If you’re like most cyclists, you know you should lift, but it’s not at the top of your priority list. And when you do make it to the gym, concerns about potential injuries probably steer you away from the heavy weights. While those concerns are legitimate (more on that later), you’re leaving significant health and performance benefits on the table every time you opt for light or moderate weights—or worse, avoid resistance training altogether.
While any type of lifting helps build bone density, prevent injuries, and complement your endurance training, research is beginning to show that heavy lifting can unlock another level of benefits for cyclists.
We talked to experts to find out why heavy lifting works, what it actually means to lift heavy, and what you need to know before you start loading your barbell.
“We look at bike riding as an opportunity to build our bodies, but bottom line, it’s a highly irregular position,” Menachem Brodie, C.S.C.S., USA Cycling expert coach, head strength coach for the Israel Cycling Federation Track Program, and author of Strength Training for Cycling Performance.