Weight training for cyclists provides four main benefits:
1 – On fast descents, you will use a lot of upper body strength whilst cornering. Having stronger arm and core muscles will stop your muscles from tiring, allowing you to keep control over your bicycle during the descent.
2 – Crashes are all part of cycling and having a stronger upper body will provide extra protection during those crashes, and help you avoid having to take recovery time off the bike.
3 – Having stronger hamstrings and quadriceps means you will be stronger during climbs, and you will also be able to sprint faster.
4 – Having a rigid upper body means that more power gets through to the pedals, so your overall performance and efficiency will definitely increase.
There are two main ways of undergoing weight training for cyclists: with equipment and without equipment.
If you don’t have any equipment, there are exercises you can do around the house and on your bike to increase your muscle strength. You can do push-ups and sit-ups anywhere to strengthen your triceps, shoulders chest and abdominal muscles.
Whilst on your bike, you can ride in a higher gear than usual, for one or two minutes, and repeat to increase your overall leg strength. If you have your own equipment, or access to a gym, you can do squats, rowing, pull-ups and weighted step-ups to increase your overall body strength and of course the leg press, which focuses solely on the lower body and gives you great leg power.
Weight training for cyclists is different from how body builders and power lifters train in that it is more of a hybrid between the two. Weight training for cyclists at the start of the season should be done with weights which you can only manage 6 repetitions with. You should only do 1 or 2 sets, since this puts a lot of strain on your muscles and joints.
Weight training for cyclists towards the end of the season should start be done with lighter weights which you can manage 12-15 reps with, completing 3 – 5 sets, this reduces the chance of injury right before the start of the season.
In the end weight training is not really necessary for cyclists but it certainly does help with your performance.