Can Strength Training Help You Become A Better Cyclist?

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Can Strength Training Help You Become A Better Cyclist?

What’s so great about strength training? Well, for starters, you will develop amazing power. And what enhances performance, prevents injury. If you make your capacity greater than your demands you will become a more durable athlete and reach your full ability.

Strength training is about increasing your fate of force development and increasing neural drive to the muscles through gym-specific exercises. Below are tips for developing a strong strength training program.

Do it if…
…you own a bike and want to improve. Regardless of your level or type of cycling, strength training will increase speed and mobility, and help keep you injury-free.

All you need is…
…a small space, a barbell, a set of plates and proper instruction. Strength training doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or done in a gym, says Watson. But get proper instruction, then finesse your technique to ensure maximum results and decrease the chance of injury. Go to a trainer for a few sessions to learn the techniques and set a foundation before setting out on your own.

Commit to…
…at least six weeks, particularly in your off-season or at the beginning of a much longer training block. If you have more time available, say two or three months, do four-week blocks, with the fourth week used as a de-load week for the duration of your off-season.

Spend…
…two sessions a week concentrating on strength exercises, never exceeding an hour. Watson suggests a deadlift day and a squat day. “The big compound movements must be the main focus of your training.” Deadlifts are more important for cyclists, as they activate and work the two biggest (but sometimes under-utilized) cycling muscles—the glutes and hamstrings.

In a session…
…aim for anything between five and 12 sets, including warm-up sets. Reps per set should vary according to the amount of weight used, which should ramp up to 80 to 95 percent of your one-rep max as you progress in your session. (To ascertain your one-rep max, warm up with the bar to get your technique and movement correct. Then slowly increase the weights until they are as heavy as you can lift. You must still be able to complete one rep; once you’ve reached this limit, you’ve found your one-rep max.)

Progress by…
….simply increasing the weight you lift incrementally each week.

You’re overtraining if…
…you’re trashed after a session. You should feel stronger, not exhausted.

To maintain results…
…incorporate at least one strength session per week of training, but decrease the weights significantly (more than 50 percent), and where possible, do single-leg exercises. This will help maintain symmetry in your body. Your pre-season block should carry you through the season.