The jury is out on whether strength training ON the bike does you any good. Over geared efforts at a low cadence, producing more torque for the same power. Some pro cyclists swear by it, others don’t do it at all. But is there any science behind it? Should you be doing it? We’ve done some research!
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What is meant by Strength Training?
Well, there is the first misconception. Strength actually refers to the physiological ability to maximally push a one off max effort. This for example, is the maximum weight you would be able to squat in a gym. After that we are at best referring to strength endurance.
What we should actually call it when talking about on the bike strength efforts is high torque efforts. Torque is, by definition, force generated through rotation. This is essentially what propels us forward.
What is the theory behind on the bike strength training?
The idea behind high Torque training is to increase the maximal torque you can exert at the pedals,with the idea being you will become a ‘stronger’ bike rider.
There is more to it that just this. It is also considered as one method to create a more efficient or effective pedal stroke and it can be useful to help with muscle recruitment patterns and the recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibres.. Although this only happens if you do these efforts at the correct intensity.
The theory is that when contracting the muscles at a different rate and firing pattern whilst under load we will be placing a different stimulus on them making them adapt and become ‘stronger’.
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Strength Training On The Bike - Fact Or Fiction?