Why Weight Training Is Crucial for Aging Cyclists

May 11, 2023 5 min read

Why Weight Training Is Crucial for Aging Cyclists

Age Considerations

Weight training is crucial for aging cyclists for a number of reasons. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, which can lead to a decline in strength, power, and endurance. Weight training can help to slow or even reverse this decline, and it can also help to improve balance, coordination, and injury prevention. 

Although young top cyclists might choose to spend every spare second on the bike, as we become older, our muscle mass and strength decrease. The muscles that propel us forward deteriorate. Weight training therefore becomes essential for ageing cyclists in order to maintain their motors, although it may not benefit a young, naturally strong rider, so its time to invest in strength equipment to help your cycling.

Additionally, there is the matter of "functional strength." As we become older, into our 70s and 80s, we require more strength merely to get out of the chair than to bike a century. It's challenging to regain that strength later in life if it isn't maintained throughout middle age.

Will I put Weight on  Strength Training?

Don't be concerned in the event you put a small amount of weight on. No matter how hard you work out, it probably won't happen. Gaining significant weight requires the ideal balance of hormones and muscle structure, as well as numerous hours spent working out. Additionally, bodybuilders who wish to bulk up refrain from any aerobic exercise because they believe it will hinder their capacity to do so. Weight gain shouldn't be a problem if you're engaging in both a lifting regime and even moderate bike training.

If you do put on a few pounds (Kg's) of muscle, however, don't freak out. (Fat is a different matter)a little bit of excess weight slows down a 1-kilometer time trial by a minimal amount as the additional weight should be offset by improved power.

 So the rationale is that riders over 40 (and, especially, 50) should make resistance training a key part of their overall workout routine. Only in that way can we maintain the muscle mass that allows us to keep riding strongly as the years slip away.

Weight Training Tips for Cyclists

Resistance training is sometimes known as "weight training". This implies that you don't require a sophisticated gym or a lot of equipment. Pull-ups and push-ups are effective body-weight exercises. Any additional resistance to what your muscles are accustomed to helps develop strength. This involves using a higher gear than usual to ride up hills.

Build strength. After you have developed good lifting form and a solid base by using light weights and fairly high repetitions (10-25), concentrate on building strength with 2-5 sets using higher weight but lower reps (3-8). Cut back to 1-2 sets for maintenance during the riding season, still using relatively high weights.

Weight training can be a great way to improve your cycling performance. By strengthening your muscles, you can increase your power, endurance, and speed. Here are a few tips for weight training for cyclists:

  • Focus on compound exercises. Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time, which is more efficient than isolation exercises. Some good compound exercises for cyclists include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows.
  • Lift heavy weights. To build strength, you need to lift weights that are challenging for you. If you can lift a weight easily for 12 or more repetitions, it's too light. Start with a weight that you can lift for 6-8 repetitions, and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
  • Lift low reps, high sets. For endurance strength training, it's best to lift low reps, with high sets. This will help you build muscle and strength.
  • Lift at least twice a week. Two weight training sessions per week is a good starting point. As you get stronger, you can increase the frequency of your workouts.
  • Don't forget your core. Your core is important for both cycling and weight training. Make sure to include exercises like planks, crunches, and Russian twists in your routine.

Choose one exercise from each of the following 4 groups to perform each time you lift.

  • Upper-body pushing muscles:  push-ups, bench presses, dips, incline presses
  • Upper-body pulling muscles:  pull-ups, seated rows, pull-downs, bent rows, shoulder shrugs
  • Core:  crunches, back extensions, various exercises using an exercise ball
  • Legs:  squats, leg presses, step-ups, lunges
Strength training for cyclists

Strength training equipment that can be used by cyclists.

Some of the most common include:

Barbells and Olympic Plates: Barbell and Olympic Plate Sets are a great way to build strength and muscle mass. They are also versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises.
    Dumbbells: Dumbbells are another great option for strength training. They are smaller and more portable than barbells, so they can be used at home or at the gym. for more understanding read our benefits of dumbbell training article.
      Kettlebells: Kettlebells are a great tool for cyclists because they can help you build strength, power, and endurance. They are also versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises. Here are some of the best kettlebell exercises for cyclists: 
        • Kettlebell swing: The kettlebell swing is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, core, and back. It is a great exercise for building power and endurance.
        • Turkish get-up: The Turkish get-up is a challenging exercise that works the entire body. It is a great exercise for improving balance, coordination, and strength.
        • Clean and press: The clean and press is another compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups. It is a great exercise for building strength and power.
        • Kettlebell row: The kettlebell row is a great exercise for building back strength. It is also a good exercise for improving posture.
        • Kettlebell squat: The kettlebell squat is a great exercise for building lower-body strength and endurance. It is also a good exercise for improving balance.
        Weight machines: Weight machines are a good option for people who are new to strength training or who have injuries. They are also a good option for people who want to focus on specific muscle groups
          • Squat Racks : Using a Squat rack or Squat stands is another great exercise for building lower-body strength and endurance. It is also a good exercise for improving posture.
          Spirit leg press for cyclists
          • Leg press: The leg press is a great exercise for building lower-body strength and endurance. It is also a good exercise for improving balance. You could consider using a Plate loaded type like the Spirit Plate loaded Leg Press shown above or consider a selectorised version such as the Hammer Strength SL Leg Press, you will often find these in gyms as well to train on.

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