Boosting Cycling Speed and Stamina with Weight Training

Cycling speed and stamina are key indicators of a rider’s performance. Yet, the role of weight training in enhancing these attributes remains a subject of intrigue and debate.

Some cyclists worry that lifting weights will add bulk, potentially decreasing their speed on the bike. Contrarily, the connection between increasing cycling speed and weight training is backed by compelling evidence, suggesting that it can be a game-changer when done right. 

Delving deeper into this topic, in this article, we’ll unravel the science and myths surrounding this potent pairing, offering insights for those looking to pedal faster and longer.

Weight Training and Cycling

Weight training focuses on using weights to bolster muscle strength and stamina. This can be tackled using various tools, including dumbbells, gym machines, or resistance bands. 

This workout method isn’t just about muscle gain; it boosts overall health. Engaging in weight training can lead to stronger muscles, fewer injuries, enhanced balance, and a lower chance of certain long-term ailments.

Cycling is riding a bike, which serves as a means of travel, leisure, and athletic activity. It’s a gentle sport that’s kind on your joints and suitable for nearly everyone.

If you’re chasing speed in cycling, two things matter: strength and stamina. Solid leg and core muscles empower you to pedal with more force. Evidence suggests that the impact of weight training on cycling speed can be significantly positive if carried out correctly. 

Meanwhile, good stamina keeps that powerful pace steady over time. Here’s a snapshot of why strength and stamina in cycling rock:

  • Increased power and speed
  • Improved endurance
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Better balance and coordination
  • Increased bone density

Exercises like weight training, aerobics, hill climbing, and interval training can significantly rev up your game in competitive cycling.

Impact of Weight Training on Cycling Speed

Weight training offers cyclists a leg up, boosting their stamina and speed. Wondering how? Here’s the lowdown:

Increased muscle strength: Pumped-up muscles help push the pedals harder – think fast sprints or uphill battles.

Improved muscle endurance: Lifting weights amps up muscle endurance. It allows keeping a brisk pace during those marathon rides.

Reduced risk of injury: Strength training toughens up muscles and the tissues connecting your joints, shielding you from ouch-moments like knee issues.

Better balance and coordination: A solid core from weight training ensures you ride smoothly, even when the road’s rough or the wind’s wild.

Increasing your VO2 max: VO2 max measures how much oxygen your body gobbles up during a workout. More oxygen enables longer, faster rides.

Improving your neuromuscular efficiency: It’s a fancy term for how well your brain and muscles team up. This means you’ll ride swiftly without breaking much of a sweat.

In a nutshell, every cyclist should toss some weights into their workout mix. It’s a surefire way to supercharge your cycling prowess.

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Best Weight Training Exercises for Cyclists

Weight lifting for cyclists is all about focusing on key muscles used during biking. Going for compound exercises is a no-brainer since they tackle more than one muscle group simultaneously. Here’s the lowdown on the best ones:

Squats: They zoom in on the quads, hamstrings, and glutes – your powerhouses for cycling.

Deadlifts: They hit the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, making your pedal stroke solid and strong.

Lunges: These hone the quads, hamstrings, and glutes and give you a leg up in balance and coordination.

Calf raises: Your calves get the spotlight here, which is vital for that push in biking.

Planks: All about the core, the backbone of your cycling stability.

Push-ups: Focusing on the chest, triceps, and shoulders, they’ve got your back (or rather, front) while biking.

To get the most bang for your buck in weight training, remember:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the weight and intensity of your workouts over time.
  • Focus on compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise.
  • Schedule your weight training sessions on different days than your hardest cycling workouts.
  • Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard.

Incorporating these exercises into your routine improves your cycling stamina and speed and prevents injuries. 

Remember, while weights enhance strength, integrating them with flexibility exercises ensures a well-rounded cycling fitness regime.

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How To Maximize Weight Training Outcome

Weight training is crucial for every cyclist’s regimen. It boosts speed, stamina, and overall biking skills. Yet, the right training is key to getting the best outcomes.

Here are some tips to enhance your weight training results:

Prioritize Functional Strength

Cyclists need functional strength to power up inclines and sprint through flat stretches. Emphasize compound exercises, like squats and deadlifts, which work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This will ensure overall muscle development that directly benefits cycling performance.

