At this point, there’s really no question that cyclists (and pretty much everybody, really) should be doing some form of resistance training.

With age, muscle mass dwindles and bones weaken. Strength training helps stem that process, making you more powerful and structurally sound - both really important if you ride a bike. Strength training can also add years to your life.

Though masters and women benefit most, research on young elite male riders has found that their performance numbers also rise when they get out of the saddle and hit the squat rack as part of their regular training. That's why even climbing specialists swear by strength training.

To reap the greatest rewards, strength train year-round, hitting all your major muscle groups one to three times a week (more often during the off season when you’re not riding as much; less frequently when you’re riding lots).

To keep things fresh and continually challenge your muscles in novel ways, mix up your sets and reps from session to session, so sometimes you’re lifting heavy (three to four sets of three to six reps, three to five minutes of rest between sets); sometimes light (two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps, one to two minutes of rest between sets), and sometimes moderately (two to three sets of eight to 10 reps, one to two minutes of rest between sets). Body-weight moves are done in higher rep ranges, since there's no external weight.

The best moves are ones that target your primary movers (i.e. legs) from every angle as well as all the muscles that support you on the bike (good news: those muscles also support you off the bike). Here are 10 essential moves every cyclist should know. You don’t have to do all 10 every time you work out. Just be sure to hit your upper body, lower body, and core.

 

Barbell or Dumbbell Deadlift

Barbell or Dumbbell Deadlift
Photograph by Getty Images

 

This move can be performed with a barbell (pictured), but it's easier to get the hang of with dumbbells. Start by holding the dumbbells by your sides, palms facing back. Keeping your eyes forward, chest lifted, and back flat. Hinge at the hips and lower the weights toward the floor, allowing your knees to bend slightly. Keep the weight close to your body and lower until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Contracting your glutes, push your hips forward to raise yourself back to the starting position.

Why it’s essential: Works your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and lower back for powerful pedaling in and out of the saddle.