From Road Bike Rider: www.roadbikerider.com/ask-coach-fred
Why Should I Do Resistance Training?
Question: I have a big upper body from genetics and years of serious weight training. I've lost 40 pounds since I began riding, and I've quit the weight room for good -- I want to climb better! But local coaches tell me that I should still do upper-body resistance work to help my cycling. Why? I don't pedal with my arms. -- Andrew V.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: There are four good reasons why you and every roadie should be doing upper-body resistance training.
• As we age, we lose muscle volume. As a result, it takes more effort to produce a given amount of power, and the increased effort requires more recovery time. Resistance training helps older riders (age 50+, typically) maintain muscle strength and volume.
• You lean on the handlebar for long periods while riding. To avoid sore triceps and shoulders, pushups, dips or bench presses are effective.
• When you sprint or climb, you pull on the bar harder than when you're riding on the flats. So your pulling muscles need to be kept strong with exercises such as pull-ups and rows.
• You need to work on the core muscles of the abs and low back. They're crucial to any kind of strength -- on the bike or in the weight room -- because they provide the foundation that arm and leg muscles work from. They're especially important for stabilizing your trunk on the saddle during pedaling.
That said, you should not do upper-body weight exercises like a body builder or strength athlete. Instead, use relatively light weights and high reps.
You're a cyclist now, not a lifter, so you don't need to spend much time in the weight room. Doing the correct resistance exercises, and doing them correctly, are the most important things.
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