A stronger rider is a faster rider, but there’s more to it than just power output. Targeted strength training is the most effective way to increase your endurance and reduce your risk of injury.
For years, health experts have recommended aerobic exercise like cycling as a means to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In recent years, however, studies have shown that it is a combination of strength training and cardio that will have the maximum benefit for your health.
Everyone wants more power on their bike, but that shouldn’t be the only focus of a strength training program for cyclists. At Dynamic Cyclist, our focus is developing programs that not only having you riding your best, but feeling your best off the bike as well.
Cycling is a low impact activity, which means it’s great for your joints, but not so great for supporting your bone density and postural deficits. Have you ever heard the expression “too much of a good thing?” Well, it’s unfortunately true of cycling.
As with any repetitive movement, the cycling motion can lead to imbalances in the body. Most common is the overdevelopment of the quads and glutes and the underdevelopment of the hamstrings and hip stabilizers. Cycling is also an activity that we do sitting - something most of us do far too much of. Proper posture and core strength become integral to prevent lower back pain and injury.
Strength training can help fill the gaps left cycling, and build stronger bones, improve coordination, prevent injury, and give you more power on the bike.
A silent upper body results in a very stable platform for the muscles that provide power on the bike to push against.
Making the core muscles function as a unit with proper control is the goal of strengthening the core, not necessarily developing a six pack. You may see some physical changes, you may not, but you will feel better while riding.
Understanding Lower Crossed Syndrome will help you understand one of the most common causes of back pain in cyclists. The image below illustrates improper muscle loading that results in pain and discomfort. The inhibited muscles, abdominals and glutes, are never fully engaged in cycling, while the facilitated muscles, rectus femoris (quadriceps), iliopsoas and thoraco-lumbar extensors are always engaged and often overworked. Constantly engaging those lower back muscles without proper support from a stable core often results in lower back pain.
While pedaling, quadriceps pull the pelvis forward. To keep your body on the bike, your lower back resists that pull. It is an action that is not inherent to the design of your lower back muscles. The result is overworked lower back muscles that may cross into pain.
Cycling is a repetitive motion, often over developing the quads and glutes while the hamstrings and hip flexors lag behind. Our strength training program takes this into account, focusing on restoring muscle balance and correcting any deficiencies.
There is no doubt that cycling itself requires coordination and balance, but through the years it can become so second nature that it no longer challenges our intramuscular systems. Strength training with things like weights and resistance bands can help improve your balance and coordination. This is particularly important as we age as it keeps the connections within the nervous system strong.
This is an important one for cyclists. Studies have shown that the bone density of some competitive riders is lower than their sedentary controls. This makes strength training a necessary part of any training plan in order to maintain healthy bone density and combat things like osteoporosis.
Some of the most common injuries for cyclists include ITB syndrome, neck pain, low back pain, and knee pain. Most are caused by muscle imbalances. A combination of strength training and routine stretching can strengthen your muscles and connective tissues to help prevent these injuries.
Who doesn’t want more power on the bike? This is a bit of a no brainer, as the stronger your muscles are, the more power you’ll be able to exert within the cycling motion. It can be a difficult thing to develop on your bike, so using strength training is actually one of the best ways to become a stronger climber and overall rider.
Dynamic Cyclist is a team of cyclists, both enthusiasts and industry professionals, that understand first hand the common injuries, issues and risks of cycling. Through extensive experience and research, we have put together a resource that will aid in both the strengthening and rehabilitation of muscles through a combination of stretching and strength training.
Hours out on the bike doesn’t phase most cyclists, but the thought of going to the gym can be daunting. Whether it’s just not your thing, or you don’t know where to start, strength training can seem complicated and frustrating - especially when you don’t see results! We want to take the guesswork out of strength training for cyclists, and have you reaping all the benefits in short targeted sessions, without having to step foot in a gym.
Try our 3 month strength training program designed specifically for cyclists.
VIDEO SERIES: The goal of Phase One is to improve functional mobility and establish core strength for the following phases. It's about building a base and creating a habit, with the goal to complete 2-3 routines per week. You can follow along with our videos to ensure you are performing each exercise correctly, with proper form and adapting when necessary.
PDF PLAN: Incorporating a max strength phase for cyclists has a few key benefits. Lifting heavier weights or holding poses for longer periods of time requires a greater recruitment of muscle fibres. Not only does this activate the building of muscle, but also a stronger support system for your prime movers. This will improve your cycling economy, requiring less energy to output the same amount of power.
PDF PLAN: The muscle endurance phase is the most important strength phase for all endurance athletes, and especially cyclists. This phase stresses aerobic metabolism, which is what will keep you pedaling at 90-100 RPM for hours during a long ride or race. This phase will focus less on weight and difficulty, and more on repetitions per set with less recovery time. Phase three will work on your muscle endurance, so you’ll feel better than ever when you hop back on your bike.
ONE TIME PAYMENT
Receive our 3 phase strength training plan PLUS access to 7 days of stretching videos created just for cyclists, for just $27. This includes 12 video workouts and 2 PDF plans.
✓ Approximately 30 minutes per workout.
✓ Designed specifically for cyclists.
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✓ BONUS: 7 Stretching Videos for Cyclists
Dynamic Cyclist can help unlock your full potential by increasing range of motion, accelerating recovery and preventing injury.
✓ 3 Month Strength Training Plan
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✓ Yoga Series
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