Exercise Your Leg Strength For Cycling

Research conducted to date on the effects of strength training on cyclists has produced mixed…

Research conducted to date on the effects of strength training on cyclists has produced mixed results. In the study, conducted by Ben Hurley at the University of Maryland, 10 healthy men did strength exercises (bench press, hip flexion, knee extension, squat, push-up, leg press, lat pulldown, arm curl, parallel squat, and squat). crunches) for 12 weeks, while eight other healthy men served as controls. After 12 weeks, the strength-trained men increased their endurance cycling by 33 percent at a V02max intensity of 75 percent and also increased their lactate threshold (the best predictor of endurance performance) by 12 percent.

However, these individuals were not exercised prior to the study and did not participate in regular cycling practice during the study, so the applicability of these results to serious athletes is questionable.

Much more practical is the study conducted by R.C. Hickson and his colleagues at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In this study, eight experienced cyclists added strength training to their regular resistance routines three days per week for a period of 10 weeks. Strength training is very simple and focuses on parallel squats (five sets of five reps per exercise), knee extension (three sets of five reps), squats (3 x 5), and toe raises (3 x 25), all with enough intensity to make resistance heavy. The only progression used in this program involves resistance counts that steadily increase superbahisgoo as your strength increases.

Nevertheless, strength training has a very positive effect on cycling performance. After 10 weeks, the cyclists increased their “short-term endurance” (their ability to continue working at very high intensity) by about 11 percent, and they also increased the time they could pedal at 80% V02max intensity. from 71 to 85 minutes, about a 20 percent increase.

On the other hand, we have a study conducted by James Home and his colleagues at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, in which seven endurance cyclists, who cycled an average of about 200 kilometers per week, incorporated three sessions of strength training into their normal routine. The strength program is relatively simple and consists of three sets of eight reps of hamstring curls, leg presses, and quadriceps extensions with moderate resistance.

After six weeks, the strength training had produced some pretty impressive strength gains (the average increase was just over 20 percent). However, actual driving performance is not improved; In fact, they’re worse than they were before weight training! The 40-K’s race time slowed from 59 to 62 minutes, and trained cyclists complained of feeling “heavy” and tired during their workouts.

Why does Hickson’s study show clear benefits of strength training for cyclists, while Home’s work shows the opposite?

No one knows for sure, so it’s time for a personal observation. It seems very likely that strength training with Hickson’s loads increased fatigue resistance in their muscles, allowing them to last longer in high-intensity endurance tests and prolonged effort at submaximal intensity (80% V02max). In the meantime, it’s likely that Home’s extra strength training has left his athletes in an overtrained — or at least “stale” — state. The feeling of fatigue that occurs shortly after the start of strength training indicates that the athletes are simply overwhelmed.

The average home cyclist completes 125 miles each week when they start strength training, while Hickson athletes cover much less distance, so one might be tempted to assume that strength training can have major benefits for long-distance, low-mileage cyclists. less for experienced. , a higher mileage competitor that built a respectable amount of power just from riding. It’s certainly not an unreasonable thought, but it doesn’t explain why strength training actually slows down endurance performance, as it seems to do in home players (no other research has shown this). It seems highly likely that Home’s extra strength training was just the straw that broke the camel’s back; it’s not the strength training that slows cyclists down, it’s the overall work they have to put in.

Another issue not controlled in research is diet and supplements, which will also have a major impact. My personal feeling, after three decades in the physical training world, is that strength training is beneficial in almost any sport if done properly