Strength training

With more and more women cycling and hitting the trails, my column will be dedicated to all things female. As a coach and trainer I look forward to giving you tips, helping with coaching and chatting all things women. No procrastinating then, let’s go!

Words by Kate Slegrova

We start by focusing on the basics: strength & core training for cycling women.

What’s all the fuss about?

Women have naturally less muscle mass then men so it’s really important that they don’t skip strength training. Especially as we age we lose muscle mass so from 30 years old we need to strength train!

 Main Benefits of strength training for ladies: 

Prevention for osteoporosis

Cycling is a non weight bearing activity so to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis you need to do strength training 2 or 3 times a week and ideally add weights - but Bodyweight exercises count as a weight bearing activity too. With age, our bone density decreases especially with women in pre-menopause and menopause. As well as younger women that push their body weight low and may be malnourished , decreasing their bone density.

Better skills - better balance on trails

Core and balance training will help you with better balance on MTB. Juggling rock gardens will be much easier!

Faster on climbs

Stronger muscles in your legs and glutes will make you faster climber! You will get fatigued later in your ride.

No more back and neck pain

Stronger upper body and core will prevent your back and neck getting sore too early. That means you can enjoy a pain free ride. Please note that bike set up is also important for this.

Weight loss

Strength training can help you lose weight. The more muscles you have the more calories your body is burning even while you sitting in your office. Unlike with cardio exercise that don’t have that effect.

Please don’t worry about gaining big bulky muscles. Women don’t build muscles as easily as men!

I recommend doing a full body workout at least once a week but preferably twice a week. During your race season you might only do one session a week but change the exercises to more explosive ones like this one: 

While in winter or your off season you can do heavier weights and here is example of the workout: 

A Kettlebell workout is another amazing workout for cyclists as it strengthens mainly the posterior chain where cyclist are often weaker: 

Another one of my favourite workouts is using resistance hip band to strengthen your glutes. This is super important for MTB because you stand a lot on descending but is is also great for climbing: 

Core training you can do on your rest day or non-cycling day. I recommend to do core training twice a week at least. Here are few of my workouts you can do:

Core workout anywhere:

Advanced core workout with Swiss ball:

And remember to do a good dynamic warm up first: 

and stretch afterwards: 

Expect to be stiff the first few sessions if you haven’t done strength training for a while but your body will get used to it. Also if you are stiff it means you switched on the right muscles! Make sure you challenge yourself with new exercises and different routines as our bodies adapt fast and need challenge always. But first make sure your form and technique is correct before you move onto advanced exercises so that you don’t get injured.

I hope you are going to give it a try and let me know how you are doing!

If you need help with your strength training and how to incorporate it into your cycling routine drop me a message: 076 5791722 or email to Kate.trainer@yahoo.com

My name is Kate Slegrova. I’m a cycling and strength coach with 15 years of experience. I also started Pretty Pedal which is ladies club for road and mtb riding. You can follow me and Pretty Pedal on Instagram: @KateSlegrova @Pretty_pedal

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