by Daniel Boyd Instagram: @theironphysio

So the large proportion of cyclists I speak to – quite understandably – spend a lot of time on their bikes – as trends go the current vogue is yoga for cyclists (I’m guilty too and it is good!)– I will tackle in a later blog. However, very few spend time in the gym, lifting! For me this is essential.

From track cyclists to road cyclists, lifting helps – yes in moderation for the long distance road cyclists – but all the pros do it for a reason…
I have included my Top 3 exercises to make you a better cyclist!

1. Deadlifts

You need to make sure your technique is the best it can be (seek advice / training if you need guidance – YouTube it at the very least!) – but lifting heavy on deadlifts is one of the best ways to get that speed in your sprint, drop your rivals on hill and gain strength endurance for those cycle holidays. One of the very best posterior chain exercises – this works all the muscles that propel you along when on the road or the track.

You WILL notice a difference in the hills – I promise!!!

As a general rule I would work in reps of 6-8 through 5 sets. Generally working to fatigue will elicit fastest results but as I mentioned make sure your form and technique is spot on.

At Complete Physio Cycle Clinic we work out a plan for you following testing. We can work on that technique with you also. I have formulated a spreadsheet with accompanying exercises that work on single leg stability with algorithmic adjustments to weights based upon your deadlift performance.


“get strong legs – not big legs”
As a general rule I encourage all the athletes – particularly any triathletes reading this, to lift 150% of their bodyweight on a single leg leg press.
This will help with the running element of triathlon no end – for cyclists working single leg is a no brainer – follow function and train specifically. As for the 150% mark I have adapted this from much research around ACL rehabilitation (Frobell et al., 2015) and stability of the lower limb for injury reduction and return to sporting performance. The old phrase of ‘prevention is better than cure’ is addressed by this approach. Even though its technically bad for business short term – we know you’ll tell everyone how good we are when you don’t have to keep returning to the physio clinic every 9-12 months!

3. Lunges – to Correct Imbalance

Lunging onto a wobble board will highlight any potential knee valgus – a prognostic factor for a few common cycling injuries I see. Working in a Bulgarian squat position – on a Swiss ball – will challenge you further and
Put the work in here and you will prevent yourself from potentially spending time off the bike and in a physio clinic.

4. A few other useful tips and things I do in the gym

Using the Watt bike or static bikes in the gym is a great idea, generally as most cyclists do I will sit through some lactate threshold hell and work hard for 30-90 mins with a deeply unattractive face on. On the days you are short of time; some decent evidence in working your endocine response (yes hormones – in this case specifically insulin) has been shown to give you a great boost in VO2 max and O2 uptake. The evidence underpins a lot of the HIIT exercise classes that I have commented on on the telly. ( – but working 30 seconds blast (hard as you can, on the highest resistance) then 30 seconds off for 6-12 reps will give you a great training effect if your usual grind is 2-6 hours on the bike, please start with just one or two and build up.

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