Cyclists should be doing heavy resistance training. The research – and common sense – make that very clear.
Having worked with a lot of cyclists and runners, however, has proven how problematic this can be. First, most cyclists (except for us track sprinters) really aren’t built for heavy lifting. If your back doesn’t already bother you from long hours in the saddle, then heavy squats and deadlifts will certainly do the trick.
Second, is proper technique. Heavy weightlifting, including squats, should not be done without good coaching. And good coaching is really hard to find. This is even more the case if you want to use Olympic lifts in your program. I am a proponent of Olympic lifts and was first certified as an Olympic Weightlifting Coach back in 2005 (working out on a platform with a teenage Mat Fraser). But finding a good coach is VERY hard. I have seen posts from Olympic bobsled athletes who have one of the “top” coaches and their form would put most people in the hospital!
So what to do? Well, if you are here on our website, you guessed our prescription… Sleds.
Sled training is ideal for cyclists because…
- It will make you faster, stronger, and leaner (you will not “bulk” up)
- You can target the muscles used in your pedal stroke, which is actually very hard to do with traditional weightlifting
- Sleds are VERY easy to learn, and VERY safe (even with heavy loads)
- Your workouts can be done in 15-20 minutes (or less)
- You won’t be sore, which is another reason I use sleds with in-season athletes
- You don’t have to spend hours in the gym, you can do your workout outside
- Sleds are great for rehab (especially for knees)
- Sleds can be effectively utilized by:
- Olympic Athletes
- National Champions
- 10 year-old kids
- 77 year-old grandmothers
- (I can personally attest to all of these)
For those that like the science, research suggests that cyclists really don’t get more efficient with more time on the bike. The recent research is here, and an Outside article is here. You can also see our blog here about another Outside article discussing how resistance training is better for you. The article concludes, “Cyclists who typically spend many hours riding their bike could seemingly replace some time-consuming cycling training with shorter sessions of running training without experiencing negative effects on their [cycling efficiency].”
Or even better yet, they should grab a sled, and spend a few minutes getting faster, stronger, and leaner!
Sled Training for Cyclists
A full program for cyclists to get you faster, stronger, and leaner! Learn ways to build the muscles and movements you really need for improved cycling performance!