Strength Training Without Additional Body Mass – 4

I often hear that cyclists skip strength training because they are afraid they will gain additional body weight. In this series I will try to explain how cyclists can strength train without gaining extra body weight. This article is a part of the ‘Strength training without additional body mass series’. You can read the rest of this series here:
1. Why additional body weight should be avoided
2. Nutritional tips to avoid hypertrophy
3. Training tips to avoid hypertrophy
4. Tips about strength training

4. Tips about strength training

Warm up before strength training
Use a stationary bike for at least 10 minutes. Afterwards you should do some light weights in the exercises you are going to train. E.g. take 1 set of 10 reps of squats with 40% of the weight you are going to use in the training set. Also take 2-3 reps with a workload close to the one you are going to train with. This is a kind of weight acclimatization for your neural system.   

Strength train with other riders
I think it is important to have a training buddy when you strength train. There is a motivating factor in training with other riders heading for the same goal. As with all kinds of training, it’s easier to reduce intensity when no ones are watching you.

Help each other with lifting style
It is also safer to have a friend or two to help you if you get in trouble in a heavy lift. When you train with other riders, remember to comment on their techniques, hopefully this can prevent dangerous situations to happen. If you have a good training partner, you will get a lot more out of strength training in the long run. Remember to look at their tecniques, not how many kgs they are lifting.

Recovery periods between sets
Another benefit of training with other riders is that there will be a natural break between sets. When you have a training partner, it becomes easier to get the recommended recovery periods of at least 2 minutes between sets.

Ride on the bike after strength training
This is not a very well documented advice, but I use it and think it works alright. In theory this little trick should help the muscles to convert the stimuli from strength training to increased functional neural adaptations. I am not sure whether this happen or not, but I think that riders should train on their bike all week or at least on all training days.

3 comments… add one
  • I agree with the theory of riding after lifting to “convert the stimuli from strength training to increased functional neural adaptations.” I used the same strategy when I played basketball- always shooting immediately after lifting to turn my muscles into what I called ‘basketball muscles.’

  • dr. mike heit

    I find european coachs in most sports are not into weight traing whereas eastern block and north american are pro weights. Biking is realy a european sport in the main so it follows that cycling has not gone weights.

    One reason is poor research. We see these studies of 12 bikers split into 2 groups for 12 weeks– get serious! Cooper, the father of aerobics research, used massive data sets over time to develop his broad based principles. Crosstraining is real but difficult to prove.

    Another thing– this 1950 thinking of weight training leads to big body mass and slow reaction is so wrong. Depending on weights, reps and sets one can set a matrix of body performce outputs.

    Weights allow u be strong enough to spend more time on the drops, better sprint, greater performance in the last 5-10 percent of a hill climb. Strength allows one to come thru crashs better and recouver faster. Crosstraining is real. We know that. However it takes serious and well defined research todevop procols for training guidelines.

    This conventional wisdom of weights do not help boxers, runners, basketball, iron man etc have all been proven wrong. (has anyone seen an nba player today? Must get strong from bouncing a ball eh?) Give someone a good research design and volunteers and this myth will fall for cycling.

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