What are you doing to prepare for 2017? If you want to make big gains during the off season and maintain motivation throughout the year, you should consider incorporating resistance training into your cycling plan.
At Achieve Training & Coaching, our athletes will typically spend 8 weeks of the off-season in the gym, focusing on building strength, stability, balance and flexibility. In addition to core strengthening and plyometrics, our resistance phase addresses three aspects of muscular development: hypertrophy, strength and power. We like to compare muscular development to the roots of a tree. A tree with a strong root system will withstand the stresses of nature and last a long time.
Remember this equation: Power = Force x Speed. Weight training will increase muscle force and recruitment as well as help prevent injury; it could be the missing link you need to take your cycling performance to the next level.
We think every cyclist should take part in a resistance training program. Here’s why:
1) Build Muscle
Weight training will develop the muscles required to generate power on the bike, primarily the legs and core. Overloading muscles with high resistances will recruit maximal number of motor units and increase muscle force. The body doesn’t use one muscle at a time, but rather utilizes multiple muscles in concert to create power and stability. The off-season is a great time to bring balanced strength and stability to the entire body while also identifying imbalances and strengthening weaknesses.
2) Prevent Injury
A well-rounded resistance training program will strengthen your muscles, increase mobility, and improve the strength of connective tissues like tendons and ligaments, helping to prevent tears and other injury.
3) Increase Bone Density
Because cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise, it is important to support bone health by incorporating resistance training into your routine. Weight training will increase bone density and improve bone strength now and in the long term.
4) Boost Metabolism
Increased muscle mass will burn more calories throughout the day and, in turn, promote weight loss.
5) Strengthen Your Core
A strong core is essential to being a strong, well-developed athlete. Increasing core strength will lower your risk of injury, improve posture, reduce back pain, and protect your inner organs and nervous system. Our core acts as a key stabilizer and force transfer center. Most movement starts at the center and moves outward, meaning that while our legs are very strong pistons, an especially strong core is required to stabilize and transfer power to the pedals. As the saying goes, “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe.” Core muscles help maintain a neutral spine and include the transverse abdominals, diaphragm, multifidus, internal and external obliques, pelvic floor, erector spinae and several other muscles.
6) Get Results Fast
Resistance training can be very motivating for cyclists because visible muscle tone and increased strength can happen rather quickly, within 2 to 3 weeks.
7) Prevent Burnout & Keep Motivation High
Switch it up. Riding and training on your bike 12 months out of the year is a recipe for burnout, especially with the long NorCal racing season. Off-season weight lifting offers a fresh activity and new environment to reinvigorate enthusiasm and help you get motivated when it comes time for structured on-the-bike training.
If you’re tired of the same old results, it’s time to try something new. If you have big goals for 2017, now is the perfect time to get in the gym and start working toward your goals. The Achieve Resistance Phase incorporates lifting, guided Dynamic Stretching and Warm Ups, Plyometrics to build explosive power, Core Conditioning for strength and stability, and Foam Rolling as a comprehensive approach to whole-body balance.
Dedicating time to resistance training will help you become a strong, well-rounded, and injury resistant athlete. Not to mention, time spent doing this alternative activity will help you stay mentally fresh and focused for the season ahead. Try something new this season and see what happens!