STRENGTH TRAINING FOR CYCLISTS

Whether to incorporate strength training into cycling or not is the most debated topics in the cycling world. Coaches and athletes are hesitant to incorporate strength training because of the false thoughts of increased lean body mass and its negative impact on the performance. However, several research show strength training benefits cyclists, especially on their endurance performance. 

How does strength training benefit cycling performance?

Strength training benefits in the following ways:

  1. Improved performance and economy due to the increase in force potential of type 1 muscle fibers and delayed the activation of type 2 muscle fibers.
  2. An increase in the proportion of type II muscle fibers leads to improved endurance performance. 
  3. Increased blood flow in the exercising muscles due to the improvement in the rate of force development and an increase in maximal force. 
  4. Improvement in the ability to engage a large number of students had been observed. 

Cycling Strength Training Recommendations

Before getting started with the heavy strength training, it is better to start with light gym work. In this way, you can correctly learn the techniques with a light load. Follow these guidelines to adjust the strength training into your training plan.

Specific

To start any form of strength training, your goal should be to include exercise that engages your muscles, muscles patterns, and muscle action that similarity to the muscles action on bike. In cycling, the muscles around the hip, knee and ankle joints are required to work together in order to generate a force on the pedals, so this should be the primary focus

Training Load

Try to reduce the volume of your endurance training when you are starting strength training, because when you add this into the already high load training, you deny the improvements in your cycling performances.

Sessions

It is essential to start each session with a general warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes. Two sessions per week over an 8 to 12 week period are sufficient to achieve strength increases. It is recommended to perform between four and 10 reps with two or three sets with approximately two to three minutes of recovery between sets. After completing your warm-up begins with the exercise that engages your larger muscle first and then goes with some exercises that involve your peddling action

Exercises

Some of the best strength training exercises that you can include in your training plan include: 

  • Squats
  • Step-up 
  • Leg presses
  • Toe raises
  • Half squats
  • One-leg hip flexions

On-the-bike alternatives

Torque (or big gear) efforts are performed by maintaining a high power output at a low cadence. These are especially effective in utilizing the ERG mode function on a smart trainer where the resistance is maintained throughout the effort.