Why Strength Training Is Essential For Cyclists

 
One Performance UK | Personal Training Gym and Clinic | Richmond London | Strength Training For Cyclists 1 | www.oneperformanceuk.com.jpg
By now you’ve seen the research, it’s growing in support of strength training for cycling. If you haven’t then let me share what the consensus is.

Whilst cycling is great for cardiovascular health, resulting in some of the fittest athletes on the planet, it can often hide limitations in posture and dysfunction in everyday life.

Bikes tend to be symmetrical whilst we as human beings, are not. It’s very difficult to try to address these asymmetries on the bike and one of the biggest drivers to increased injury risk is asymmetry. Whilst the body is fantastic at compensating, it often does so in a way that results in a chronic condition, by the time an injury presents, it’s development has taken a great deal of time meaning it’s management is likely to also.

The bike also places demand beyond that which we can see, we need to look beyond vertical force production (pushing on the pedals) and understand the need to deal with rotational forces resulting from pedalling, again something quite hard to address on the bike.

So what can you do?

In my opinion, one of the key things is to undertake a movement screen from an experienced S&C coach. This process will look at how you move and identify not only imbalances between left and right hand sides but also postural issues that can often be resolved with some simple mobility and flexibility work.

After this, use the off-season to get stronger and more robust. We’re not only talking about lower body work but full body strength, after all, you need to function off the bike too.


All you need is 1-2 sessions a week of targeted strength training, let the results next season speak for themselves!
One Performance UK | Personal Training Gym and Clinic | Richmond London | Strength Training For Cyclists 2 | www.oneperformanceuk.com.jpg
Not only will a targeted strength programme help to address imbalances and asymmetries but it will also load your skeleton and tissues in a way that the bike can’t.

Research has already shown that those over 50 should be strength training to decrease the risk of osteoporosis (decreased bone density), something that’s frequently found in top level cyclists due to nutritional limitations and insufficient external load to the skeleton and tissues. Although the pedals will impart a pedal reaction force, this isn’t to the same magnitude as running and strength training.

So not only is strength training great for increasing bone density but it has been shown to significantly increase your potential for power. This is because power is simply the application of strength over time, as such, without high levels of strength, peak power output will always be limited.

As a former professional triathlete and now specialist strength coach, the benefits of strength training significantly improved my posture and economy resulting in quicker run splits and less niggles and injuries. By improving economy and efficiency when the going gets tough, you’re likely to fatigue less whilst continuing to perform efficiently whilst maintaining optimal posture; this is a win win.

All you need is 1-2 sessions a week of targeted strength training, let the results next season speak for themselves! The excellent thing is if you haven’t been a regular gym goer, the results will be even swifter and more noticeable than an experienced athlete.

What have you got to lose?

Chris Panayiotou
Cycling and Triathlon Specialist
 
Chris Panayiotou