Strength training often has this misconception that it’s exclusively for bodybuilders. But strength training is now universally accepted as vital training for endurance athletes. Not only does it help improve your ride, but it also improves your overall health and quality of life. Here are a few reasons why you need to start doing strength training as a cyclist:
Improved cycling performance
Strength training doesn’t have as big an impact on your aerobic system as cardio, however, it does improve your overall strength and corrects muscular imbalance. This can make a huge difference when it comes to your stamina on the bike. If your core and back muscles are stronger, you can maintain a better posture on the bike for longer. If your quads and hamstrings are stronger this can improve your aerobic capacity and ability to resist fatigue during long rides.
A study conducted by Telemark University College in Norway with some elite cyclists concluded that: “maximal strength training for 8 weeks improved cycling economy and efficiency and increased time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power among competitive road cyclists, without a change in maximal oxygen uptake, cadence, or bodyweight”. Try our 4-week online strength training program specifically designed for cyclists to help improve your ride then try Bike Blitz.
Cyclists often suffer from injuries such as ITB syndrome, low back pain, knee pain, and tendinosis. Most of these injuries are caused by muscle imbalances because of repetitive motions such as pedaling. One muscle will get too tight because of overuse while the other side will become weak because of lack of use. Some of these injuries are avoidable by doing a cycling-specific strength program and stretch routine. This will help strengthen underused muscles and connective tissues to correct imbalances.
Improves balance and coordination
Learning how to ride a bike requires a decent amount of balance and coordination. However, once it becomes second nature then it doesn’t challenge your neuromuscular system to improve anymore. Doing resistance training, such as lifting free weights, develops and maintains proprioception and balance thus improving your balance and coordination. This is particularly important as we age. Ten times more people are admitted into hospital each year through falls. Improving your balance reduces the risk of falling and some lengthy overnight hospital stays!!
Improves bone density
Cycling is a non-weight bearing activity making it great for people with orthopedic concerns and previous injuries. However, past research shows that “the bone density of some competitive riders is lower than their sedentary control.” In order to maintain bone health and combat osteopenia and osteoporosis, experts suggest that you should do strength and resistance training to improve bone health.
Retain muscle mass
There will come a period in a year when you need to take a break from cycling, e.g. when the weather is too bad or maybe you need a rest. Although you may opt to train indoors, these periods are a great time to incorporate other workouts such as strength training in your routine. This is helpful in developing underdeveloped muscles such as the hamstring and hip flexors that are often not used enough during your regular training on the bike.
But does strength training make you faster?
It can increase your power on the bike, correct muscle imbalance and help you sustain faster speeds for longer rides. All that can definitely make you a faster and better cyclist.
Bike Blitz online strength training program is a 4-week plan specifically designed to make cyclists stronger. It’s great for those that are time poor as the workouts are anything from 15-50 minutes long! It includes videos of every exercise whether you choose to do them at home or in a gym. Easy to follow nutritional plan with weekly shopping lists and quick recipes. Not sure… then have a read of what others have had to say about it.