Although cycling is a good workout for most of your body, to be your best, you still need to work with weights to build strength and power. There are basically 2 types of muscle fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. You have about 50% of each type of fibers making up your muscles.
To perform at the top of your game, you need to have both types developed well. The slow twitch fibers allow you to ride steady for long periods of time, the fast twitch fibers give you bursts of power which allow you to kick it in and climb hills. So unless you’re always riding where there are no hills, you need both types developed. How do you do that?
Leg Training – You need to have all your leg muscles strong for peak cycling. Train your quads and glutes with squats and or leg presses. Both exercises will train both sets of muscles. To make sure that your hamstrings are strong enough to match the strength in your quads, you need to work them with lying leg curls.
To strengthen your hip flexors, that will allow you to pull on the upstroke, and not just let your leg rest on the way up while the other leg is pushing down, you should pedal with one leg for one training session each week. This will allow you to push down and pull up with one leg and make those muscles strong. Pulling up with one leg as the other is pushing down, will give you a extra power and speed, a little bit at a time. Spend a workout once every 2 weeks with heavier weights, but do most workouts with weights that allow doing sets with 50 to 100 reps.
To build the fast twitch leg muscles, the best exercise is to do jump squats. Try to do 5 sets with just body weight. Start with 8 reps per set, increase as you get in better shape.
Core Training – A stable strong core is essential for peak cycling. To get the core you need, your training should consist of pull ups, planks, side planks, bird dogs, and side lunge with overhead press. try to get in one core workout per week.
Back – The pullups will build back muscles as well as core. For back training you should also do good mornings, windmills, and hyperextensions.
Shoulders – Strengthening your shoulders will make those long hours leaning with your hands on the bars, much more bearable. You should do shoulder shrugs with a roll from front to back at the top of the shrug. The overhead press that you did in the core training will work the shoulders as well. You should also do side lateral raises, and the ultimate upper body exercise, the push up.
Arms – The last group, and one that you don’t want to ignore are your arms. Your forearms will get a good workout from cycling. To work the biceps and triceps, you need to use weights. Triceps extensions and push downs are the best triceps exercises. To work the biceps, do dumbbell curls and hammer curls.
To perform at your best, you need to have the strongest muscles, with lots of stamina. You will feel like cycling itself is a good muscle builder. For several muscles that is true. But if want to perform at the highest level in your cycling, you still need to work out with weights. Try these workout for a couple of weeks and you will see a marked improvement in your performance.