Road cyclists are often hesitant to step foot into a gym for various reasons. The idea of strength training may sound counterintuitive to some as they fear some sort of loss in power to weight ratios due to upper body muscle gain. After asking riders about their strength training program one may also receive the response: “Oh, I don’t lift. I am not a sprinter.” Whether it’s for off-season training, or physiological/systemic benefit, there is a place for strength and weight training in the cyclist’s repertoire.
The human body is extremely good at adapting to its environment and if someone spends enough time in the saddle, their human frame will pretzel into the most efficient form that will propel the machine. Riders notice the physiological benefits of cardiovascular health, improved mood, and the weight loss. The conundrum pops up after months of adaptation manifesting in the all so familiar pains and aches cyclists endure and brush off as part of the “fun”. As much as we enjoy time on the bike the human body was not designed for it.
During the following weeks, the Fuel Strength Series will attempt to shine a light on the more common biomechanical issues associated with cycling which may be corrected with “off-season iron pumping”. Common body aches on the bike seem to focus (but not limited to) around the neck, shoulder, and hips. Of course, there are other painful spots but let’s assume that the bike fit is pristine and the equipment that the rider is wearing is fitting like a glove. The above frequent “hot-spots” regularly develop due to faulty movement patterns which do not receive the proper attention after the person is off the bike. Enter off-season strength training. Believe it or not, there is more to gym work than squats and lunges. Hope you are warmed up!
Istvan Takacs, Physical Therapist, (BASc) Kinesiology and Exercise Science
Fuelixir Content Creator