Friday, June 4, 2010

Weightlifting & Cycling

A lot has been written about the relationship between weightlifting and cycling and there isn’t a clear consensus on the question of whether weightlifting provides a real benefit to the serious rider. There are people who argue eloquently that the only training a cyclist needs is cycling.

I believe that weightlifting, done properly, at least does no harm. And it almost certainly helps the cyclist to avoid losses in bone density that can come from a strictly no-impact exercise plan. During the winter I do lower body weightlifting three days a week as a complement to my trainer workouts. During the summer, just riding is all the lower body strength training I need.

For obvious reasons, most of the debate about weightlifting for cyclists concerns lower body routines. But having a strong upper body really shows up during a long day in the saddle. Fatigue in the upper body can sap your energy and distract you from what you want to achieve on your ride. I do upper body weightlifting year-round and it’s rare that I have a complaint about my arms, shoulders, neck or back, no matter how long or difficult the ride. If weightlifting isn’t your thing, try yoga or even just pushups. I throw some traditional “gym class” exercises into the mix from time to time, and you might be surprised by how effective they can be.

1 comment:

  1. I was always against any upper body lifting during my serious cycling days, but I realize now that it would have been more beneficial to do that. Even Lance does bench presses with low weight, and does work with a medicine ball. A cyclist definitely wants to avoid high weight, but resistance training is a good thing.