Strength to create force is built in the weight room, riding hills and pushing big gears. Cycling-specific strength work in the gym should be short and simple. Train the primary cycling muscle groups two to three times per week. These exercises target those muscles – perform them with your own body weight to start. You can increase the challenge by holding dumbbells. 1. Single leg squats 2. Single leg step ups 3. Single leg split squats with rear leg on a block or ball Do two to three sets of 10 of each of these exercises to strengthen the main pedalling muscles. (Stabilizing muscles are strengthened, too, when you balance on one leg.)
Hills are a great way to build strength. Ride in the largest gear possible at a very low cadence (40 to 50 rpm). Hill workouts for strength are the equivalent of multiple leg press repetitions, only on a bike. With this type of work, speed is irrelevant.
Overgear work is a similar type of resistance training. The only difference is it can be performed over flat terrain. Shifting to very hard gears (53 x 13 or 14) and riding a similar cadence of 40 to 50 rpm creates the resistance required for strength work on flat terrain.
Completing six to eight weeks of strength and skills training is a great way to lay the groundwork for a strong season. The only danger with low cadence strength work is the loss of leg speed, so keeping up with some high cadence drills is an important part of your training regimen.