Make it Happen Mondays – Lifting Weights

Last Monday we published our Loving the Bike Cycling for Optimal Weight min-e-book and have been very pleased with the feedback received so far.  Each Monday in January we’re going to spin off from what’s included in the book and provide you with additional information to help achieve your ideal weight….and we’re calling it “Make it Happen Mondays“.  If you haven’t already downloaded your free copy of the Cycling for Optimal Weight e-book, you can do so now by clicking right here.

One aspect to achieving your optimal weight that wasn’t included in the e-book is lifting weights.  When I worked as a personal trainer, I would tell my clients that there are three key factors involved with getting the body in the shape you desire; weights, cardio, and nutrition.  The same applies to cyclists, but in my opinion the rules change a little when you’re spending a lot of time on the bike.

During the outdoor cycling season, weight lifting can be kept to a minimum so you can keep your focus on riding.  In the off season (if you have one), lifting weights gives you the chance to strengthen your cycling muscles, but it’s very easy to waste unnecessary time and energy.  To make sure you keep things productive and efficient, I’ve brought in my friend Heather Nielson to lay out a great weight lifting program for you to toss into your winter season training.

How does lifting weights help get you lean? The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolic rate will be….and this helps create less fat.

At Home Workouts: Off-Season Conditioning for the Cyclist

The weight lifting focus for the avid cyclist, should be working on muscle imbalances and weaknesses that develop.  The sport of cycling depends heavily on the power to weight ratio more than most other sports.   Cyclists are often concerned about whether the extra weight gained through weight training will be off-set by the advantages gained in building force and muscular endurance.  By utilizing a program that does not add anymore bulk than is necessary and concentrating the strength building in the lower body, the advantages gained will more than likely off-set whatever extra weight gained.  Form follows function however, and one of the most common mistakes cyclists do for their off-season weight training program is follow a friends’ body-building routine.  That sort of program is simply not appropriate for the cyclist.  The muscle movements during cycling require a weight training program that not only trains the muscles to produce further force, but also trains the synchronization of their muscle recruitment at the neuromuscular and molecular level.  As a result of doing exercises that include many muscle groups at the same time, the actual time spent doing a weight training program is lessened as it’s not necessary to do a large number of exercises.

The general flow of a weight program for a cyclist should start with spending more time in the off-season and then tapering off to a maintenance type level as the race season (or regular riding season) approaches.  Additionally, the beginning of the weight training program starts off with lighter loads and more repetitions so that the muscle groups can adapt to the addition of the program in a more progressive manner.  A rule of thumb for every weight training session is to include warm up and cool down to aid the muscle groups in adapting to the work load.  It’s also a good idea to have a ‘library’ of exercises from which to choose so that your body doesn’t become too accustomed to the same program.  Also remember, recovery is the most important part of training!

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