Working with these fundamentals will help you turn the strength gained in the gym into muscular power and endurance on the bike.
6 Weight Training Fundamentals for Cyclists
The hard part here is that I don’t have any evidence to help decide one way or another. There just isn’t the data to make any substantial claims. So you’re going to have to make your mind up from experience. I am a big fan of weight training and have combined it every single time I have trained seriously.
To be honest part of the reason I do it can is personality based, I really enjoy the workouts and would be doing some form of weight training even without cycling. One thing to note is that it’s definitely not just for strength. Weight training helps you to stay lean. Generally speaking, it’s quite hard to put on a lot of muscle mass. The intensity of weight training will have an effect on your body fat.
I conclude that even though the results are the same, the time spent on the bike is different. It may not have a direct physical effect, but mentally, training in a different environment may have a bigger effect. Doing long miles day in day out can be very boring. Training inside on a different setting may give you a mental boost.
Also, just a quick note on equipment. I’m of the notion that no belts, gloves or wrist straps should be used during workouts. Why? If you need them your body probably isn’t ready to handle the weight you are trying to lift. My personal focus is on barbell and bodyweight workouts so a gym with a heavy weights room or lifting platforms and Olympics weights is ideal.
1. Start with Mobility and Stability
The place to start is with mobility and stability. In episode #20 we covered the importance of these two working together. If you haven’t listened to this episode please make sure you make some time to. I’m am sure it will save you a lot of time and pain in the future.
The idea though is to keep on assessing and adjusting based on what you find. Only work on one problem area at a time as well as core work which I will mention a little later on.
2. Use Multi-Joint Exercises
There is no point doing bicep curls or quadriceps curls. They are too focussed. There’s no benefit for cycling. Squat, deadlift, row, cleans.
3. Prevent Muscle Imbalances
Always balance out one muscle with another. I’m not talking about top to bottom, which is a major aesthetic issue in itself as I’m sure the Andy “The praying mantis” Schleck can attest to. It’s more to do with back to front or side to side imbalances. Other than addressing these in testing, you will want to balance out every area with complimentary exercises.
The squat doesn’t overtrain a particular articulation of any joints. For instance, too much bench pressing is known to cause shoulder issues, since only one side of the shoulder’s musculature is developed. (Pulling exercises such as rows and chin-ups are advised in that case.) In contrast, the squat develops the abs and back in tandem, as well as the quads, glutes and hamstrings, and all the other myriad leg muscles. There’s no one-sidedness to squatting that I know of.
4. Always Include the Core
Always include the core-abdominals and lower back. Core training has been left behind in the functional exercise movement. My assumption is that it is assumed to be working the core in complex exercises like the full squat. While this may be true, it’s also important to remember working on your core in isolation will help you to transfer power and strengthen your back.
You can also do core work on the bike. Using a bigger than normal gear, ride with your hands hovering over the bars.
Again this all comes back to mobility and in this case stability. Your core is part of the system that helps your stability.
5. Increase Ride Specific Exercises as you progress through your season
Converting the strength gained from early on in the season, when you are spending more time in the gym, to power and muscular endurance to be of any use in cycling.
Ways to do this are SE efforts and using exercises like plyometrics.
6. Use Exercises That Mimic Riding
Single Legs squats, jump squats, step ups, SL weighted sled throws.
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