Improve your performance by getting stronger

Cyclists and endurance athletes in general, have never been too many fans of strength training. We considered that locking ourselves between four walls to lift irons was something for bodybuilders, so we rarely stepped in the gym.

Luckily, this is changing and we are more and more athletes who include strength routines in our training, being a norm in professional sports or among those who compete at a high level.

Are you one of those who have added strength to their training routine? You should.

Strength training does not necessarily have to be done in a gym, you can do it at home or outdoors, and practically without needing any material or basic elements.

strong       Photo:Alora Griffiths

It is not something exclusive to bodybuilders, or sports that apparently require great strength. Forget that it is something monotonous or boring, we have infinite options so that it is not. For example, circuit strength training will be challenging, keeping us motivated throughout the session, and will allow us to vary our training routines. First, we will clarify the concept of force. Without going into academic definitions, force is the ability to move a load in the shortest possible time, or to keep it static for as long as possible. Starting from that definition, if we want to be faster on our bike we must be stronger. Something very important is not to stick only to the muscles involved in our sport. As cyclists we should not think that doing a squat and other leg exercises is enough.

You have to work the body completely. We will have in mind the muscles involved in our sport, but taking into account the weaker parts of our body, which we do not usually exercise in our sports practice or daily, and the work of the core.

Will I gain weight?

We must bear in mind that strength work will not necessarily increase our muscle mass considerably. To achieve muscle hypertrophy it is necessary to follow some work guidelines and a diet focused on it, even so it is complicated. Therefore, we can not put it as an excuse for wanting to have a low weight to climb better. Obviously we will improve our muscle tone, and we will develop those muscles that we have not worked regularly, but the increase in power will be much greater than the weight gained by improving our power / weight ratio or w / Kg.

The power increase will be much greater than the weight we could have gained.

bike              Photo:Simon Connellan

Reasons to train strength:

  • Muscles are the engine of our body. The stronger they are, the higher performance.
  • Improved endurance. With greater force, we can move loads more easily, being able to do it faster or for a longer time with less fatigue.
  • Prevent injury. If we subject our muscles to a load greater than they can assume, they end up breaking. On the other hand, the joints assume part of the effort that the muscle cannot face, putting more stress on the tendons and causing more wear and tear.
  • We improve our quality of life. Everyday efforts will be much easier for us, so we will be more rested.
  • Increased basal metabolism. A greater muscle mass will make consumption at rest greater, so that, if we take care of the diet a little, we will reach our optimal weight more easily.
  • Best look. Although the search for a good physique may not be a priority, we all like to look good in front of the mirror, thus increasing our spirits and motivation.

In future posts we will discuss how to include strength training in our preparation. As a preview, we should include at least two sessions focused on strength. These can be done after some gentle training and without taking too long, prioritizing mobility, core work, functional exercises and multi-joint movements.

We hope we have convinced you, if you weren’t already, to include strength training in your sports routine.