Have you ever considered strength training? Studies have shown that strength training can improve your performance in cycling

By JB Mendoza | Photo by Robert Calin/Unsplash | Illustration by Sainte James Tan

The benefits of incorporating strength training include:

  • Improving force production needed for pedaling the bicycle
  • Improving muscle endurance
  • Reducing the risk of muscle tightness and injuries
  • Improving proper posture and body mechanics during cycling

In strength training, having a whole body workout isn’t a bad thing but keep in mind that cycling focuses more on the muscles of the legs, hip, arms, and the core. Here are the benefits of strengthening these muscle groups:

  • Legs and Hip (i.e. squats with bands, leg curls, hip thrust, and butt kicks)
    • Usually used for pedaling the bike, these muscles can increase your speed and acceleration because of their improvement in force production.
    • It can also improve hip mobility.
    • It can help decrease muscle tightness especially on the outer thighs.
  • The Core and Abdominals (i.e. planks, bridges, sit-ups, and body twists)
    • It helps reduce workload of the legs especially during long rides.
    • It also improves trunk stability during cycling especially on long rides.
    • It promotes proper posture in riding.
  •  The Arms (i.e. triceps and biceps)
    • It improves one’s mechanics for cycling, especially in using the handles.
    • It improves proper balance of the bicycle and helps with stability of the front half of the body during cycling.

Sample Exercise Programs

Phase I (General Adaptation)

These programs are for cyclists that have less experience in the gym.
– Rest: 1 minute per set
– Light to moderate resistance is needed.
– Can be done two to three times a week.
– Equipment needed: dumbbells, barbells, physio ball, medicine ball

I.  Warm-up

II. Stretching

III. Resistance Exercise

Lat Pulldown, Dumbbell Chest Press, Dumbbell Deadlift Alternate Lunges, Leg Curl, Calf Raises, Biceps Curl, Bar Push Down  20-30 reps x 3-4 sets
  1. Core and Abdominal Exercises (3 sets/Circuit)
Bicycle Crunches, Russian Twist with Medicine Ball, Planks on Physio (Core) Ball, Half-Bridges on Physio (Core) Ball 30-50 reps; 30 secs-1 min; 30-50 reps; 30 secs–1 min


Phase II (Muscle Strength)

These programs are meant for cyclists with more experience in the gym.
– Rest: 1 minute per set
– Moderate to heavy resistance is needed.
– Can be done twice a week.
– Equipment needed: dumbbell, barbells, physio ball, medicine ball, thera bands, ankle weights

I.  Warm-up

II. Stretching

III. Resistance Exercise

Deep Front Squats with Thera Bands, Walking Lunges, Single Leg Curls, Dumbbell Chest Press, Barbell Rows, Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift, Pronated Curls. Barbell Hip Thrust  10-15 reps x 3 sets each

IV.  Core and Abdominal Exercises

Bicycle Crunches, Med Ball Curls-up, Rowing Twist with Barbell Plate, Butt Kicks on All Fours with Ankle Weights, Fire Hydrant with Ankle Weights, Physio (Core) Ball Planks with Arm, Saw Half-Bridges on Physio (Core) Ball 50 reps; 30 reps each side; 20 reps each side for 30 secs

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