Your new endurance training plan – Bike Magazine Australia

Traditionally, cyclists have shied away from weights, thinking any extra muscle mass messes with their power-to-weight ratio. What many don’t consider is that the muscle they gain usually replaces fat, which can allow them to ride longer and stronger even if they end up carrying more mass.

Weights are ideal for overloading your muscles. Overload – i.e. greater-than-normal stress or resistance – is difficult to achieve through regular cycling or even intervals, which means you can miss out on the rapid recovery benefits and strength-building that come with it.

A gym workout can also precisely target the main cycling mover muscles (quads, hams and glutes), as well as the supportive muscles around them, giving you more resilient, fatigue-resistant power on the bike than you’d get from several hours of cycling.

Of course, sports researchers have also been studying the cycling-weight lifting connection, finding that even short, simple weight workouts like half-squats, single-leg presses or leg extensions with heavy weights can yield positive performance results. One 2001 study showed that heavy weight training helped young, elite competitive cyclists improve their 45-minute time-trial times more than light, high-rep training. Other studies have uncovered similar effects on cycling economy and time to exhaustion.

Weight-training Fundamentals

· Lift heavy weights. Find the heaviest weight that you can do for 6 reps; you should be struggling on the 7th. Like intervals, going to “failure” with weights maximizes the improvement later. · Start fresh: Come into a weight session fully rested, so you can lift more. · Do 2 or 3 sessions per week:  Muscles need 48 hours of recovery after hard work.

· Prepare to ache the first few weeks:  Expect your butt and other virgin muscles to scream for days after you get started — even if you stick to lighter weights. Bike speeds will also be slower in this this phase. Stick with it: you’ll be ache-free and more powerful by the end of the third week.

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