Incorporate weight lifting and cycling

Hi Guys,

It is great to find a place to post those questions. How do you guys incorporate weight lifting into a cycling training plan? For the past months, I been riding about 300km a week that consists of 3 times a week, dedicated SST, progressive climb… and 2 times a week some long distance that are usually within 70-100km.

But now as my wife wants me to join her in the gym because she don’t want me to look like a chopstick, I have no idea as of how to mix in weight training. I suppose I just do the upper body 3 times a week because my legs have already been tried out every week. But I worry that this will then put so much pressure on my neuron that it potentially lead to over training.

So I am sort of in a cross road and have no idea what to do and how to do it or whether to do it or not.

Any ideas will be great.


You could mix in some rowing, that will work your core and upper body. Add in some pushups or presses as rowing is all pulling for the arms.

Weight lifting can be very beneficial to cycling.
From your comments, I think you are asking basically as a roadie.
There are many body weight exercises that you should already be doing.
These include lower body exercises such as properly performed squats and forward and rearward lunges. Sets of 20-50 reps. These will improve your lower body strength.

I know you already stated that your lower body was strong but most road riders tend to be locked into the same position. Performing lower body exercises out of the riding position will increase strength and power while reducing the risk of an over use injury.

Most cyclist need to use the “other side” of their legs too.
This usually means running, jogging or hiking.

You should also look at “six stretches every cyclist should do”.

If you mountain bike, then upper body is even more important.
Push ups and bent rows are a must.
Pull up and Lat pull downs are very good but there is no need to go behind the neck.
Oppose pullups and lats with dips, not military presses.
I generally advise people over 30 years to avoid military presses or any exercise that has you pushing the weight over head and do not do exercises that place the weight or the bar behind your neck.
This is because the risk of rotator cuff injury.

Generally “again over 30”, dumbbells are preferable to barbells because it allows you to have more freedom in range of motion - again, this decreases the risk of injury. They also encourage the use of all the supporting muscles.
That is also the argument against most of the weight machines in the gym - they lock you into the same repetitive range of motion and do not require development of supporting muscles.

The biggest risk to a male entering a public gym is the tendency to feel the need to lift bigger wts.
This can quickly lead to an injury.
Are you competitive? How many times on Zwift do you speed up to prevent someone from passing?
Moving to heavier wts seldom improves endurance performance but proper weight lifting will.
The desire for heavier wts draws people away from the dumbbells and to the barbell and to the machines because without having to develop the supporting muscles, you can lift bigger wts.

There a good video on You tube that’ titled “The 7 worst weight lifting machines or exercises in the gym”. Something similar. There are actually several similar videos.

A lot of folks in the gym do exercises wrong, perform exercises that really will have no benefit and are using weights or performing exercises for show.

The gym will have some speciallty equipment that is very useful.
bench press and inclined bench presses. Using the lat pull down is a great way to build up to do pull ups though, I have seen people incorporate an elastic band to assist doing pull ups.
And, a knowledgeable trainer “may be” at the gym.

I’m sorry for the long post but I just feel most people might be better served installing a pull up bar at home and getting 10-15-20 - 25 lb dumbbells and performing body weight exercises.

OK, that said, you asked for advice not an opinion.
Perform body wt push ups, pull ups, dips, squats, forward and rearward lunges.
Use dumbells for bicep curls, triceps curls,bench press and inclined bench and bent rows.

Perform sets of ab crunches and planks.

Then do the stretches.



Fantastic advice for anyone, and immediately reminded me of the legendary Frank Zane.

Super simple motions for the most gains.

There are probably more injury risk with dumbells and besides there are many exercise you can’t perform heavy enough with dumbells to be effective in the long run.

Building mass and endurance training don’t go all that well together. It’s possible, crossfit is a prime example but in truth if you mostly do endurance riding your hormone levels just aren’t going to be where you need them to be to put on any muscle mass worthy of the effort you would put in. I say that knowing there will be people refusing this statement but there is endless studies on what high levels of cardio do to your testosterone levels. If you do decide your going to slog it out in the gym to gain mass while still doing high levels of carido you need to work twice as hard OR twice as smart.

  1. Compound movements.(Get more bang for your buck)

  2. Free waights. (Keep away from machines)

  3. 5-7 reps 3 sets with heavy as you can.

  4. Keep it short. No longer than 45 minutes. (Your already doing massive amounts of riding and your cortisol levels don’t need any help)

  5. Get the Leaner Stronger Faster book. It will explain absolutely everything that your body is doing right down the the cellular level. Knowing the science behind what you want to do is 90% of the battle.

Fitness advice will always divide opinion regardless of what’s said but I really do recommend you get that book. Plus it will have training programs that are 3 days a week up to 5. I’m guessing you don’t really want to be lifting 5 days a week since your a rider but your know what fits you best.

I just started some weight training now the sun is out.

Squats or deadlifts are generally the way to go.
I’m targetting 1 min power specifically right now so something like 1 min on / 2 min off til failure.
Can’t do anything for like 3 days afterwards though :smiley: (if you want to be able to cycle within a day or 2, don’t lift anywhere near ur max or go to failure…)

Depends what your goals are. Weights primarily help with top end power and not endurance, although you can improve endurance by improving top end power first then following it up with some endurance training. Hard to target both at once though because of long recovery times after weights.

Decent warm up / cool down + stretching + protein / recovery = key.

I have been lifting weights for 37 years.
Cycling for 10 years.
I generally do 3 zwift races a week or 2 races and 1 outdoor peloton ride. ( which we do as a unofficially 50 miler race)
I lift with my legs twice a week, always right after i cycle so as to get as many rest days of doing nothing and thus get good recovery.
I can sprint 1200 watts on zwift using tacx product. If you want to improve your sprinting lift weights. My legs could look just like yours in size and shape yet i might be able to post much higher short watt intervals. This is because my body can recruit more muscle fibers at once then lets say yours can. That comes from years of doing short i tense exercise like leg presses etc :slight_smile:

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