Well trained cyclists improve their performance in a 40 minute “all out” test after 25 weeks of intensive strength training. Research from Norway shows that after six months training the power output can increase with 6.5%.
Research shows that alternating forms of training can contribute to improving the performance of cyclists. For example, interval training is for many cyclists an integral part of the training. Rønnestad and colleagues wondered whether less traditional forms of training which cyclists apply, such as strength training, may also contribute to improving cycling performance.
INTENSIVE STRENGTH TRAINING
A total of 16 well-trained cyclists (VO2max on average 75 ml / kg.min) of (inter) national level participated in this study. Seven cyclists conducted, in addition to their regular endurance training, intensive strength training for the legs of 25 weeks. The first 10 weeks they did the strength training twice a week for half an hour and the last 15 weeks decreased the number to 1 time per week for half an hour. The strength training consisted of “squats”, “leg presses” and exercises for ankle stretching.
The other nine riders followed their normal endurance workout schedule. The time the strength training group spends on strength training was completed by the other group with low intensity endurance training. In this way the total exercise time per week was similar (13-15 hours per week). The researchers include the results on a Wingate test and a 40-minute “all out” test. During this latter test the cyclists used their own bike on a roller bank. In 40 minutes they should deliver as much labor as possible. Moreover, the VO2max and the body weight were determined.
The peak power of the cyclists improved (just) not significant at the Wingate test. The average power that these cyclists on the 40-minute “all out” test yielded improved however considerably by an average of 6.5%. VO2max did not change. The performance and the VO2max of the cyclists who did not do the power training were after 25 weeks unchanged. Both groups had become about 1 kg heavier after 25 weeks.
It seems that strength training can contribute to improving cycling performance. This is in line with an earlier summary of a review of the effects of power training on endurance performance. Cyclists do not have to worry that power training leads to significant weight gain. If cyclists choose to add power training to the existing training than is proper supervision of the cyclist important, for example to prevent injuries.