12 week strength program for cyclists


Here is a very effective strength training program for cyclists. The program is based on multi joint exercises with free weights, which indicate that this program is not for beginners. If you are not familiar with lifting free weights, consider training the same exercises in a machine. Ask a fitness instructor in your training gym.

When using this strength program:

• Warm up before lifting
• Never train to failure
• Use as heavy weights as possible (still no failure training)
• Be explosive in the concentric phase
• Rest periods of at least 2 minutes between sets

Week 1 & 2 (Mondays and Thursdays)
Squat: 3×12 (technique)
Leg press: 2×12
Leg curl: 2×12
Bench press: 2×12
Chinups: 2×8
Dead lift: 3×5 (technique)

Week 3 & 4 (Mondays and Thursdays)
Squat: 4×8
Leg press: 2×8
Leg curl: 2×8
Bench press: 2×8
Chinups: 2×5
Dead lift: 4×4

Week 5 & 6 (Mondays and Thursdays)
Squat: 4×6
Leg press: 2×6
Leg curl: 2×6
Bench press: 2×6
Chinups: 3×3
Dead lift: 5×3

Week 7 & 8 (Mondays and Thursdays)
Squat: 5×5
Leg press: 3×5
Leg curl: 3×6
Bench press: 3×5
Chinups: 3×3
Dead lift: 5×3

Week 9 & 10 (Mondays and Thursdays)
Squat: 2×5 + 5×3
Leg press: 3×5
Leg curl: 3×5
Bench press: 3×3
Chinups: 3×3
Dead lift: 5×3

Week 11 & 12 (Mondays and Thursdays)
Squat: 8×3
Leg press: 3×5
Leg curl: 3×5
Bench press: 3×3
Chinups: 3×3
Dead lift: 5×3

54 comments… add one

  • Sebastiano

    I have noticed that Louis’ question is still unanswered.
    My two cents, if I may:

    – if you stick with the plan and actually squat and deadlift, the back side of your torso will get good stimulus. Additionally, chin ups complete the top/side part. Caution with chin ups as, believe it or not, they may negatively affect your aerodynamics.
    – moving to the flip side (front), again the lower part will be poked for good by squat and DL. But if you want to throw in something more, then bench and press (standing military press, FRONT press 😉 ). Same criteria as top of the page.

    I trust this helps!


  • jill

    I don’t race bikes. I just love to ride a lot. If I incorporate this plan into my week, how should I adjust my riding? (Days per week, duration, hilly vs flat, etc)

  • ray cruz

    I have just started to ride and thinking of doing a few races in the near future, my question is this do I need to build body mass of just develop strength. I am currently weight 150 lbs, and am 5.5 I want to gain weight but from what I can see in some races I don’t need to gain but be stronger. I really don’t know what to do or how to approach this problem

  • Peter

    Why not train to failure?

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