says personal trainer Jason Anderson (www.movement3.co.uk).

Other exercises can strengthen your legs and back - many cyclists suffer from back pain. "Do lunges and split squats, plus the superman for spinal mobility," says Anderson.

"One-legged deadlifts mimic the 'collapsing phase' of the run, when most of the energy goes through the lead leg. And extended abdominal work at the end of your routine will help to strengthen the core."
 
Sample sessions

Warm up by doing some light cardio work for 5-10 minutes. This will loosen up your muscles and raise your core temperature. When you're performing sets, do not use fast, jerky motions, because that's a sure way to hurt yourself.

Do not let your lower back do the work and if you feel pain, don't ignore it. Rest for 30-60 seconds between each set and for 1-2 minutes between each exercise. For each exercise use a weight that allows you to complete the required reps.

Picture credit: Thomas Northcut/ Getty Images

Barbell shoulder press with rotation

Target: shoulders, core
Sets: 3
Reps: 5-6 each side

* Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell across the top of your chest, palms forward.
* Press the bar straight up above your head and twist to one side as you lift it.
* Return slowly to the start. Repeat on the opposite side.

Barbell curl

Target: arms
Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12

* Stand with your shoulders back, holding a barbell by your waist, your palms facing outwards.
* Lift the weight to your chest with a smooth movement, without rocking back.
* Pause and lower the weight, keeping your elbows tucked in throughout. 

One-legged barbell deadlift

Target: hamstrings
Sets: 3
Reps: 6-8 each side

* Stand on one leg, holding a barbell by your waist with your arms straight, shoulder-width apart.
* With a slight bend in the standing knee, tip from the hips, keeping the spine in a neutral position, until the barbell reaches mid-shin.
* Pause at the bottom before returning to the
start position.
* If standing on one leg is too hard, stand on both with your feet shoulder-width apart. 

Superman

Target: lower back
Sets: 3
Reps: 10

* Lie face down with your arms stretched out over your head (just like Superman does when he's flying very fast to impress Lois Lane).
* Contract your core and raise both arms and legs off the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds and lower slowly to the start.

Barbell split squat

Target: quads, hamstrings, glutes
Sets: 3
Reps: 5-6 each side

* Stand in a split stance, with one leg in front of the other, holding a barbell in both hands across your shoulders, behind your head.
* Sink down until your lead leg is bent 90° and your back knee almost touches the floor. Pause.
* Making sure your torso is upright, push back up off your front foot to the start. Repeat, using the opposite leg. 

Gym-ball pullover

Target: chest, back, core
Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12

* Lie with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and your head and shoulders on a gym ball. Hold a dumbbell above your head in both hands.
* Keeping your feet flat lower the weight slowly behind your head, pause and return to the start.
* Use your chest to power the move; don't arch your back. 

Dumbbell crunch

Target: core
Sets: 3
Reps: 12-15

* Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
* Holding a dumbbell to your chest, with one hand on each end, tense your abs to lift your shoulders off the floor, pause and then lower slowly.