Ask the purist roadies how to become a better cyclists and they’ll tell you to “ride your bike!” But pick apart the training plans of new kids climbing the pro ranks and you’ll find there’s more power behind podium performances than pure pedalling. Strength Coach to the Pros, Chris Peden, shows us how...
(Scroll down for the exercises below)
Introducing Our Strength Coach...
Combined Athletic Performance Coach Chris Peden is strength coach to talented cyclists including Zoe Backstedt who currently holds Under 23 National, European and World titles on the road, track and in Cyclocross.
Chris believes the old way is not always the right way and highly recommends strength training to any cyclist looking to improve.
“Riding your bike should always be the main priority. However, incorporating strength training will further enhance cycling performance - but only if it’s done right...” says Chris.
Chris Peden of Combined Athletic Performance
How Does Strength Training Improve Your Cycling?
“Strength training enhances exercise economy, anaerobic capacity, lactate threshold, maximal strength, maximal speed and endurance, while also reducing the rate of fatigue. Isn’t that a cyclists ultimate wish-list ahead of a race, big cycling challenge or sportive?” Says Chris.
Poor bone health is also something common within the legs and spines of cyclists. Chris says strength training can increase bone health and protect you from bone injuries and breaks.
How Will Strength Training Affect My Power-to-Weight?
Chris believes strength training is overlooked by many cyclists for two reasons; the first is fear of adding additional weight to our bodies.
“Riders who combine cycling with strength training have leaner body composition over those who just cycle. Muscle mass doesn’t suddenly appear on the body once you start lifting weights. It takes years of dedicated regular lifting with minimal cardio. says Chris”
The second is because they don't know how. "We can fix that quite easily by learning strength training as a new skill - like learning to ride a bike," says Chris. Keep reading to see Chris' strength sessions below…
Don't know where to begin your strength training? Read on for example sessions...
How to Correctly Integrate Strength Training With Cycling?
Chris says strength training shouldn’t obliterate you and leave you too sore to ride. “If you’re new to strength training then initially you will feel a little sore, just like when you introduce any new stimulus," says Chris.
"Strength training days should be integrated regularly; at least two times per week to allow you to adapt. In the beginning, ensure strength training sessions are planned in appropriately to allow for recovery time between rides.”
Can Strength Training Improve My Climbing?
With some steep ascents to tackle on a Struggle sportive, who wouldn’t say no to rolling over those hills a little easier.
“Strength training will improve climbing due to being able to push a bigger gear and have an improved lactate threshold and delayed fatigue,: says Chris.
“Sportive riders will also see improvements in exercise economy, lactate threshold, maximal speed and reduced fatigue for those long days in the saddle .”
Chris completing the Tom Pidcock Gran Fondo
Now Follow Chris’s Strength Training Plan for Cyclists
“You should look to perform a full body strength training plan twice a week in the lead up to sportive season, starting with 8-10 reps. Be wise to stay away from any form of maximal strength training until you’ve primed your body to take on the demands of such heavy lifting," says Chris.
Make sure you warm up before each session and stretch afterwards!
Exercise 1: Goblet Squats
Exercise 2: Single Leg Dead Lifts
Exercise 3: Overhead Press