Off Season Strength Training For Cyclists: A Well-Planned Transition Phase
Cycling is a sport which requires constant physical effort. You need to train your body so it can perform at its best when riding a bike.
Cycling involves long periods of rest between sessions, and you must make sure that you have enough time to recover from each session before you start again. There are many different types of workouts that can be done during off-season training (OTS). Some of these workouts are very aerobic, while others involve high intensity interval training or other forms of exercise.
Weight Training For Cyclists
There are several reasons why you might want to do some type of weight training for cyclists. Weight training helps increase muscle mass and burn calories.
Also, if you’re not used to doing any kind of exercise then it’s good to get into shape because you’ll be able to ride longer distances with less fatigue than someone who isn’t fit.
The main reason for doing weight training is to build up your muscles and keep them healthy. If you don’t lift weights, then your muscles will eventually atrophy.
This means they won’t grow anymore and may even become weaker. Your body needs to maintain its structure in order to stay strong, so building up your muscles is a good way of keeping yourself fit.
Another benefit of lifting weights is that it improves coordination and balance. Having strong legs is a good foundation for good coordination and balance.
The stronger your legs are, the more successful you’ll be when riding.
A third benefit of lifting weights is that it strengthens your core. Your core is an area from your pelvis to your neck and is vital for maintaining your body’s structure.
A strong core will make you more efficient while riding a bike because all of the energy you produce won’t be lost.
A forth benefit of weight training is that it improves your bone density. Your bones become more resilient and less likely to break if you use them often.
If you don’t do any kind of exercise then your bones won’t get stronger.
When To Do It
It’s best to start off with an empty stomach and finish with a full one. This means that first thing in the morning is a good time to do some resistance exercises.
The earlier you do it the better because it will burn more calories and your muscles will have time to rest before your next training session.
It’s best to leave at least one day per week for active rest. This means that you don’t want to do any more exercise than is absolutely necessary, because your muscles need to fully recover.
The last thing you want to do is go from lots of exercise straight into lots of rest because your body won’t have a chance to adapt.
How To Do It
There are many different types of exercises you can do to strengthen your body. If you’re trying to get into racing shape then you need to focus on resistance exercises because they improve your overall strength and endurance the most.
If you’re only doing a few exercises then the most efficient ones are those that use your own body weight, for example pull ups and sit ups.
You can either do all of your exercises at once or divide them up into different sessions. If you’re pressed for time then you can split them up into 4 or 5 sessions and do them every other day.
This will give your muscles more time to rest, which means they’ll grow back stronger after each session.
It’s important to warm up your muscles before doing any type of physical activity because they’ll be less likely to get hurt if they’re flexible. A proper warm up also gets your blood flowing to your muscles and helps them prepare for what’s to come.
The warm up should last at least 10 minutes and shouldn’t include any exercises that are similar to the ones you’re going to do. For example, if you’re going to be weight lifting then your warm up shouldn’t include running because this would get your muscles ready to do something they aren’t going to do (unless you turn your running session into a sprinting one!).
Another benefit of a proper warm up is that it gets all of the slack out of your muscles. This makes them less likely to get injured because they’ll be at their strongest during your training session.
If you’re planning on doing any long distance running then you need to make sure your legs are flexible as well. You can do this by doing a couple minutes of stretching for them before and after your run.
How To Get The Most Out Of It
Unless you’re training for a specific sport then it’s best to focus on all around strength training. This means that you want to build up your primary muscles because they’re the base of your body and everything else depends on them.
The key muscles that you need to focus on are your chest, back, outer thighs and calves. You also want to stretch out your hips, groin, shoulders and the backs of your legs.
If you’re doing any exercises that stretch front of your legs then make sure to stretch your hamstrings as well.
In order to get the most out of your resistance training you need to do both “long tension” and “short tension”. Long tension exercises are ones that hold the weight in a stretched position for a prolonged period of time.
Short tension exercises release the tension quickly. For example, if you’re doing a bicep curl then this would be considered a short tension exercise because you lower the weight back down immediately. If you’re doing a bench press then this would be considered a long tension exercise because you hold the bar above your chest for a few seconds before lowering it.
Long and short tension are equally important because they both improve different aspects of your muscle fibers. Long tension exercises are great for building strength and short tension exercises help to increase your muscle size.
Another important thing you should keep in mind is that you should try to always keep your muscles working throughout their full range of motion. This is especially important for weight lifting.
If you don’t, then you’ll end up strengthening a limited range of motion and this can cause serious injury. Always make sure to stretch throughout your whole range of motion as well.
In any case, I’m sure you’re eager to get started so let’s go over some exercises.
Here are some general guidelines for your resistance training.
Warmup: A proper warmup should last between 5 and 10 minutes and shouldn’t resemble the exercise that you’re going to do. For example, if you’re going to be weight lifting then you shouldn’t be doing a lot of jumping around because this will just tire out your muscles.
Instead, you want to focus on stretching and light exercises.
Weight: For each exercise, you want to select a weight that’s going to make it impossible for you to complete more than 10 reps. If you can easily do 10 or more then the weight is too light and if you fail at 5 or less then its too heavy.
Finding that balance is key.
Progression: The whole point of this is to increase the amount of weight that you’re using. You do this by increasing the amount of repetitions that you can do with good form.
For example, lets say that with one weight you can do 8 reps, with another you can do 6 and with another you can do 4. That last weight is the one you should be using. If you find that you can easily do more than 4 reps then its too light and if you find that you’re failing at 3 or less then its too heavy. Adjust the weight accordingly.
Cool Down: Just like a proper warmup shouldn’t resemble the exercise that you’re going to do, a proper cool down should also last between 5 and 10 minutes and shouldn’t resemble the exercise that you’re going to do. Just like with the warmup, you don’t want to do a lot of jumping around right after lifting weights because this can cause muscles to tighten up.
Instead, do some light exercises like walking or slow jogging and lots of stretching.
In addition, here are some exercises that you should be doing in order to maintain your muscle size and strength.
Pushups: You do these for 5 repetitions and they shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for you anymore.
Sources & references used in this article:
Optimizing strength training: designing nonlinear periodization workouts by WJ Kraemer, SJ Fleck – 2007 – books.google.com
Primer on periodization by TO Bompa – USA Roller Sports, 2012 – traininginparadise.eu
An approach to the periodisation of training during the in-season for team sports by N Chad – Prof Strength Cond, 2010 – jerseytouch.co.uk
The training process: Planning for strength–power training in track and field. Part 1: Theoretical aspects by BH DeWeese, G Hornsby, M Stone… – Journal of sport and health …, 2015 – Elsevier