Strength training for cyclists

It is a fact that strength training can improve your endurance performance. Especially in cycling. However, when it comes to strength training for cyclists, the focus has mostly been on the lower body. It makes sense because the legs are assumed to provide all the propulsion.

Although the legs push the pedals and turn the crank, they can do so only if the upper body provides a base to push against.

While your lower body is supported by the seat, the bulk of the work of holding your upper body is done by your arms, shoulders and back.

Increasing the performance of these muscles in cycling-specific exercises will decrease your fatigue during cycling and give you as a triathlete more energy on the run.

Then again, it does not matter how strong your upper body is if your lower body does not have the power to propel you forward.

Well, as you have figured out by now, you need to train your whole body to become a better cyclist.

In this article, you’ll find…

Upper body exercises for cycling

As a cyclist, you produce “diagonal forces” when pedalling. That is, while one leg is pushing, the other leg is pulling. And to stay on the bike, you need to compensate that with your upper body.

For a start, you need to have a strong core.

Then, add below workouts to your training to enhance your efficiency,

  • Back extension
  • Protraction
  • Wrist curls

Lower body exercises for cycling

When you train your lower body, it is recommended to exercise one leg at the time to mimic the movement patterns of cycling.

In the video below, we show three workouts that you can do without equipment. After some time, add weights (at the gym!?) to your training.

  • Knee raise
  • Single calf raise
  • Glute press

Principle of specificity

Another way to add bike power and to take your cycling to the next level is to apply the principle of specificity to your training. Well, in the case of cycling – to be a good cyclist, you have to train…cycling.


  1. If you want to develop your cycling-specific fitness and build your general strength on the bike, then our bike base program is a great start.
  2. If you have trained for some time and want to add speed and muscular endurance, then you should go for a Boost Up Bike Build.

Hope to see you in training soon.

Welcome to TOT!

Having a question?

Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap. Welcome to TOT


Start typing and press Enter to search