|Strength training sessions should be carried out twice per week on non-consecutive days such as Tuesday and Saturday or Monday and Friday. The sessions should be undertaken for 12 weeks coinciding with Aerobic Base periods 1 to 3. After this, strength development will be transferred to specific 'on the bike' sessions.
The sessions may be carried out immediately prior to endurance, race pace or lactate tolerance sessions. The training time required is 20 minutes per session for the specific sessions described below (not counting warm up time).
There has been considerable debate about the benefits of weight training for endurance athletes. The research exploring a link between strength training and endurance performance has focused on standard exercises such as leg extensions, curls, squats, bench and shoulder presses etc. These exercises develop generalised muscle tone and strength and if you wish to undertake them during the winter please do so (with proper technique).
Most of these resistance exercises however, work on isolated muscles. For example, seated leg extensions isolate and work the quadriceps muscles, together. For cycling, speed depends on the power exerted during each pedal stroke, with legs working at opposite points in the pedal revolution. The legs therefore require exercises which promote strength but which enhance specific activities of the nervous and muscular systems to produce faster, coordinated movement of the whole leg. The three strength exercises are designed to achieve this.