How to Improve Your Cycling with Strength Training.

How to Improve Your Cycling with Strength Training.

Winter is fast approaching, well here in the UK it is. Nights are drawing in and as each day passes by, the hours of day light gets cut slightly shorter. If this means that getting out on the bike after work is going to be virtually impossible then we thought we would provide the ultimate lower body workout for cyclist which can help improve your biking performance. 


There is much deliberation into the effectiveness of strength training for cyclists. Regardless of these arguments if you do not have the opportunity to get out on the bike then getting in a strength session seems far more effective to us than just sitting around on the sofa.

Strength training is also becoming more and more important in the treatment and rehabilitation of muscle and tendon injuries such as tendinopathy, often in favour of stretching and flexibility exercises. It has been shown to help re-strengthen damaged tissues while decreasing the likelihood of a recurrence of the injury. 

At the end of the day to get better at cycling though, you have to cycle. Simple as. But working in conjunction with a strength programme, can really help you to use your existing muscles more efficiently, tap into power you didn't have before, and perform better in the crucial late stages of your races.


Many believe adding too much muscle mass can play a negative effect in adding unwanted weight on the bike but you can significantly increase your strength without adding large amounts of muscle. Increasing your strength can improve your endurance, power production, and resilience to injury. This is why we have focused on lower rep ranges in the workout to focus on building strength rather than muscle mass. 


The strength-building mechanisms that help cycling performance are largely neurological. This means they have to come from teaching your body to better use the muscle it has, rather than from adding lots of new muscle.

This has the potential to benefit you in a number of ways. For instance, endurance training typically relies largely on the recruitment of slow-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers have great stamina as it is, but researchers have concluded that strength training improves the maximum strength of these fibers, which further increases the time it takes to work them to exhaustion. This allows you to reserve your fast-twitch fibers for later in a race or time trial. Heavy strength training develops fast-twitch fibers far more effectively than light high-rep training

So here is our training programme written by Strength and conditioning coach and triathlete Harry Luscombe.


Squats are an excellent exercise for training the lower body and core muscles.


Squats are primarily a lower body exercise and works out the following muscles; quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, hip adductors, hip abductors, gastrocnemius (calf), soleus, tibias anterior, rectus abdominals and erector spinae  


Stand tall with your feet hip width apart and the bar resting just behind your neck.
Start to lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees and pushing your body weight into your heels
Keep a neutral spine at all times and never let your knees go over your toes
The lower body should be parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted at all times not rounded.
Pause then lift back up in a controlled movement to the starting position


Repetitions - 6 Reps
Sets - 4 Sets 

Deadlifts are an excellent exercise to develop hamstring, lower back and core strength. 


Deadlifts works out the following muscles; hamstrings, abdominals, gluteus maximus and  erector spinae (Lower Back)


Walk to the bar. Stand with your mid-foot under the bar. Don't touch it with your shins yet.
Grab the bar. Narrow, about shoulder-width apart. ...
Bend your knees. Keep going until your shins touch the bar.
Lift your chest. Straighten your back. 
Pull up taking a big breath, hold it and stand up. Keeping your head in line with the spine as you lift - when you reach the top of the lift push the chest out and the shoulders back before lowering with a straight back whilst bending the knees. 

Repetitions - 6
Sets - 4

Hamstring Curls 
Hamstring Curls are as you guessed an excellent exercise to develop your hamstrings


Hamstrings and gluteus maximus 


For the lying leg curl machine - adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the leg curl machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches under the calves). Tip: Preferably use a leg curl machine that is angled as opposed to flat since an angled position is more favorable for hamstrings recruitment.
Keeping the torso flat on the bench, ensure your legs are fully stretched and grab the side handles of the machine. Position your toes straight. This will be your starting position.
As you exhale, curl your legs up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the pad. Once you hit the fully contracted position, hold it for a second.
As you inhale, bring the legs back to the initial position. 

Repetitions - 8
Sets - 3

Walking Lunges 
Walking lunges are a great exercise for the quads but also core stability.


Gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, core and quads


Stand upright, feet together, and take a controlled step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. The back knee should point toward but not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over the ankle.
Press your right heel into the ground, and push off with your left foot to bring your left leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side. 

Repetitions - 10
Sets - 3