Progressive Overload Principle

To see continuous improvements, steadily increase the resistance or the number of repetitions over time. This ensures that muscles don’t plateau and continue to grow stronger.

Incorporate Plyometric Training

Add plyometric exercises, such as box jumps or burpees. They improve explosive strength, aiding in quick accelerations during rides.

Optimal Recovery is Crucial

Allow muscles adequate time to recover between sessions. Overtraining can lead to injuries, halting progress. Ensure a balanced routine with at least 48 hours between intensive strength training sessions.

Include Core Strengthening

A strong core improves cycling posture, translating to better power transfer from the legs to the pedals. Incorporate exercises like planks and Russian twists into your routine.

On top of those pointers, cyclists can further rev up their weight training results by following these golden rules:

  • Eat a healthy diet: This will fuel your intense training and adequate recovery, incorporating ample fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein.
  • Ensure sufficient sleep: Aim for a nightly sleep of 7-8 hours for muscle recovery and overall well-being.
  • Be consistent: For noticeable outcomes, maintain a steady training schedule, targeting at least 2-3 strength training sessions weekly.

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Safety Tips for Weight Training

Engaging in weight training can be incredibly beneficial for cyclists, but safety should always be paramount. Before starting any regimen, understanding the correct procedures and protocols is essential.

Cyclists need to approach weight training differently than other athletes. 

One of the key reasons to prioritize safety is the significant downtime that comes with injuries. 

An injury can set a cyclist back weeks if not months. Hence, it’s essential to prevent possible injuries from weight training to maintain consistency in training schedules. Being cautious means:

  • Avoiding exercises that don’t align with cycling goals.
  • Avoid lifting too heavy too soon to prevent strain.
  • Paying attention to form, as improper techniques can lead to injuries.
  • Lift challenging weights but allow you to maintain good form.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard. If you are feeling pain, stop the exercise.
  • Listen to your body. Take rest days when needed.

Weight training for cyclists should be specific. This means incorporating exercises that directly improve cycling speed and stamina. Squats, deadlifts, and core workouts can help build a strong foundation while ensuring they’re done according to each individual’s requirements.

More Ideas For Increasing Cycling Speed and Stamina

Increasing cycling speed and stamina requires a combination of training methods, gear optimization, and nutritional strategies. Here are several ideas:

  • Interval Training: Try HIIT – intense bursts with cool-downs.
  • Hill Repeats: Speed up hills, coast down, repeat. It’s a heart and leg booster.
  • Cross-training: Swim or jog occasionally. Changes the routine!
  • Strength Training: Focus on your legs and core to power your rides.
  • Go the Distance: Lengthen rides bit by bit.
  • Pacing: Track your heart rate and find your rhythm.
  • Cadence: Keep pedal speed around 90-100 RPM.
  • Upkeep: Keep that bike spick and span. Especially that chain!
  • Perfect Fit: Ensure your bike’s a snug fit.
  • Eat Smart: Pre-ride carbs and finish with proteins.
  • Hydrate: Keep water handy. Dehydration is a no-go.
  • Chill: Rest’s key after hardcore rides.
  • Group Ride: Riding with pals can push you further.
  • Positive Vibes: Stay upbeat and stretch post-ride.

Implementing these ideas will not only help increase your speed and stamina but also contribute to a more enjoyable and efficient cycling experience.

Final Thoughts

Weight training can play a pivotal role in maximizing speed on the bike. However, the approach and type of training performed are essential considerations. 

As a cyclist working towards increasing speed, integrating weight training into your exercise routine can provide the extra kick needed to power ahead. Remember the critical rule – weight training for cycling should be a supplement to riding, not a replacement. 

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  1. Research Gate: Concurrent strength and sprint training increases resting metabolic rate in master road cyclists
  2. Physiological Report: PubMed Central, Heavy strength training improves running and cycling performance following prolonged submaximal work in well‐trained female athletes
  3. Sports (Basel): PubMed Central, Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum
  4. Current Sports Medicine Reports: PubMed, Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health
  5. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Evidence mounts on the benefits of strength training