Everyone hears that they should weight train to gain strength. That’s true, take 2 athletes with the same body/endurance & the one that is 10% stronger will always win!
When you go to the gym is most of your strength training take place with 1 leg or 2? Most equipment in the weight room is designed for you to use 2 legs – why? Because the training philosophy that has dominated the industry for the past decade has been body building – building large amounts of muscle, and to impress the judges on stage. But does all the muscle size translate into speed & endurance?
When you train and race, all the force production is generated with single leg contractions – running, only 1 leg is on the ground at a time. Cycling, 1 leg is creating the force while the other tries to pull-up or at least not interfere.
So if your workouts should help you become better, faster, stronger shouldn’t your weight training also include specificity to your sport – for example single leg training.
I like to warm-up with squats on a balance board – each leg has to press equally or the board will flop to one side. I will follow this exercise with cone reaches on one leg – this requires using balance/stabilization as well as hamstring & glute activation.
Next I often do lunges – trying not to use the back leg and using the front leg as much as possible. Also, with doing single leg lunges, I find out if 1 leg is producing more power than the other leg. Optimally, both legs produce an equal amount of power!
I will follow this up with another single leg hamstring exercise that mimics the cycling and running foot/leg action, such as hamstring roll-ins on a stability ball.
I always use the best form possible & rely on Quality over Quantity of each exercise – do something until I can no longer hold proper form – then stop, move on to the next exercise.
I hope you like some of these tips and put the ideas behind them to use in your next workout!