As a cyclist, you’d
never saddle up and spin 25km/h around the same 50km loop three times a week
expecting to make measurable fitness gains.
Yet many riders do
just that in the gym: We go in and lift things up and put them down 10 times,
rest, repeat, and wonder why we don’t seem to be getting any stronger.
Just as you need to
vary your intensity on the bike with intervals, endurance and threshold rides
to improve your fitness, you need to challenge your muscles on a variety of
levels to build more strength, power and stamina.
You can start shaking
it up – and boosting your results – right now by using a training method called
daily undulating periodisation (DUP for short).
DUP training mixes
high- and low-intensity exercise as well as volume into the same week,
surprising your cycling muscles every workout with different sets, reps and
In a study published
in the Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research, exercisers who followed this type of undulating plan
for 12 weeks increased leg-press strength twice as much as exercisers who
followed a more traditional strength training plan without weekly variation (56%
versus 26%), though both groups performed identical training volume over the
course of the study.
challenging your muscles in different ways, they continue to adapt, so you’re
less likely to hit a plateau,” says study author Wayne Phillips, PhD.
You’re also less
likely to get bored. Here’s how it’s done.
Schedule your training days
The best training plan incorporates three degrees of strength workouts. On
light-weight days, perform two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. On medium-weight
days, perform three sets of 8 to 10 reps. On heavy-weight days, complete four
sets of 4 to 6 reps.
Simply rotate through leaving at least 24 hours between strength
Do the moves
You can apply DUP programming to your current strength-training regimen. Or try
the quick-hit, cycling-specific workout below to put more power in your pedals,
If you want to ride
longer, harder, try the squat: the king of cycling moves. One study found
that cyclists who added squats to their regular training routine improved their
cycling time-to-exhaustion at maximum aerobic power by 17.2% after just eight
1. Stand with your
feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly out. Hold
weights at your shoulders or down at your sides.
2. Push your butt and hips back as if you were sitting in a chair and
lower down as far as possible while keeping your weight on your heels.
3. Return to the starting position and repeat.
move targets the glutes – notoriously weak muscles in cyclists – making you
more stable and powerful in the saddle.
1. Hold a barbell in
front of your thighs, arms extended, palms facing in.
2. Keeping your back flat, hinge at the hips and lower the weight toward the
floor; allow your knees to bend slightly.
3. Keep the weight close to your body and lower it until your upper body
is almost parallel to the floor.
4. Contract your glutes and push your hips forward to return to the
The plank row is a
must-do move for endurance cyclists. It develops core strength, upper-back
strength and the stamina needed to support your torso during long days in the
1. Assume a push-up
position with your hands holding the handles of two dumbbells so the weights
run parallel to your body. Position your feet hip- to shoulder-distance apart;
the further apart they are, the easier the move.
2. Keeping your back straight, pull the right dumbbell to your right side,
while pressing the left dumbbell into the floor for balance.
3. Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side. Alternate
for a full set.
was originally featured on www.bicycling.co.za
Image credits: iStock