Should a cyclist do strength training? I think so.
Why? Because my coach told me so.
No, really. Why?
We are so worried about power:weight. Why add additional muscle bulk to our frames? I already have a “strong” build, do I really need to add any more muscle? I tried to get out of it. I tried to tell my coach that I bulk up easily.
Why have to join the “meatheads” in the gym that can bench press 2x their body weight, but would have difficulty walking up Mt. Tam, let alone riding it. Why take the time to lift weights when you could be riding your bike?
Do we have to?
I pondered this question this morning as was doing my “lateral” squats and noticed, my legs are completely jacked. They didn’t use to be like that with tennis. What happened? I haven’t been in a gym since my NCAA days. Man, do I have to do this strength training? I think so.
Reasons why you should strength train:
- Bone Density. Cycling is great because it doesn’t have any impact. But, if that is all we do, then we are in danger of losing bone density. So cyclists should cross-train for bone health. Weight training and running help with this.
- Balance. We are constantly pedalling. But what about balancing our strong quads, with strong hamstrings? Abs with a strong lower back? Doing strength training, laterally, can get us to you balance our bodies. The pedaling motion can overdevelop the powerful hip and knee extensors resulting in an imbalance between the muscles of the hip and thigh. Resistance training can address this by including specific exercises for the hamstring muscle group to maintain proper strength ratios and promote optimal joint stability.
- Injury Prevention. Enough said. By building up those “stabilizers” muscles, we can protect ourselves from over use injuries. Supplementing the cyclist’s training program with strength exercises can help maintain proper muscular balance and enhance the connective tissue network to reduce the possibility of patellar tendonitis.
- You can stare at youself in the mirror like all the other gym rats, like I did this morning, and notice that your legs are completely jacked.
- You can laugh at yourself…seriously, how weak are we? Well, weak according to some people’s standards, but I would love for them to do 350watts for an hour. Ha.
- Increasing core strength and creating a stable platform for pedaling power. Strong cores are good.
- Swim suit body? Ha, maybe. There is a Team TIBCO calendar coming out. Just kidding.
Does strength training impact your performance? Maybe. It needs to be translating into cycling strength in order to have a positive result on your cycling. But, it isn’t all about cycling all the time. We should also take note of the improvements that this makes in your health and balance!
All right. I am trying to talk myself into this strength training thing. I hope this helps. My legs are jacked, but as long as my shoulders don’t get any bigger….