#Darthcoach is a great advocate of off-the-bike #strength training, strength training is a really good way to build the foundations of power, and we are not just talking about sprinters, but also light weight hill climbers too. The older the cyclist becomes, the more important strength training is. If you do not believe me, then take a look at what David Brailsford, head honcho has to say about strength training as part of his training regime.
“Then I also back this up by doing strength work in the gym. I found that as you get over 50 one of the biggest things is to try and maintain muscle mass and strength — not a problem for all the youngsters but for us old lot it needs some work! So my winter is focussed on gaining strength and muscle mass and managing fat levels carefully.David Brailsford
A senior performance coach, coaching at Olympic level explained it to me like this, and I am paraphrasing:
To get faster on a bike, you need to apply more force on the pedals, regardless of how fast you pedal, if you want to go faster you have to push harder. It makes sense then, if you want to go faster, your muscles need to be able to apply more force. More force requires stronger muscles. Stronger does not mean bigger, but it does mean stronger.
Some cyclists avoid strength training due to fear of bigger muscles meaning more weight and more weight mean lower power-to-weight ratio. However all cyclists have leg muscles that are bigger than you average joe on the street. If you do not believe me take a look at the legs or pro-tour cyclists that grace any podium.
The next thing to think about is core strength. . There is no point in having super-strong legs unless you have a strong enough platform from which you can apply that force.
To paraphrase another coach:
There ain’t no point to firing a cannon from a rowing boat.Anon
Your core is the group of muscles that stabilise the pelvis and spine and influences the legs and upper body. A strong core stabilises the body on the saddle, prevents excessive side-to-side motion on the saddle and promotes an efficient and smooth pedal stroke. The tried and tested exercises for improving core strength include stomach crunches, Russian, twists, bicycle crunches and the dreaded plank. Here is an excellent guide to developing core strength.
If you are brand-new to strength training, here is a basic routine that can be done in the home, with minimal equipment that will promote improved leg strength and core strength.
For a great all round overview of strength training routines here are a bunch of resource from British Cycling.
#cycling #strong-cyclists #cycle coaching #strength #makemefaster