Train­ing Tips

The ben­e­fits of strength train­ing

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Andrew Ran­dell and Steve Neal of The Cy­cling Gym

Weights: They’ll make you a bet­ter cy­clist

At our gym, our clients are of­ten sur­prised at how much strength train­ing – clas­sic strength train­ing with free weights sup­ple­mented with cir­cuit train­ing – helps them with their rid­ing. So, just what is it about strength train­ing that ben­e­fits cy­clists?

Get more out of your mus­cles Strength train­ing leads to bet­ter mo­tor con­trol. You also gain the abil­ity to fire more mus­cle fi­bres when activating a mus­cle; it’s not a big­ger mus­cle, but you can use more of it.

Greater ath­leti­cism With more strength, you’ll be­come a bet­ter bike han­dler with the means to ma­noeu­vre your bike over and around ob­sta­cles. Think of the tight switch­back on the moun­tain bike ride and lift­ing that front wheel ever so slightly to tighten your turn­ing ra­dius. Or, think of the crack in the pave­ment that you need to move your front wheel away from when you’re out on the road bike and in the mid­dle of the pelo­ton.

In­jury re­sis­tance This fea­ture is a big one in terms of get­ting bet­ter on your bike. If you can stay in­jury-free, you will train more, sim­ply by not hav­ing to take a break to re­cover from what­ever ails you. With­out aches and pains, you be­come more con­sis­tent, which, over time, will make you bet­ter than the rider who is al­ways tak­ing time off to re­cover from that sore knee.

Fa­tigue re­sis­tance When you are work­ing through a grinder-cir­cuit work­out – for ex­am­ple, 20 min­utes dur­ing which you do three ex­er­cises through­out a cir­cuit – your per­cep­tion of ef­fort starts to change and your abil­ity to sus­tain the work starts to de­velop.

Power trans­mis­sion An in­crease in strength, in­creases your abil­ity to co-or­di­nate move­ment be­tween your shoul­ders and hips. Stand up on the bike and feel the shoul­der, hips and legs work­ing to­gether through your mid­sec­tion, with­out a weak link, to drive the bike up a hill.

Re­s­pi­ra­tion Im­prov­ing your breath­ing me­chan­ics is a great way to get bet­ter on the bike: de­liver more oxy­gen ef­fi­ciently and the body can do more work. With bet­ter con­trol and aware­ness of the body through strength and cir­cuit train­ing, you de­velop bet­ter re­s­pi­ra­tion.

Health ben­e­fits The bike doesn’t of­fer much in the way of im­pact to main­tain your bones, so it is im­por­tant to sup­ple­ment with strength train­ing to keep up our bone den­sity. Cy­clists usu­ally fall into an older de­mo­graphic. Once we get passed 40 years of age, we start to lose our mus­cle mass. Do­ing strength work can help you main­tain and even re­build your mus­cle mass.

To keep reap­ing the ben­e­fits of strength train­ing, once you start, you should never stop. The work will im­prove your mo­bil­ity, over­all strength and health. If you keep it up, even once a week dur­ing the sum­mer, you can main­tain the im­prove­ments and even build on them.

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