Strength and conditioning to improve your cycling

If you’re serious about your cycling you’ll integrate a couple of interval sessions into your training week, but have you ever thought about strength and conditioning?  Common in most other sports and the secret tool of the pros, this approach to training doesn’t get much attention in cycling, but it’s set to explode!  Be ahead of the game and learn how to use strength and conditioning exercises to improve you cycling.

A year-round strength and conditioning program for a cyclist is an essential aspect of training for every level of rider from beginner to elite.  Many riders fail to maintain some form of resistance training which can be the secret to improved performance and beating your buddies over the line.  Strength training not only helps improve overall aerobic strength and endurance to improve performance, it also prevents injury and promotes recovery. It is important throughout the year, particularly the off season and transition phases but also through the race season.

Strength and conditioning goals for cyclists

The main goals of any strength and conditioning programme for cyclists should be to improve performance and prevent injury.  For this you need to establish good form, increase power and develop endurance.

Good form

core strength for cyclists

Cycling requires good body position and a strong core to enable you to adopt a more aerodynamic riding position for longer periods and also to utilise a more efficient pedalling technique without fatigue. Functional core strength is important to maintain good form over long periods, to provide a good base for efficient technique and to improve overall endurance.  In addition to this and often overlooked in cyclists, good flexibility is important in the parts of the body that can suffer from prolonged hours in the saddle particularly the neck, shoulders, lower back and knees.

Increase power

strength trainingYour primary muscles are the muscles that take on most of the load when you are cycling, think butt, thighs and calves!  Stronger primary muscles will give you more power and will make you more robust to prevent against injury.  This strength must also be translated into something usable on the bike such as the ability to produce power for extended periods and more explosive efforts.  You should also consider your arms, upper limb strength will translate into improved endurance for those long rides.

Develop endurance

long distance cycling enduranceIn cycling we often think that we have to rack up the miles to develop our endurance. This is true, however strength training and good form are complimentary methods of increasing endurance.  Lactate threshold, an important element of endurance performance and can be enhanced with strength training.  Where as good form from a conditioned core and good flexibility will allow you to hold your cycling position and efficient technique for longer.


BikeFit app iconThe BikeFit exercise programme has been developed specifically for the dedicated cyclist to build specific strength and endurance for improving cycling performance while at the same time reducing the risk of common cycling related injuries by addressing the physical issues that are caused by spending many hours in the saddle.

The exercises in BikeFit address all these needs and deliver them to you in an 8 week package that gets progressively harder over time.   You don’t need to make any decisions on which exercises to perform, you won’t need any equipment and the exercises can be done anywhere at any time that is convenient to you.  Choose either the full hour long session or if you’re short on time do the eight minute version, all that matters is that you do them!


Rachael Lowe