I get a lot of questions about weight training and cycling. Since I come from a football/rugby background and my father was a bodybuilder as a kid, I feel like I have pretty good understanding of weight training. (I’ve been lifting in a gym and studying weight training for 31 years and have watched this too many times, which is once)(also, I am old) I won’t go in to a ton of detail, but I think it is fairly useful. Particularly in the off season and when combined with on bike training.
I’ve mentioned countless times how cyclists are terribly unbalanced in their muscle structure. Weight training is a great way to seek to keep that balance, both upper body/core and in your legs. Although, I do caution cyclists from doing hitting the gym in a traditional way due to the clear role of weight training for cyclists as a balance and tensions strength building vs. a standard gain muscle mass training for many other sports.
Specific to leg days:
- Try to pair your in training on bike with the training in the gym. Muscle tension workouts on bike before/after weight training will have the best benefit
- Work on your pulling muscles as much as your pushing.
- Work on whole muscle groups. Squats are better than hip sled. Deadlifts are better than the quad machine. Lunges are better than calf raises.
- Use periodization in the gym as well and match it with your periodization on the bike.
- Dynamic training can also be a big part (box jumps, etc,) of finding that whole body balance.
- Don’t be afraid of short term bike fitness loss. It takes a lot of time for your legs to get used to weight training and recovery and the bike will come back much stronger.