Strength Training for Track Cycling

Build leg and core strength to increase your speed on the track.

Build leg and core strength to increase your speed on the track.

Track cycling requires both bravery and tremendous fitness as you hurtle around tight bends at high speeds. You need to be at the peak of physical fitness -- with excellent cardiovascular endurance and power. While you might think of track cycling as being cardio-based, to become queen of the track, you need to be seriously strong too.

Training Template

While cycling is a leg-dominant sport, your whole body is involved to a degree. Your legs provide the power, but your core and upper body muscles need to be strong to stabilize you as you ride. Since the body works as a unit, train using a full body routine, performing three sessions each week. Full body routines also have the advantage of burning more calories per session than body part split workouts, writes Cassandra Forsythe in "The New Rules of Lifting for Women."

Lower Body Exercises

A combination of squats, weightlifting and hill sprint training is the key to improving your cycling performance, according to Victoria Pendleton, gold medal track cycling winner at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Make squats and single-leg leg presses your go-to lower body exercises, advises Paul Rogers, strength coach to the Australian National Sprint Cycling Team. Pick three leg exercises per session -- one squat variation, a leg press and an Olympic lift such as a snatch or clean and perform three to four heavy sets of three to eight reps on each.

Upper Body and Core

Your core needs to be rock solid to help maintain your position on the bike. Rather than sticking to situps and crunches though, train your core with stabilization moves such as planks, ab wheel rollouts and side bridges. For your upper body, pick one pulling exercise such as a pullup or dumbbell row and one pushing exercise like a pushup, bench press or dumbbell press each session.

Programming

The off-season is the time to focus on your strength training, as you won't have so many competitions or as much time training on the track, meaning you can put in more time in the weight room. Aim to add extra reps each session or use heavier weights, while maintaining your cardio fitness with two to three track sessions. In-season, maintain your strength levels with two full body workouts each week.

 

About the Author

Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.

Photo Credits

  • Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images