Cycling training in the gym, is it really effective?

Cycling training in the gym, is it really effective?

Should a cyclist training the gym?Can it improve ther performance lifting weights or doing sit-ups and push-ups? Many cyclists hate and try to avoid the gym or any sort of work outside of cycling. Here I’ll try to join opinions to try and find out whether or not you should go the gym to make improvements on the bike.

Cycling and the gym

Are you one of those who alternates cycling and the gym? Do you compete on top of the bike? Are you, like me, just a globero who likes to go out on the weekends with his fellow cyclists? Maybe you should consider doing some gym work to improve your skills on the bike, whether you ride an MTB or a road bike.

But will you really get better by balancing your muscles and body?

It seems so, as the secret is precisely that: to give your body muscle balance to avoid injuries on the bike and get maximum performance.

What benefits are there for cyclists training in a gym?

The principal benefit is strength gain but we talked about that in another blog post

In any case, you may not even need to step into a gym (which will be good news for those who don’t intend to) and you can try to do a workout at home.

Benefits for cyclists training in a gym

And we should be careful to differentiate strength work from the so-called core work, because although they can be grouped together, the former can drive many people away due the use of machines, dumbbells, presses, etc.

The principal benefits for cyclists from gym work are:

  • Working on other areas of the body, such as middle and upper, which are less worked on the bike, but which will result in performance gain and above all balance.
  • You’ll also avoid potential injuries.
  • Your muscles will be able to cope with low and high loads, which will make prolonged exertion easier.
  • Improved general technique.

Benefits of strength training for cycling

We talked in a previous post about the concrete benefits of strength work in cycling.

Have a read of it and put it into practice with some gym work. To do so, click here.

How frequently should we train in the gym?

A few years ago there was a theory that the cyclist’s gym and strength work should only be done before the season, in the low season or in pre-season preparation.

Today, and I’m not a technician, nor a trainer, nor do I have the full expertise for it, nor do I try to advise anyone about anything; cyclist trainers include at least one gym session a week in their cyclists’ plans.

The reason? The benefits for their cyclists in competitions and performance.

Within this figure, it should be made clear that such work must be completely individualised, as each person will not respond equally to stimuli.

As such, it’s recommended that you incorporate this type of work before the start of any season, never do it in the middle of the season, and, above all, don’t start with high or intense gym workloads..

And how often should I go to the gym if I want to get better on my bike?

The recommendations of the professionals are to carry out 2 to 3 sessions per week for at least 8 or 12 weeks. Once this has been achieved, it’s recommended that you maintain one session per week.

And now you may be thinking about the excuse of time, going to the gym or devoting more to this aspect than to endurance on the bike. As I mentioned before, start at home with basic exercises and you’ll see how you’ll hardly have to dedicate any time, and the results will be seen on the bike… you don’t need to spend months and months at it…

Gym routine for cyclists

As I mentioned above, I don’t intend to repeat strength work or exercises (with machines) for you as a cyclist to do in the gym.

Don’t be afraid of it! In the end, it will get you hooked, especially when you see how it can help you perform more and feel better on the bike 😉

Gym routine for cyclists

The aim here is for you to get to know the exercises that’ll help improve your core…

And what is the core, and what benefits will this bring?

  • It’ll help you with most efficient power transmission.
  • You’ll have better pelvis positioning.
  • You’ll haver better general positioning on the bike, which will improve your performance.

Have a look at the following exercises for the gym and cycling, it’s a routine specifically for working on the core. I can assure you that will not take more than 10-15 minutes. Obviously, at the beginning it will be more tedious, but you’ll notice the improvements on the bike, especially in terms of comfort and performance after a few hours of pedalling.

As I have already mentioned, they are recommendations, so it’s always best to put yourself in the hands of a training professional. They can take charge of individualising your work, both strength and core, in order to obtain the greatest benefits.

What equipment should I use in the gym?

A mat will be enough to start working on the core.

However, we encourage you to put yourself in the hands of a trainer, so that you can get an individualised exercise routine.

Besides, if you’re like me, someone who gets lost in the gym, they’ll be the person in charge of introducing you to each of the machines you can work with the strength section.

What’s the most recommended gym work?

  • Leg press.
  • Leg curls.
  • Heel lifts.
  • Weights, kettlebells and bars.

And add to that the core exercises you saw in the videos. Everything counts!

Gym exercises to do at home

It’s the best way to start core or strength work.

Try doing exercises cycling in a gym, even if it’s at home with just a mat and the weight of your own body.

If you set aside those 10 minutes a day (or 2-3 times a week), it’s the best way to start creating a routine, you’ll feel more active, you’ll get better on your bike, and you’ll certainly be encouraged to contact a professional to individualise your work to learn more and continue your performance growth.

As a leisure cyclist, I encourage you to try it at home today! I did it, and with less than an hour a week (spread across different days) I can feel the difference when I’m on the bike.

Want to train like a professional? Check out the recommendations in the following video from Carlos Verona, professional cyclist for the Movistar Team.

Sources consulted:

  • Core and cycling for the RFEC
  • Core Exercises for Cycling with Sportlife

Other content you shouldn’t miss out on:

Review of Cycling and the Gym

Benefits - 100%

Strength Training - 100%

Routine - 100%

Working out at home - 100%


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About José Miguel Olivencia
José Miguel Olivencia
José Miguel Olivencia is a professional in communication and sport who relates his training and experience in every post he writes.
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