Do Cyclists Need To Go To The Gym?

Do Cyclists Need To Go To The Gym?


– Getting better at cycling isn’t always about riding your bike. I know, shocking right? Gym training can make
fitter, faster and stronger. – Many pros these days are
taking to strength training to improve their on-bike performance. So, could gym training be something that you’re missing out on? – In this video we’re going to find out if cyclists do really
need to go to the gym. (upbeat music) Strength training is traditionally
done in the winter months while the pros are training
with less intensity and building their aerobic base. But recently, many cyclists
have been incorporating strength work all year round as it can help in a number of
ways and has many benefits. – This sounds like a bit of a no-brainer The stronger your muscles are, the more power you will be
able to put out while cycling. Using strength training
is one of the best ways to become a stronger overall rider. So, by going to the gym and
including some strength work, you will be increasing
your max power on the bike. Not only making you a
better, faster cyclist but also helping prevent your body from getting injury too. – As a track cyclist, I know full well that when it comes to sprinting
gym work can really help. Track sprinters will often
spend just as much time training in the gym as
they would on the bike. So if you want to improve your sprinting, the gym will definitely help. Did you ever use strength training as part of your training as a pro cyclist? – You know what, I didn’t. But my coach the last few years
of my career telling me that as time went on and I was getting older, it was more and more inevitable that I was going to have to
start doing it to try and maintain what I already
had but also to actually make sure that my body was injury free. You know, there are definitely
benefits to be gained. Cycling is a low impact activity which is great for your joints. But it doesn’t do much to
support your bone density. Including some strength
training can help plug the gaps which have been left
by pure cardio exercise by building stronger bones,
improving your coordination, preventing injury and
also improving your power. – Some of the most common
injuries for cyclists include lower back pain, neck pain and knee pain. Some of these might be unavoidable but most are caused by muscle imbalances. A combination of strength
training and routine stretching can help strengthen your muscles
and prevent these injuries. Using resistance bands can be effective in helping prevent injury and they can activate
your muscles before rides. Past studies have shown
that a lot of pro cyclists have low bone density. I am very aware of this problem as I have fractured my
pelvis three times in crashes due to having low bone
density in that area. Unlike running or walking, cycling is a non weight bearing activity which is why it’s so great for people with orthopedic injuries. However, this means
you’re going to have to be doing something else
like strength training to help maintain a healthy bone density and compact things like osteoporosis. – We spend a lot of time seated on a bike without compression forces
on the spine or pelvis. Even though it may feel like
you’re peddling hard at times, the forces are not distributed in a way that puts significant strain on your bones which is what’s needed for bone growth. A bone needs to experience a tenth of the force needed to break it in order to create the stimulation needed to increase the bone mineral density. – Plyometric training and jumping can add additional stress and help
with bone mineral density. Exercises like squats and deadlifts are really good for putting
stress on your bones. Lift relatively heavy
with the right technique. Of the track cyclists
I would be in the gym at least once or twice a week, but these would be on days where I’d have an easy road ride in the morning and then a gym session in the afternoon. But for a road rider,
once a week is enough. – The winter is a great
time to start to include strength training into your program. For a start, it’s warm and dry in the gym. You don’t need to be outside
on those cold dark evenings. Most pros will consider
starting gym training either in their off season or in the start of the
preparation for the new year. – It may be the thought of
spending time in the gym when you could be out riding your bike or it could be the pain
of the DOMS the next day. I always used hate waking
up after a hard gym session as it would just hurt to walk. But as soon as I got on my bike, it didn’t seem to affect me. – Gym work between
different types of riders is going to vary massively. Traditionally speaking, sprinters will go for fewer
reps of a heavier weight, whilst climbers or more
endurance focused riders will go for lighter
weights with more reps. Either way, it’s important that
you master the basics first. So before you get onto
lifting any heavy weights, make sure you’ve got the correct technique and the correct form. If you enjoyed this video
do give it a thumbs up and let us know your gym experiences down in the comments below. – If you want to know five
essential gym exercises you should be doing as a
cyclist, click on screen now.

