There has long been the debate about the value of strength training for endurance athletes like serious cyclists. Some fitness professionals believe it to be a necessity while others, shrug it off as a waste of time and effort. The truth is that strength training is never a waste of time and effort, and although it may not directly improve your finish time when cycling, it offers numerous other benefits that are needed when you are serious about cycling.
Enhances Balance and Coordination
Resistance and weight training with equipment such as free weights, physioballs, foam rollers and BOSUs help improve your balance and coordination. How does this happen? Well, once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you have established enough balance and coordination to ride. Riding a bicycle is a relatively simple act and once your body knows how to do it, the activity no longer challenges your neuromuscular systems to improve. However, when you participate in weight training using the equipment mentioned above, you challenge these systems, which helps enhance both your balance and coordination. This makes you both a safer and stronger rider. Resistance training is also helpful because it helps improve communication between your muscles and brain, which receives signals through the nerves. This communication helps enhance balance and coordination, which is extremely helpful in preventing falls and bicycle related injuries.
Improves Bone Density
Many cyclists may not realize that while cycling is ideal for people with arthritis or who are looking for a low-impact exercise due to joint pain, it doesn’t do much to promote bone health. This is due to the fact that cycling is a non-weight bearing exercise. To combat this problem, cyclists can greatly benefit from incorporating resistance training, which contributes to strengthening your bones.
Regularly participating in cycling enhances your aerobic system but doesn’t do much to improve muscular power. The good news is there are various types of resistance training that you can participate in that will help you become a more powerful rider? Power is important to cycling because the more you have, the easier of a time you will have while riding uphill and into headwinds.
Minimizes Risk of Injury
In participating in weight and resistance training, you will become a more versatile athlete. One of the greatest benefits to this is that you will become more powerful in completing day-to-day activities. You may not feel this is necessary. However, you wouldn’t believe how many serious cyclists become sidelined by injuries that aren’t related to exercise but their day-to-day lives! People often become injured from doing things like moving furniture, participating in repetitive motions (like typing and using the computer), playing non-contact sports like golf, falling and tripping.
Reduces Muscular Imbalances
If you are an avid cyclist, over time, you can develop muscular imbalances. This often occurs due to the repetitive motion of cycling because as you complete thousands and thousands of pedal strokes, the quadriceps and glutes become very strong while the muscles in your lower extremities like your hamstrings and hip stabilizers fall behind. Muscular imbalances like the one described can destabilize your joints and increase your risk of injury. This is why strength training is great for serious cyclists.
As you can see, participating in a strength and resistance training program can seriously benefit your cycling abilities. If you are avid cyclist and interested in developing a strength and resistance training routine in the Beaverton, OR area—stop in, call 971-371-3666, or contact FIT Academy today!