Cycling training can be difficult and requires dedication. Here are Sir Chris Hoy’s 5 top tips for strength training. Not only are these tips useful for cyclists they are a great read for all, giving advice on how to make the most out of your workouts.
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1. Tailor your programme to your needs
All cyclists will benefit from a well-designed strength and conditioning programme, but it is important that it is tailored to your specific needs. To ensure your programme is specific to your needs you should look at the demands of your event or type of riding you do and adjust accordingly.
So lets break this down:
- Track sprinters, a BMXers and downhill mountain bikers – Focus on explosive power and maximum strength
- Road riders and time triallists – Focus on strength endurance
- Mountain bikers, BMXers or even cycle crossers – Focus on upper body work more than others
2. Don’t neglect the core
Having a strong core helps you provide a solid foundation to produce the power from on the bike. It doesn’t matter how many 100KGs you can leg press if you have a weak core you will not have the foundations to put this power to use. From both and injury prevention and stability point of view it is important that you work hard to develop a strong core to build the foundations of your success.
3. Strength training can help you protect against injury.
A strength conditioning programme can be a good counter measure to sitting hunched over the bars on the bike for long periods of time. As you can probably imagine sitting hunched over the bars in an extreme position for hour after hour on the bike isn’t great for your posture. Therefore, postural control and stabilising muscle groups are absolutely vital in helping prevent long term injury.
4. Don’t worry about gaining weight
It takes a huge amount of time and effort to gain significant muscle mass, so don’t worry that picking up a dumbbell might turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger. Over a long period of time and with the correct eye you may notice a change in body composition, but this will most likely result in an increase in power production too so even if you gain a little bit of weight it will be offset in your power to weight ratio.
5. Don’t forget specific on the bike strength training drills.
By altering the gear size and/or the gradient of the road you are riding on you can significantly increase the effective resistance. Short maximum efforts on your biggest gear accelerating from stationery or from a slow speed will improve your ability to produce torque and power on the bike. It also helps to transfer the strength gains you might may have made in the gym onto the bike in a specific way. You can vary the efforts by duration, the number of repetitions and whether you do it in or out of the saddle.