100 thoughts on “Do Cyclists Need To Go To The Gym?

  1. how about genes? I met a lot of cyclist that only do running and cycling. Some just bike a lot of long rides and the painful thing others just train at only just a month, those younger ones. Not talking about the Pro's but mostly because people here are competitive or occasional cyclist, so am I. Maybe in the Pro's are different but I'm not really convince since that's what I experiences in out local races.

  2. Remember Girls for Gold in 2009/10 in advance of the 2012 Olympics?
    Well as a physical preparation professional I trained one athlete who finished 7th out of the entire cohort in cycling. She did squats, Olympic lifts as well as the usual core and scored highly on power especially for her small physical size. As soon as Scottish cycling got hold of her, they forbade her from all but the most basic gym work that had got her to that high level. Now, she did compete on the road in two Commonwealth Games but results could have been even better if they'd not been so short sighted back then, in my opinion. Every endurance based athlete is in the gym these days and back then, it would have given her an advantage, no doubt.
    PS I currently work with a female GB athlete who finished top 40 at the World x country championships last year and she does lifting and core capacity work twice per week.
    Now that's all of my chest..get to the gym.! 😜

  3. For anyone looking for exercises, look up AthleanX on YouTube. He has great videos with numerous exercises and advice.

    Also, make sure you do face pulls. They are essential for muscles that help posture but doesn't get trained a lot in normal life.

  4. By not going to the gym (ie weight resistance training, core training and stretching/flexibility) in your 20's and 30's you'll pay for it dearly in your 40's and beyond…

  5. Last winter I did not ride much at all. Instead I focused on lifting and recovering. I was shocked to see a high 5 second wattage when I returned to riding. I did not continue the lifting as I added time on the bike (a mistake). However, I tried to best that high wattage to no avail all season long. This winter my lifting was not where it was at the end of last winter as I have been riding and swimming more than lifting. However, my wattage overall this past season has been better than previous years. Being retired recently I had a great summer riding and saw my cycling fitness improve more than any time in my life. I am 63 and have been cycling, swimming, lifting and running for more than 30 years.

  6. Great video! As a cyclist and natural bodybuilder I definitely know the benefits of strength training. Since I’ve combined the two I can ride faster, longer and climb hills much easier.

  7. train upper and lower body as a whole and you will improve in all aspects. 3 days a week will be enough 30mins-1 hour per session is more than enough time as long you stay off your phones and focus on training.

  8. I DISAGREE ABOUT JUST BONE DENSITY THEY FORGOT THE UPPER BODY ALSO . Look I'm Cyclist my self i ride colnago I think cyclist should work out their upper body also because it looks damn stupid with tree trunk legs and there upper body so skinny with 8 inch arms I'm not saying be big and bulky but at least be proportion and symmetrically balanced.

  9. My winter gym routine:

    Monday – 30 miles on spin bike in an hour or less
    Tuesday – 30 miles on spin bike in an hour or less
    Wednesday – 5k run in 25 minutes or less, 1 hour freeweights
    Thursday – Rest day
    Friday – 30 miles on spin bike in an hour or less
    Saturday – 5k run in 30 minutes or less, or 2 hour free weights
    Sunday – Rest day.

    The days can be changed about depending on time constraints, how much im hurting etc, but thats my weekly workout. If it's dry, I will do 30 miles on the road instead of the gym, but living in Scotland means that I can't do that very often. Strength training, especially explosive power exercises, are hugely important for bike handling, more so if youre riding CX, MTB, or Gravel. I spend a lot of time on my lats, pecs and biceps to make sure that I can throw the bike about when I need too, and that I can keep it under control when I'm sliding out or if I have to suddenly change direction.

    Like most cyclists, I don't really need to train my legs, but we all need to build up our overall strength. There's no point in having huge overbuilt calfs and thighs if your arms are like wet noodles. Too many riders get obsessed over thier weight and cardio without ever giving any real thought to upper body strength. Yes, building muscle will mean putting weight on, but you can train harder to compensate for that and become fitter and stronger than before.

