T Nation

Strength Training for Cyclist


Hey everybody,

i'm a road cyclist sprinter and i want to do Strength/Powerlifting Training. My goals are to get powerful, explosive and athletic. For the final bunch sprint these skills are very important for me.

So which Strength/PL Program could you recommend?


I have a friend that's a cyclist, crits and road races primarily. He is a big guy for a cyclist, about 6' and 180 lbs. I put him on just a basic strength program last off season and he said it helped a lot. His first race back he said he set a PR in something.

Look at Starting Strength or the Stronglifts. I started him on just a basic 3-5 sets of 5 reps starting light and work up slowly on the core lifts program.

After you get some experience, you can get a little more complicated and start experimenting. Last I talked to my friend, he was doing 20 rep squat sets to work on sustained power output.


I hung up the wheels from racing last fall as a cat 2, so first I'd ask the following:
-What level are you racing at?
-What's your height, weight, FTP, VO2 power, 10s power.
-Just crits or RR also? Any track?
-I'm assuming you're talking a limited block sometime in the off season?

If it's just road, I'd actually try to dissuade you from lifting, but need a little more info on your situation. There's some people that can benefit from lifting, but once you get past a certain point I really think (and the general consensus is) your best use of time is only on the bike.



  • Cat 3
    I`m member of a Bundesliga Team(amateur)
  • 178cm, 72Kg, Power Number 1350 watts for 10s
  • only road: crits and normal road races
  • i want to do it in the off season and on season in combination with my normal training and races
  • iÃ?´m lifting for 2 years

Thanks for help


I quit racing 10 years ago as a cat 2 sprinter that primarily raced criteriums. I did squat and leg press work over the winter as well as some box jumps plus my normal off season training on the bike. It seemed to work pretty well for me in the early season but mainly I did it to stave off the boredom of riding the trainer all the time. One thing you'll need to be careful of is the weight gain. Most sprinters tend to be the mesomorph type and at 185.4cm and 80-82kg racing weight I had to be careful not to get to heavy.



Yeah i know Robert and Johannes. Both are great. But Robbe is a track sprinter and i´m a road cyclist sprinter. There are big differences between both sports.


Foertsemann is a beast. Makes me want to get on my bike and sprint some hills.

He is either a genetic mutant or is on some serious roidz.



Very nice sprint numbers. Some people just like the idea of being a sprinter and try to categorize themselves as one without any business doing so, when they should be focusing on other parts of the sport, so I just wanted to make sure that wasn't the case. Sounds like you've got a real good kick for the 3's.

I can see lifting to improve this, but I'd still recommend limiting it, as for road I think threshhold is still the most important thing. Having a good sprint wins races, but making breaks and staying fresh is necessary to be in the spot to do this. Being a 3, you want to really be able to win races from a wide variety of situations before catting up.

What I'd recommend is a program that starts a few weeks after your last race this fall, and then stops around December or January. The winter is the best time to improve threshhold with lots of LT and tempo work, and you don't want to miss out on this. You could probably lift 3 times a week with some sort of modified starting strength or something, and maybe taper off to 2 weeks in December so it doesn't tire you out too much for riding. The last month or so try to shift focus to more speed/plyometric type stuff as this is where you get the benefit for cycling. (sorry I'm not much help on how exactly to do this, but that's the general idea... strength then power/speed). Grinding up a heavy squat won't do jack for cycling, but getting your legs to fire powerfully and FAST is where the benefit can be had. Once you're done lifting, try to do a neuromuscular/sprint type workout every week or so to keep these adaptations going. If you lift over the winter, then go into just base miles, the jump will be gone by the time you start the build cycles. Good luck!


Thank you very much!

So i�´ll start SS in a few months. How would you modified this?
Do you know any Speed/Power Programs?

I´ll do my best to become a better Sprinter. Do you think i have some potential?


Gotcha. The 'sprinter' bit threw me off; I'm familiar with long distance road cycling á la TDF and with track sprinting. Could you elaborate on the differences?


I had the pleasure of riding with Ken Carpenter in San Diego in the late '80s.
Fucking massive beast. Truly a QuadraSaurusRex !

Track Sprinters put out a Ridiculous amount of Wattage in a short period of time...

Road Sprinters such as The Manx Missle, Cippolini et al put out a bit less but have a longer leadout time


chess on wheels:


Track sprinters don't ride several hundred kilometres before they sprint. Track sprinters also race 200m total. And they don't have problems like crosswind or rain.
Road sprinters often have a lead-out-train and also must climb.

Could you recommend a Strength Program? Or would be SS the best?


Here's what I would do, and you really have to take this as "random guy on the internet advice" rather than anything more than that.

-Starting strength 3 days per week until December (cut the bench, press, rows/cleans) and do a little extra core work as long as you can handle it.
-December switch to 2 days per week to allow more focus on riding.
-January switch to one day per week and stop progressing the weight (maybe cut deadlifts entirely now and just do squats)

-Do 1-2 days a week focused on box jump kind of explosive stuff. Some people say to drop the weight and do it faster, but to me that just sounds like a way to get injured.
-After January drop the lifting and get a neuro workout in every 1-2 weeks but for the most part focus on threshhold until it's time to build. As a 3 you still need to develop as an all around badass, not just a sprinter, and threshhold is basically king of everything.

-Forgot to mention it, but focus on bar speed throughout SS. Do a set of jumps or two during warmups to try to prime your legs. You don't want to be grinding the reps up, as that has absolutely nothing to do with cycling.

-As far as potential goes, depends on age, time to blow on training, education, and family obligations. Have fun with it, but don't let it detract too much from the rest of your life like it does for too many roadies. I don't know how old you are, but first priority is education, then later on family. Amazing how many dilusional guys are out there chasing the pro crit guy dream, with the best they can hope for is a salary that makes fast food look lucritive.