The research done to date on the effects of weight training on cyclists has brought mixed results.
The study done by Ben Hurley at the University of Maryland had 10 healthy men take up strength training (bench presses, hip flexions, knee extensions, knee flexions, press-ups, leg presses, lat pulldowns, arm curls, parallel squats, and bent-knee sit-ups) for 12 weeks, while eight other men of tenacity served as controls.
After 12 weeks, the strength-trained men improved their fortitude while cycling at an intensity of 75 percent V02max by 33 percent and also lifted the lactate threshold (the single best predictor of endurance performance) by 12 percent.
However, these men were untrained prior to the study and did not carry out regular cycling workouts during the research, so the applicability of these findings to serious athletes is questionable.
The study carried out
The study carried out by R. C. Hickson and his colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago was considerably more practical. In that investigation, eight experienced cyclists added three days per week of strength training to their regular endurance routines over a 10-week period.
The strength training was incredibly simple, focusing on parallel squats (five sets of five reps per workout), knee extensions (three sets of five reps), knee flexions (3 x 5), and toe raises (3 x 25), all with fairly heavy resistance.
Nonetheless, the strength training had a profoundly positive impact on cycling performance.
On the negative side, we have research, carried out by James Home and his colleagues at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, seven endurance cyclists who averaged about 200 kilometers of cycling per week incorporated three
The strength program was relatively unsophisticated, consisting of three sets of up to eight repetitions of hamstring curls, leg presses, and quadriceps extensions using fairly heavy resistance.
After six weeks, the strength training had produced rather impressive gains in strength (the gains averaged a bit more than 20 percent).