    I'm guessing most of us here are amatuers, so we need to be honest with ourselves about what we're training for. Yes, you might want to look like the top pros, but can you maintain that and is it healthy for you to be 20kg underweight? Do you really need to be? Would you be a better rider if you were a little heavier and stronger and had to buy a size up in the latest kit, and would it really matter?

  10. In the 1970's, I read an English copy of an Italian coaches training manual. It said, in the off season, riders should have "" fun "" doing other sports. Tennis, soccer, basketball, swimming, water polo, skiing, X-country skiing, were some of the sports listed. The idea was, relax the mind, while keeping active (in shape) doing activities that were not work related (like having a hobby). Secondary, the bending, twisting and the unplanned movements of those sports would, help strengthen non cycling (core) muscles.

  11. My cycling coach and trainer both said; "If you are not doing squats, you are not serious about cycling."

    Along with; stair climber, yoga & inline skating, it has helped my on bike performance considerably.

  12. I'm 53, and been going to the gym for 10 plus years. I feel so much better, and my only regret is that I didn't do it as a younger cyclist.

  13. Not if you can ride all year. I used to live in harsh weather so I really used the gym a lot in the off season. I utilized cross train gas well
    Swimming, running, yoga, etc..

  14. I race cyclocross and I can say with absolute certainty that the introduction of strength training in my program (2/3 times a week) has improved unbelievably my performance

  15. I occasionally do some gym work at school but unless I’m on the leg press or leg curler I find it very depressing

  16. Just noticed that when you Google “GCN Presenters list” it displays all presenters’ names and pics. Interestingly enough, Simon is listed with a pic of Dan. You think Dan was looking for a bit more publicity?

  17. I'm just starting to watch the video, but I can tell you as a 59 year-old cyclist (I've been cycling seriously for almost 40 years) that it helps enormously. Resistance training, upper body as well as legs, has transformed my cycling. I'm climbing better than I have in years and back extensions have cured the one thing that cycling used to aggravate. Three times a week for an hour and half keeps me feeling very fit. I would like to give a plug here for The King's School Recreation Centre in Canterbury, Kent. The only gym to use the brilliant eGym (electro-magnetic) machines in Kent as far as I know. Excellent staff too.

  18. Great info video BUT as much as I like the beard Chris…….. it needs a tidy up!🤔😃 also some set of calf’s on ya😉

  19. 100% we need to strength train. That being said, if you are trying to make gains, you need to focus on one thing at a time. If you want to build muscle and you want to get faster, doing a progressive overload program while training to go faster and for longer in the saddle might be too much to do at once. Some argue that it sends competing signals in the body. I've tried it and had difficulty being fully recovered on and from leg day. (eased into it so I wasn't going all in all at once.)
    This year, I'm experimenting with phasing my training. From now until May, I'm focused on building aerobic capacity and core stability. May until October will be speed focused. October through December will be muscle focused.
    I built a pretty solid foundation with base miles and yoga. I'm not clear on what exactly happened but I went from putting out 100 watts (2015-2016) to 70 watts (2017-2018). While I was in the gym (2018) I saw those numbers get up to 80. On paper, the gym seems like the way to go. The amount of time that took was more than I'm willing to give. I hope to prove that I can spend half that time doing yoga and on the fluid trainer and get further along. Sounds like I'm trying to buy some magic beans. We'll see!

  20. exactly: because cycling is very specialised swimming and running would make the full circle. The conclusion is quite obvious: triathlon… 😉

  21. Great little video, particularly liked the real-life experience input from both Manon and Chris. Injury prevention and strength work means you can keep doing what you love – getting out on your bike!

  22. Please please please can we have more track related content? Mannon could do at least one video a week with her knowledge! Training sessions for the different disciplines, paracycling categories, tips and skills, track tech (particularly gearing and BB standards), events/racing and interviews with the pros. This would be so helpful for those of us getting into track cycling, plus with the build up to the olympics imagine how good this could be! Please please please!!!!!??

  23. My solution is that when I come in from a ride I take the dog for a good walk. Then I get out the crowbar and mattock and chop out rushes, blackberries and other weeds for a few hours. Then I chop wood for the kitchen stove with which to cook dinner. By the time I have done all of this I would be too tired to ride the 20km to the gym to get a work out, then ride back on dirt roads in the dark.

