Female cyclists perform better when they add power training to their training schedule. Through increased muscle strength in the legs they can provide more than six percent more power.
Cyclists should have a good stamina to perform. This requires endurance training. Therefore it is not surprising that this kind of exercise is most popular among cyclists. For every cyclist, recreational or professional, a ride for a few hours with fellow cyclists is a normal routine. That this improves stamina is clear. But there are also other forms of exercise which can contribute to the improvement of the performance. It has been previously shown that male cyclists also benefit from power training in combination with endurance training. Whether this is true for their female colleagues was examined by a group of Norwegian exercise physiologists for the first time .
Trained women cyclists can cycle faster when they add heavy power training for the legs to their endurance training. This emerged during a cycle test in which the participants had to cycle as hard as possible during a 40-minute so-called “all-out” test. The eleven weeks of power training, in which they trained twice a week, yielded beside increased muscle strength in the upper legs also an average of more than six percent more power that women cyclists could supply while cycling. Women who did no do power training, but only continued their endurance training did not improve their muscle strength and power.
To make sure that not the extra training, but the type of training explains the difference the researchers had the women who did not do power training do endurance training a bit longer. In this way all women trained in total an equal number of hours a week.
The increase in muscle strength appears to be the explanation of the increased power that woman can deliver. Namely there appears to be a correlation between the degrees of increase of muscle strength and the power output of female cyclists. In addition, endurance does not appear to improve by power training as maximal oxygen uptake did not change.
Like male cyclists do women cyclists are advised to do power training two times a week. It is important that the exercises are intense and focused on strengthening the leg muscles. Exercises that are eligible include the so-called squat and leg press.