One of the most effective ways to improve during the offseason is incorporating a well-built offseason weight training program. As we’ve written before, offseason weight training can mean a lot of things to cyclists, but in general, we’re talking about multi-joint cycling specific movements like a squat and leg press. Of course, there are others and tons of variations but the squat and leg press hit all the muscles used in a pedal stroke.
The effects of offseason weight training have been studied again and again and again. These studies all show positive benefits to incorporating strength training into your annual and offseason training plan, with a few caveats:
- Cyclists are often hesitant to incorporate weight training into their programs for fear of hurting on-the-bike output and endurance. Studies suggest that replacing 1-2 days of on-the-bike training with 1-2 days of weight training increase both aerobic output and endurance.
- While heavy strength training (such as building a good 2-3 rep max in various lifts) can improve running performance, this type of heavy strength training is especially good for cyclists.
- Studies which focused on the benefits of strength training for well-trained female cyclists showed that “adding heavy strength training improved cycling performance, increased fractional utilization of VO2 max, and improved cycling economy”.
During the offseason, many cyclists struggle because of the nature of “forced rest” and fewer hours doing what they love – riding their bikes. In our recent blog post about offseason training, we outlined the major concepts and focus that an athlete needs during the offseason.
That blog post makes the case for our offseason training plans which range in cost from $29 to $199, but more importantly, we wrote the post so that our athletes could think critically about their offseason plans. First and foremost, we want you to take an appropriate break from riding your bike, which will depend on who you are as an athlete and what your season was like.
Case in point is the legendary Nino Schurter’s #SecretTraining which we absolutely love and have tried to emulate for the past few years.
As coaches, we consider the offseason to start at some point in September and finish up after completing a 10 week, 4 phase cycling specific resistance training program. Now that we’re already a few days into the month of October, we encourage all of you to think carefully about how you’ll incorporate offseason weight training into your program for the fall.