  24. Yep. Cycling is low impact on the frame and muscles. I realized that my leg strength, or really my lack of strength was holding me back. Being able to turn the best gears for a given speed or incline is a matter of having the strength to do so. Power to weight is definitely important.

  25. i have been doing the strength program of sufferfest, and is working, i had a spine injury 1 year ago, and thanks to the program i have a faster recovery, and now with a stronger core when i ride, i dont feel any pain.

  26. Thanks for the upload guys. Excuse my ignorance but who is the new girl???? I have found that working on kinetic chains has immediate crossover to any sport what you focus on depends upon how far out you are from a race e.g.: aerobic capacity; lactate threshold, lactate capacity, alactic capacity, alactic power. Knowing when and how to integrate these in to your training in the gym and on the road will ensure incremental improvements in performance.

    Peace & Love!

  27. Oh if I go to gym will I get calves like Chris , hold on Manons' arm are better looking than mine , see ya I am of to the gym

  28. The best weight room routine I’ve found is Stronglifts 5×5. It starts you out at attainable weights and only adds 5 lbs per session. You gradually increase strength and it also reduces the risk of injury to the connective tissue.

  29. Maybe I should, but I already spend too much money and time on cycling and I never liked gyms. I might buy some weights and start doing some strengthening exercises.

  30. Doing a lot of squats with only body weight until failure, will make you break through those pain barriers both physically and mentally.

  31. Love this video! After a aquat session it feels good to get on the bike although your muscles are hurting. Amazing!

  32. Really interesting info regarding bone density, I am erm…. a leasure cyclist but live in a hilly area so believed that I was getting enough of a leg workout, I lift heavy for upper body at the gym but don't put much effort into legs as I thought I was doing enough………… although started doing a bit more when my daughter kindly informed me that I was looking like Johnny Bravo or Mr Incredible…… A GUY THAT MISSES LEG DAY 😂😂

  33. No mention of core? You can’t beat side plank whilst raising a 3kg weight rom the horizontal to vertical x12 then the other side. The other good one is to adopt the plank position with 3 to 5 kg in each hand and raise each hand to your hip whilst keeping your body straight and no swinging. Totally agree with the rest of the leg strengthening. Love GCN.

  34. Welcome, Manon. You seem very natural as a presenter – and it's about time GCN got another woman! Looking forward to seeing you more.

  35. I've had a L3-4 and 4-5 discectomy after an injury I sustained while changing tractor tires and can no longer load my spine. I used to squat 500lbs (or 227kg), but that was about ten years ago now, and I'm sure I've lost bone density. Any ideas for alternative exercises that would produce the same effect?

  36. Actually yes……………..Even ir un home u can do push up and basic stuff……………….But in really will make you stronger in general, u will feel lets tired…………..

  37. Would be great to hear more about managing recovery between a gym session and the next training session on the bike. Is it good to push through the muscle soreness or is it better to spin it out with a nice easy session?

  38. Being strong on top can really help you maintain control when you get in trouble. Don't just focus on your legs.

  39. I watched a young rider, in our club races, graduate through C, B then take out the A grade road race championships. I asked him how did he improve so fast – after beating me in C grade. He told me that one day he would tell me the secret. That secret was…. he went to the gym.

  40. Im do not doing weight training , instead im doin 50 push up everyday, i can really notice riding bike after doing push up routin really help for long distances ,its a lot easier control the bike , my pedaling improved more stable too

  41. Great video, please explore more this subject matter as it is very controversial and we need more information what to weight training

  42. Could you guys do a body maintenance play list things like this.streaching and weights and stuff . I have only just seen the turbo training videos they are awesome.so something like that 👊

  43. Stopped running to add in lifting with my cycling and feel better. For years, I thought running was essential to keep weight off. Turns out I may have been wrong. Walking, cycling and lifting seems to be doing it for me.

  44. Another good thing that helps weight lifting and biking riding is getting massage therapy every other week because it promotes fluidity and flexibility.

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