A higher lactate threshold means that a cyclist can ride at a higher intensity before fatigue sets in and causes a reduction in cycling speed. Their findings indicate that strength training improves endurance performance independently of changes in oxygen consumption. This improvement appears to be related to increases in lactate threshold and increased leg strength. Put simply, endurance training and strength training are not mutually exclusive. Both may be needed for improved performance.
If strength training can improve performance then how much time should be devoted to a resistance training program? Remember that any supplemental training, whether strength training or other activities, is only an aid to improve off-road cycling, not a substitute for road and trail riding and should not be overdone. During any week of training, cycling should be the major component of training.
You also need to recognize that resistance training offers the additional benefit of reduced injury prevention. It will help strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the shoulders, arms, feet, ankles, knees and hip joints all important strength development in a sport such as off-road riding which requires total body conditioning.
Mountain bike racing demands much more use of upper-body strength due to changes in posture, riding tempo, and terrain. Strength training will help you ride faster, farther and with less overuse injuries.
When designing a strength-training program for yourself, it is important to have specific goals in mind. The needs and energy demands of the different off-road events must be considered, and the prescribed exercises should bring about the realization of increasing your potential.
Exercise prescription in resistance training demands considerable thought, planning, evaluation and organization. The key motivating factor to your participating in a strength and conditioning program will be improved race results on the trails next season.