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Strength Training for Cylists

Cycling is a tough sport which places a variety of demands on the body. Often seen as an endurance sport, it is easy to overlook the importance of strengthening key areas of the body.


Using strength and power phases has been shown in numerous studies to be more beneficial than endurance training alone. Improvements were seen in exercise efficiency, lactate threshold and mean power for time trials, reduced heart rate and oxygen consumption in longer endurance events and sprint power outputs at the end of endurance events.


The benefits of a good program of resistance exercise include:

  • Increased power and muscular function

  • Increased exercise efficiency

  • Improved pedalling efficiency

  • Injury resilience

  • Reduced body fat

  • Reduced heart rate and oxygen consumption

  • Better posture

  • Address weaknesses and muscle imbalances

  • Improved balance and co-ordination

  • Greater core strength

There are 5 cycling specific aspects of training covered in my programs.

  • Conditioning

  • Core Strength

  • Strength (Maximal)

  • Power

  • Unilateral


It is crucial for your body to become familiar with performing exercises with good posture, correct movement patterns and breathing. Resistance can be increased gradually as adaptation occurs to maintain some progression. This is the foundation of the rest of your training and key to turning rapid gains into sustainable ones.

Core Strength

It is imperative to normal daily life as well as athletic performance that the body can cope with the strains placed upon it and to maximise the effectiveness of our exertions. The focus is to maintain good posture and engage the ‘deep core’ muscles, rather than just the superficial ones. Rotation and anti-rotation and static exercises will be of benefit. These are sessions where stretching and release work can also be useful.

Strength (Maximal)

Compound exercises and heavy loads will be used to stimulate a neuromuscular adaptation. This is not about working to fatigue, lactic burn, or to build muscle volume. The aim of this phase is to improve your ability to generate power, without increasing your body weight.


Exercises are now performed with explosive speed to make the neuromuscular adaptations transferable to cycling for improved performance. Strength gains become more noticeable on the bike and you will also be able to deliver more torque.


These exercises allow for greater muscle activation with less spinal load, whilst working to improve joint stability and core control. This element of the training is designed to emulate the single sided nature of pedalling exertion, and make your strength gains more transferable to cycling.



Each program is individually structured into phases that align with your current ability and speed of your progression.

Phases often last around 4 to 6 weeks and will look something like this, depending on your current ability.

Phase 1   conditioning and core

Phase 2   Strength and core

Phase 3   Power and intro to unilateral

Phase 4   Unilateral and core

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