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Start off easy: the adaptation phase of strength training

Strength training is an essential component to a cyclist’s annual training plan. If you missed it, check out our recent blog post on the benefits it provides

Cody Waite with Sessions: 6 Sport Performance has generously shared his Strength Training for Cyclists approach with us. This approach is broken down into five types of strength training sessions:

  • Adaptation
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Power
  • Maintenance

Today, we’re diving into the first phase of the program – the adaptation phase. 

It’s important to begin strength training very conservatively to avoid injury and unnecessary soreness and discomfort. This can be achieved by spending your first several sessions using very light weight and performing only two sets of each exercise with 12 repetitions per set at approximately 50% of your 1 rep maximum.

The specific exercises chosen for the sport of cycling (including road cycling as well as mountain biking) are specific to the movements involved with producing more power on your bike, including pedaling, pulling on the bars, controlling your bike through rough sections of trail, and keeping your core stable.

Exercises are identified as developing propulsive force, recovery strength, and stabilization for the particular movement. The propulsive and recovery movements are performed together as a “superset.” The stabilization exercises are performed following the propulsive/recovery sets.

Here is one “superset” followed by a stabilization exercise.

Propulsion: STEP UP Begin with femur parallel to the floor. Step up 10-12 inch high step. Return to start position for one rep. Complete all reps for right leg before beginning left leg. Use dumbbells or Olympic bar across shoulders for more weight.

Enduro Bites Strength Training for Cycling

Recovery: STANDING LEG PULL Begin with foot slightly behind you. Pull with hip flexor to bring femur parallel to floor. Use stretch cord or cable machine strapped around ankle.

Stabilization: HIP ABDUCTION From a neutral standing position, extend outside leg outward keeping leg straight and using the outer hip muscles. Use stretch cords or cable weight machine attached at the ankle.

Enduro Bites Strength Training for Cycling

Remember, the minimal stress sessions in the adaptation phase allow you to get familiar with your routine and where your weights and machines are located in your gym. They also allow your muscles, tendons and ligaments to adapt to the training load gradually.

Your first few sessions should be extremely easy, so opt for the lighter weights and gradually increase the weight loads with each session. An adaptation set is also used as a warm-up performed as the first set of every type of individual session.

Want to dive deeper? For $29 you can download Cody’s complete 16-week program.

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