The main purpose of Cycling strength is the ability to recruit more muscle fibers when necessary.
But normal cycling does not cause this to happen. 1) The body subconsciously attempts to do everything as easily as possible, to conserve energy. 2) Cycling in nature is an endurance sport. 3) to race well, you must A) conserve energy sometimes and at others either maintain or expend tremendous amounts of energy.
The body has an inherent desire to do something as easily as possible, in essence you body naturally wants to cheat. Something to do with caveman instincts. Gotta do something? Your body tries to use as little muscle as possible to do it, thus saving muscle strength for later. The problem for cyclists is that at some points, you will want as much muscle fiber recruitment as possible – whether that is for the decisive attack to be in the break, the final sprint of a race, or just the sprint to avoid stopping before a light turns red. Each of these actions will be better performed if your body is able to recruit more muscle fibers to do the work.
Cycling strength is created in 2 main ways: 1) Gym workouts 2) Training in the Mountains or Hill Repeats.
To do this you must overload the muscle fibers that your body is currently recruiting. 1 of the simplest ways to do this is a basic ‘Wall Sit’.
To do a Wall Sit, put your back up against a wall and slide down into a sitting position (thighs parallel with the ground). Your Knees and Hips should each be at a 90 degree angle. Your hips, knees, and ankles should all be the same width apart.
Use your heels to press your hips, shoulders and head into the wall. Within about 30 seconds you should feel areas of your quads start to quiver as they tire out, keep holding because this is what will cause other muscles to be engaged to do the necessary work. This is the start of greater muscle recruitment.
At first 30 seconds of this exercise may seem like an hour, but as you progress with this exercise you should get up to doing a minute each set.
As my clients have been progressing, then we will do the wall-sit and do a weighted goblet squat almost immediately after.
This is a way of tiring out the legs, then challenging them to push even harder in a functional way to stimulate muscle strength. It sucks, but it makes Pistons out of your legs!
Want even more detailed info about strength training, sign up for my monthly newsletter (in the upper right corner) that gives more insight into the workouts we do and a free workout plan.