Strength Training for Cyclists
During the winter we find that the time we spend on the bike diminishes. This is
due to a combination of factors with the shorter days being the most obvious.
Also, just as obvious is the change in the weather.† None of us really enjoy riding
when it is cold and wet. There are other activities that you can do at this time of
year that will have you cycling better than ever next summer.† One of these is a
weight training program.† By working with a program designed to increase the
power and endurance of the cyclist there is little chance of developing the body
style usually attributed to a weight lifter.† As your objectives and goals are
different from others in the weight room, be careful of recommended changes to
your training program.† As with the rest of your training this program is cyclical in nature,
†with 5 specific periods.
REMEMBER, As you move from one phase to another, do so gradually over a
couple of sessions.† Slowly increasing or decreasing the reps and weights needed to
meet the requirements of the next phase.
1. Transitional Phase - 3 sessions/week for 4 to 6 weeks.† Helps the riderís body
become adjusted to a new and different type of stress.† It is during this phase that
the tendons and ligaments get ready to handle heavier weights. The amount of weight
or resistance is kept low.† Starting out you should be able to do 1 to 2 sets of 15 to 20
reps without difficulty.† As the transitional phase comes to an end, you should be able
†to easily handle the starting weight with 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
2. Hypertrophy Phase - 3 sessions/week for 4 to 6 weeks.† This is the phase that
starts the muscles growing. Increase the weight 25-35%.† You should be able to
start out with 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, before failure, and 4 to 6 weeks later be
up to 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
3. Basic Strength Phase - As you move into the New Year you should be ready to
move into this new phase, 4 sessions/week.† At this time you will want to be working
with your maximum lifting weight.† For injury free lifting this is a weight that will only
allow a max of 3 to 4 reps before you are unable to complete the exercise.† At this
time divide your program into alternating sessions of upper and lower body, working
each body part 2 times/week.† Start out with 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 6 reps each.† At the
end of 4 to 6 weeks you should be able handle 4 to 6 sets of 4 to 8 reps each.† To
keep these sessions interesting try doing 5 sets of 5 reps on some days and doing
†pyramid sets on other days to increase your maximum strength.
(8 reps, 6 reps, 3-4 reps, 6 reps. 8 reps, having the weight increase as the reps
decrease, then having the weight decrease as the reps increase).
4. Power Phase - The fourth phase is where the cyclist take their new found strength
and begin to turn it into power.† Our definition of power is the ability to use force in an
explosive fashion.† One of the best examples of this can be seen on the track, where
sprinters are known to go from a standing start to over 40 mph in less than 400 meters.†
The amount of weight used is the same as the hypertrophy phase, but now the
concentration is on speed.† The power or lifting phase is done in an explosive manner.
Example, when doing squats, move downward at your normal speed, when you reach
a position of leg flexion similar to your position on the bike, try to explode upwards.†
Here you are doing 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps for 4 to 6 weeks.
5. Maintenance Phase - The maintenance program continues throughout the season,
lifting 1 to 2 days/week using the same program as the Transitional phase.† This will
allow the cyclist to maintain the strength that was achieved during the winter.† The
maintenance program can also be modified to enhance areas of weakness that become
apparent during the season.† The following program is designed to help the rider develop
and maintain total fitness while developing the endurance, strength, and power needed
for competition.† Using a circuit format this group of exercises can be done in 1 Ė 2 hours.†
It is suggested that during the Hypertrophy and Power phase you do all the sets in each
exercise before moving on to the next one.† All lifting should be done using proper
techniques, equipment, and instruction.
1. LEG EXTENSIONS* 8. SHOULDER PRESS
2. LEG CURLS* 9. PULL UPS~
3. SQUATS or LEG PRESS 10. TRICEPS PRESS
4. LUNGES~ 11. CONCENTRATED CURLS
5. CALF RAISES* 12. BACK EXTENSIONS*
6. BENCH PRESS 13. ROMAN CHAIR LEG RAISES*
7. ONE ARM ROWS 14. CRUNCHES*
* Maintain the same weight/rep that you finished the Hypertrophy Phase with as
you move into and through the Basic Strength Phase.† It is important to start any daily
workout with a good warm-up such as a low impact aerobic class.† While most of us
donít need the aerobic training itself, the stretching part is invaluable. These classes
should be considered an important part of any winter training program.