Do Cyclists Need To Go To The Gym?

– Getting better at cycling isn’t always about riding your bike. I know, shocking right? Gym training can make
fitter, faster and stronger. – Many pros these days are
taking to strength training to improve their on-bike performance. So, could gym training be something that you’re missing out on? – In this video we’re going to find out if cyclists do really
need to go to the gym. (upbeat music) Strength training is traditionally
done in the winter months while the pros are training
with less intensity and building their aerobic base. But recently, many cyclists
have been incorporating strength work all year round as it can help in a number of
ways and has many benefits. – This sounds like a bit of a no-brainer The stronger your muscles are, the more power you will be
able to put out while cycling. Using strength training
is one of the best ways to become a stronger overall rider. So, by going to the gym and
including some strength work, you will be increasing
your max power on the bike. Not only making you a
better, faster cyclist but also helping prevent your body from getting injury too. – As a track cyclist, I know full well that when it comes to sprinting
gym work can really help. Track sprinters will often
spend just as much time training in the gym as
they would on the bike. So if you want to improve your sprinting, the gym will definitely help. Did you ever use strength training as part of your training as a pro cyclist? – You know what, I didn’t. But my coach the last few years
of my career telling me that as time went on and I was getting older, it was more and more inevitable that I was going to have to
start doing it to try and maintain what I already
had but also to actually make sure that my body was injury free. You know, there are definitely
benefits to be gained. Cycling is a low impact activity which is great for your joints. But it doesn’t do much to
support your bone density. Including some strength
training can help plug the gaps which have been left
by pure cardio exercise by building stronger bones,
improving your coordination, preventing injury and
also improving your power. – Some of the most common
injuries for cyclists include lower back pain, neck pain and knee pain. Some of these might be unavoidable but most are caused by muscle imbalances. A combination of strength
training and routine stretching can help strengthen your muscles
and prevent these injuries. Using resistance bands can be effective in helping prevent injury and they can activate
your muscles before rides. Past studies have shown
that a lot of pro cyclists have low bone density. I am very aware of this problem as I have fractured my
pelvis three times in crashes due to having low bone
density in that area. Unlike running or walking, cycling is a non weight bearing activity which is why it’s so great for people with orthopedic injuries. However, this means
you’re going to have to be doing something else
like strength training to help maintain a healthy bone density and compact things like osteoporosis. – We spend a lot of time seated on a bike without compression forces
on the spine or pelvis. Even though it may feel like
you’re peddling hard at times, the forces are not distributed in a way that puts significant strain on your bones which is what’s needed for bone growth. A bone needs to experience a tenth of the force needed to break it in order to create the stimulation needed to increase the bone mineral density. – Plyometric training and jumping can add additional stress and help
with bone mineral density. Exercises like squats and deadlifts are really good for putting
stress on your bones. Lift relatively heavy
with the right technique. Of the track cyclists
I would be in the gym at least once or twice a week, but these would be on days where I’d have an easy road ride in the morning and then a gym session in the afternoon. But for a road rider,
once a week is enough. – The winter is a great
time to start to include strength training into your program. For a start, it’s warm and dry in the gym. You don’t need to be outside
on those cold dark evenings. Most pros will consider
starting gym training either in their off season or in the start of the
preparation for the new year. – It may be the thought of
spending time in the gym when you could be out riding your bike or it could be the pain
of the DOMS the next day. I always used hate waking
up after a hard gym session as it would just hurt to walk. But as soon as I got on my bike, it didn’t seem to affect me. – Gym work between
different types of riders is going to vary massively. Traditionally speaking, sprinters will go for fewer
reps of a heavier weight, whilst climbers or more
endurance focused riders will go for lighter
weights with more reps. Either way, it’s important that
you master the basics first. So before you get onto
lifting any heavy weights, make sure you’ve got the correct technique and the correct form. If you enjoyed this video
do give it a thumbs up and let us know your gym experiences down in the comments below. – If you want to know five
essential gym exercises you should be doing as a
cyclist, click on screen now.