Cycling is an endurance sport I don’t need to lift

Monsoon season has officially arrived.

I’m typing away here after 40-minute hot shower following the wettest commute in history.

It felt like I swam into town.

The last month or so I have being doing a lot of my own research while gaining valuable knowledge from some leaders in the area of strength and conditioning.

I’m happy to say the content is finalised and production of the A1 member’s strength plan will be with you guys very shortly.

I’ve been involved in cycling for over 11 years now….

Aaaaannnnd I feel old.

Big grey area

Gym training for cycling performance has remained such a massive grey area in terms of lack of awareness and available information since I stumbled into the sport.

Some will tell you it doesn’t help and that will probably never change.

The question is have they tried it? If they did, did they do it correctly?

The current science is unquestionable, that is that concurrent style training (strength in the gym endurance on the bike) improves a vast array of performance determining factors.

So why don’t we listen?

Cycling is full of “sure none of the pro’s back in the day lifted weights” and such opinions.

I’m going to use this initial blog to skim the crust of strength training and give some of my thoughts and opinions around the area and hopefully convince you to take action this off-season.

“Cycling is an endurance sport I don’t need to lift heavy weights”

Yes it is an endurance-based sport but cycling is also a power-based sport – lets make that clear.

All those new fandangled power meters don’t directly measure endurance, do they?

Firstly lets look at power.

Power equals force times velocity.

Force is the amount of effort or exertion generated into the pedal stroke and speed is essentially your rpm.

What is strength then?

It can be described as the ability to exert a force.

Take this for an example

If two identical clone cyclists with all the same equipment are pedalling at 100 rpm and one is putting out more power, he must be putting out more force on the pedals and using more strength (ability to exert a force) to do so.

The old style of strength work for endurance athletes was to lift tonnes of reps with girly little weights.

Essentially training endurance!

You’re wasting time here as it’s nothing we cant do on the bike.

In contrast, heavy strength work allows you to use your existing muscle more efficiently and effectively.

The recruitment of more motor units means tapping into power you didn’t have at your disposal before.

I’ve heard all this garbage before?

No you haven’t, this time it’s backed up by the latest science.

I don’t want to get too deep in this blog about the mechanisms behind the adaptions that result from strength training but there are a few things you need to realise.

First of all after a short few weeks you will notice improvement in the weights you lift.

Boom I’m getting stronger, right? And this will transfer straight onto the bike?


It’s neuromuscular coordination that’s at play here, in other words your muscles have become more coordinated at performing whatever it is your doing.

That’s why you don’t see an improvement on the bike just yet but don’t get disheartened.

This will take time and will come.

Wheels before dumbbells

The most important thing to realise with concurrent training is that you can’t master two things at once.

The bike is still number one in this relationship and strength work has to reflect that.

I’ve devised a programme based off the latest evidence with help from people at the top of this field that I feel won’t take from your cycling sessions.

It’s challenging but not that much so that you have sore legs all week, at least not after a few weeks!

It’s a programme that will make you stronger in 12 weeks without question.

Personally I can’t wait to get it out there.

See you at the squat rack.

A. Buggle

About the Author