Most cyclists are continually trying to improve their technique and performance, and of course get faster!
Cycling training is often made up of 90% endurance work, with long, slow training, and 10% high intensity. A balance like this works well, maximizing aerobic capacity while also working on the anaerobic threshold – allowing cyclists to reach their full potential.
Are you striving for that extra edge though? Simply put, a faster cyclist needs to be strong and while training on the bike is essential, strength training exercises specifically for cyclists can make you faster and better performing cyclist – while minimising the risk of injury at the same time. Many consider knee compression sleeve reviews and read on for additional tips.
What is the Best Strength Training for Cyclists?
When practicing any specific sport, including cycling, you tend to work the muscles that are used for that activity, leaving other muscles susceptible to weaknesses, which may then lead to injury. There needs to be a balance of strength across the muscle groups, and this is where strength training comes in, by making sure that the lesser-used muscle groups are strong too, so they work well with their opposing muscle groups.
Strength training also improves body alignment, and that allows it to work well overall. If muscles, ligaments, tendons or bones become misaligned they are unable to work perfectly together, again leading to possible injury.
There has been a lot of research into strength training for cyclists and heavy resistance/low repetition training appears to be the most effective, regardless of your fitness or the level of your cycling. You don’t need to be an athlete to benefit, even recreational cyclists are often looking for improvements.
There are three main benefits of focusing on this training:
● Strength will be increased, without large increases in muscle bulk – you don’t really want more weight on the bike.
● Cycling power and endurance will be improved.
● Reduced fatigue and recovery time when compared to doing higher reps. This means you will be able to spend more time on the bike focusing on endurance training.
What Does It Involve?
Something to consider when setting out on a strength training path is your goals. What do you most want to achieve with your cycling? This can help determine the exercises that will suit you best. Beginning with an 8-week program, 3 times a week is enough to improve cycling economy and efficiency, while increasing the time to exhaustion when at maximum aerobic power.
Complete 4 sets of 4 repetitions of >85% 1RM weight1 and combine this with your usual endurance training on the bike.
There are a range of great exercises that will benefit cyclists including leg presses, hip thrusts and single leg step ups. Of course, it’s not only your leg strength that is important on a bike, core strength also helps maximise efficiency, so exercises such as planks are also a good option. They will also assist your lower back, a common area of complaint amongst cyclists. It is advised to keep any injuries or weaknesses in mind and ensure that the program is specifically designed for the individual, in order to achieve the best results.
When we increase our muscle strength, the capacity of our muscles is increased. Therefore, as strength builds up, our muscles can tolerate higher training loads so you can train harder without increasing the risk of injury. Strength training also reinforces the ligaments and tendons in the body, such as those around major joints like the knee and hip, which also helps prevent injury in those areas.
The key is to start slowly and always using proper technique is essential. Always engage some professional help with a strength program, especially if you are just starting out.
Physiotherapy for Cyclists
To devise a tailored exercise regime and offer support along the way, a specialised sports physiotherapist can be a great option. The team at Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy are experts in strength and conditioning while also having knowledge of movement patterns and injury pathology in the body. They can also diagnose any existing injuries or weaknesses you have that can be addressed in a plan devised specifically to get you on your bike stronger than before.
Optimise your cycling performance and feel stronger and more confident on the bike with some strength training and back up from a great physio. Make contact with a sports physio today.1 In strength training, 1RM is the maximum amount of resistance you can lift one time. Use that figure to calculate your workout reps. For example, if your 1RM is 70kg, doing 4 reps at 85% of the 1RM would equal 4 reps at 59.5kg.