Weight training for cyclists, part two: Finding the right mix

How to make weight training benefit you on the bike
When I was a middle school student, our science teacher, in an effort to teach us something about chemistry, taught us about how mayonnaise is made.

He showed us how oil and vinegar can mix with one another when another ingredient, egg, is added to the formula.

Strange as it sounds, endurance training and weight training are similar, without on-the-bike resistance workouts, the two won't mix.

When you increase the amount of weight training in your program, you must decrease the amount of endurance training in your program. Both are energy expenditures that need to be balanced with recovery time in order to promote training adaptations and prevent overtraining.

Increasing the amount of weight training and endurance training at once means there is too little time between workouts to recover adequately. As you become more fatigued, the effectiveness of each workout decreases until you are no longer deriving any positive training effect from your workouts.

Intensity is as important as time when balancing weight training and endurance training. Reducing the length of your rides when you are lifting weight is good, but including hard intervals in those short rides defeats the purpose.

Weight training is included in cyclists training programs during the off-season because this is the time of year when you can reduce the intensity of your endurance training without detriment. As your weight training intensifies, your endurance training should consist of low-intensity endurance rides, fixed gear rides, and workouts that concentrate on pedaling technique.

Weight training builds muscular strength, but cycling requires power, the delivery of strength in time.

Powerful cyclists are those who can use their muscular and cardiovascular strengths to produce more work than the next rider in a given amount of time. On-the-bike resistance workouts are essential for transferring strength gains in the gym to usable power on the bike.

Stomp Intervals, PowerStarts, and MuscleTension Intervals are great workouts because they are muscular workouts performed in cycling-specific ranges of motion.

Weight training movements are often linear and isolated to one joint at a time. Cycling is a far more dynamic range of motion during which various muscle groups are contracting in sequence throughout the pedal stroke. Weight training is very effective for building raw muscular strength, but you have to apply that strength to a cycling-specific movement in order to see the benefits in your cycling.

Careful attention to the balance of weight training and endurance training, along with the addition of on-the-bike resistance workouts, makes you a stronger and more powerful cyclist.

Jim Rutberg is a FitnessForm Coach with Carmichael Training Systems (CTS). CTS is the leader in personal coaching, training camps, and certified products.

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