Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

OW DO I get stronger on the bike?” you ask. It’s that time of year: your races are done and you know where you stand per­for­mance-wise. You might find your­self won­der­ing how some girls are so strong on the bike. How some guys ride by you as if you’re stand­ing still. There’s at least one ex­pla­na­tion: strength. They have more of it than you (at present).

If you’re won­der­ing what you can do this win­ter to im­prove your cy­cling (and your run­ning and swim­ming, by the way), con­sider adding a reg­u­lar strength train­ing pro­gram to your rou­tine (if you’re not al­ready do­ing so).

The ma­jor­ity of adult age group athletes are not lim­ited by their mus­cu­lar en­durance. They’re fond of their long train­ing rides. They bump up to their com­pet­i­tive dis­tances (whether it be stan­dard, half or full) as quickly as they can. The abil­ity to per­form re­peated mus­cu­lar con­trac­tions at low lev­els of force is not what lim­its most athletes. Rather it is their mus­cu­lar strength – the abil­ity to con­tract their mus­cles force­fully and/or against heavy re­sis­tance.

When most peo­ple start they typ­i­cally im­prove al­most re­gard­less of what train­ing they per­form. Beginner and in­ter­me­di­ate athletes get bet­ter quite sim­ply by ac­cu­mu­lat­ing miles on the bike, run­ning and in the pool. But once the ini­tial break-in pe­riod has come and gone, the next step is to fo­cus on mus­cu­lar strength.

Reams of in­for­ma­tion are avail­able for the en­durance ath­lete on strength train­ing. This ar­ti­cle isn’t in­tended to re­gur­gi­tate the re­search and ad­vice that’s read­ily avail­able else­where. Rather, it’s meant to get you think­ing of a few strength-re­lated con­cerns and to con­sider a few things that you might not have an­tic­i­pated when it comes to strength train­ing for the en­durance ath­lete. You should first un­der­stand why you’re do­ing each ex­er­cise and be able to per­form each ex­er­cise with proper tech­nique. Know what the ex­er­cise is do­ing for you (i.e., be­lieve in the ex­er­cise) and make sure you’re do­ing it prop­erly (to avoid pos­si­ble in­jury and to en­sure the ef­fect of the ex­er­cise is re­al­ized). Only once you un­der­stand and can per­form each ex­er­cise prop­erly should you be con­cerned with adding weight.

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