How to improve cycling performance ( and prevent injury!)
As cyclists, we are always looking for ways to improve and get faster. Depending on ability and the time of year, typical cycling training may consist of about 90% long slow endurance training on the bike and 10% intensity sessions. This balance allows cyclists to maximise their aerobic capacity and then improve their anaerobic threshold resulting in each cyclist reaching their full potential.
However, when striving for that extra one percent, a stronger cyclist, is a faster cyclist. Nothing beats being in the saddle, but specific strength training can make you a faster and more powerful rider (and prevent injuries!).
Strength Training For Cyclists
There are many different aspects of strength and depending on your goals, there are different aspects that we can train. Most research into strength training for cyclists has found heavy resistance/low repetition training, targeting neuromuscular recruitment (the % of muscle fibres working), to be the most effective for all cyclists recreational to elite. The benefits of this type of training are:
Increases in strength without large increases muscle bulk (which is just more weight to push up the hill)
Improvements in strength, power and endurance (yes, you can train endurance without having to do high reps!)
Reduced fatigue and recovery time compared to higher rep training (this will allow you to keep up your all important endurance training on the bike!)
How to do it?
Research has shown that doing as little as an 8 week program of 4 sets of 4 repetitions of >85% 1RM weight* x3 per week, as a supplement to normal endurance training (compared to endurance training alone) had:
improved cycling economy and efficiency
increased time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power
This is just one example of a potential strength program for cyclists. Other great global exercises include: single leg step ups, leg press and hip thrusts (see below for videos). However programs should be designed and tailored to the individuals needs, especially if the cyclist is injured or has specific weaknesses.
An increase in strength means an increase in the capacity of our muscles. This in turn means a higher training load can be applied and still be tolerated. So one of the great benefits of strength training is that in the long term you will be able to train harder without breaking down to injury!
How We Can help?
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists are experts in strength and conditioning with the added benefits of movement pattern and injury pathology knowledge. We can perform a thorough assessment to accurately diagnose any injuries or find weaknesses. These can then be addressed with a specific management plan, including a strength program, to get you on the bike stronger than before!
How can we help you?
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our goal is to get you moving pain free as soon as possible. But, we also want you to actually move better and live a healthier, more active and fulfilling life!
If your sports, fitness training or work has been wearing your body down, book in with one of our expert physiotherapists or massage therapists so we can help you reduce your pain and get you moving again.
You can make an appointment by calling 1300 369 930 or booking online.