In terms of sheer mileage, not many sports in the endurance realm can top cycling. The nature of the apparatus and its ability to move faster than a human allows for enormous distances. And it is almost a purely concentric working motion, the minimal ecentric loading and impact make for multi day events. Ran an 100mile ultra? Cute. The Tour de France is almost a month long and over 2000 miles. But in the end, I’m using this as a bridge to talk about what I REALLY want to focus on today, which isn’t true endurance. The bicycle and the spandex are the only common threads here.
I just want to talk about the freaky quads of sprint cyclists. While this may be of disappointment to anyone that clicked this article hoping for tips to prepare for their next century ride, maybe this can be of help to hybrid athletes and bodybuilder bro’s who’s muscle bound fingers clumsily clicked the wrong link. And if you are a cyclist who’s still reading, please suspend belief as I may reference the same guy numerous times here. He’s a freakshow, and he deserves to be noticed.
For the bros and the hybrid strength athletes alike, HIIT training is extremely valuable. For the hybrid athlete, the metabolic conditioning can be widgeted to really get the most out of your conditioning work, as it pertains to specific energy requirements for the sport. For the lifter bros, there is a school of bro science that will preach HIIT til the end as the most effective method to burn calories without destroying muscle. And for both, HIIT training, especially on a bike, can result in exceptional leg strength and muscular endurance.
A successful way I’ve managed to implement this into a workout is on lower body days (squat and deadlift) I’ll use it as accessory work and conditioning balled into one. While my main assistance lifts are already oriented towards hypertrophy (sets of 8+ reps, in the 65-70% of max effort range), the HIIT template I’ll use results in a similar work output in terms of time under tension, and the controlled rest period almost allows aerobic recovery, but is just short enough so that 6 iterations of this work will leave me pretty smoked.
Lower Body Day with Sprint Cycle Work for a Hybrid Athlete (example!)
Squat – per some method of progression (I’m a big fan of using Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 here)
Walking lunges – 5×10 steps each side
Leg curls – 5×10
Spin Cycle – 6 iterations of 30 seconds high resistance sprint, 60 seconds low resistance recovery
However I am but one man, and folks respond differently. And some of you may want to prioritize the cycling angle and use strength as assistance to the end goal, versus my outlook of using cycling as assistance for strength (and conditioning). And the beauty/ugly of the fitness world, is your opinion will always be wrong to someone. So here’s some methods to consider, whether its becoming a better cyclist, or just building some bigger, stronger legs.
Bodybuilder VS Cyclist TOTAL LEG DAY feat. Robert Foerstemann (from STRENGTH WARS)
5 Workout Tips to Improve Your Cycling Performance (from CyclistMagazineAus)
Sprint Training with Shane Perkins (from World Sport)
Strength & Power Indoor Cycling Workout – 40 Minute High Intensity Training (from Global Cycling Network)
How To Increase Your Pedal Power For Mountain Biking | Off The Bike Workouts (from Global Mountain Bike Network)